OKAY, HERE WE GO, CAPITAL TALE #1
Another Glorious Day’s Capitalism
Kilburn station was one of those Underground stations that actually sat fifty feet above ground, perched atop a massive Victorian brick railway bridge. Within the bridge’s twelve arches, each as wide as the High Street they spanned, crouched shops and even a couple of small houses.
Beckett stepped through the train door, his hands trawling his pockets for a smoke. No smoking on the tube anymore, not since the Kings Cross escalator fire.
Usually he’d be reaching for his cigarettes in the dark beside the still buzzing alarm clock. He congratulated himself on managing to wait this long for his first of the day. He stopped halfway to the exit stairs, lit up, and dragged in the day’s first lungful of blessed smoke. Behind him the train sliced away from the platform, slashing blue sheets of fire from its belly. It was still dark.
What the hell was he doing coming out of Kilburn tube station in work boots at six in the morning in the freezing dark? If there was any justice in the world, by rights he ought be just leaving some West End club, wrapped snug and tight as a snare drum in the back of a Mercedes with some bint or other. What ever happened to all those bands he was so sure were going to make him a rock star? Okay he might not be one of those pretty boys but he wasn’t exactly the elephant man either. How had he come down to this, work, hard manual graft.
He sighed and the first lung-rattling cough of the day shook him. As he coughed, he could feel his gut wobbling. That was all a bit worrying. He had been caning the piss down the Dog and Duck lately. Look right nice that would, tall and thin with a beer gut, like a pea jammed halfway down a drinking straw. His thoughts were as bitter as the smoke streaming from his nostrils.
He clumped down the steel-edged steps and flashed an out-of-date pass at a ticket collector who sat dozing beneath a “Get A Ticket, Not A Criminal Record” poster. He stuffed his hands into his pockets, and stepped out into Kilburn High Street.
A bus trundled past him, rumbling like a dinosaur, lost beneath the orange street lamps. Faceless working stiffs drifted past him like wraiths. Just up ahead he spied the glow of Mario’s Kaff, a fat-fried beacon, a haven of scalding tea. The steam-frosted glass door rattled closed behind him as he headed for the counter, inhaling deeply the life-giving heat and smoke. He pulled a fiver from his wallet. This particular morning he needed the works: bacon, sausage, eggs, baked beans, chips, fried tomatoes, fried bread, and at least two mugs of spoon-dissolving tea. He was also going to need a good half hour hunched over the tits and trivia of The Sun.
He sat down and opened the tabloid. What a screwed up name. No warmth in there, just death, madness, and silicon tits. There she was, this morning’s tart, filling most of page three, bazoomas akimbo. He slurped some tea and wondered what she’d be like to come home to after a hard day at the shite works. Of course she’d be heaven to shag, but when it came down to it, would she have his dinner on the table? And she’d have to stop getting her tits out for a living, no matter how much it paid. No wife of his was - he stopped dead, alarm bells now clanging in his lust filled imagination. Wife? Wife? Fucking wife?
You must be going soft in your old age, my son. He glanced around as if someone might have overheard his thoughts. This was no way to think. He had ambition, plans, well, sort of. Somewhere just up ahead, The Great And Perfect Scam sat waiting for him. The one that would lead directly to mindless nights of West End decadence. He had to be constantly vigilant, nothing could be allowed to interfere with his plans, and marriage would be the kiss of death. After all, he was only twenty-nine.
He shivered and turned to the back pages. Manchester United were still beating everyone, and QPR were hard-pressed to score at all, even if they had machine guns mounted on their Zimmer frames.
Causes Luke James Supports
Doctors Without Borders