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  • A quiet day today. Except on my bus journey home this evening I sat behind an elderly couple who spent the journey,for want of a better word,bickering.

    The old man started it,his wife asked him to pass the newspaper which was in a large shopping trolley on wheels. He did as beckoned but the paper was soaking wet across its bottom half. This was because apparently he never could pack properly. His father was the same,useless. It was the cranberry juice in a carton obviously though he thought it maybe that bottle of red wine that was on special offer and he sniffed at the paper to confirm his theory. His wife enquired as to his findings,it smelt he fish! At that a fishes head emerged from the bottom of the paper. He was she said,an idiot,he had plucked from the depths of the trolley the mullett they had brought at the fish market for tea rather than the local newspaper.

    I stiffled a titter and looked out of the window but soon they were off again. Could he,she wondered manage to get her the paper as she wanted to make sure her soap opera was on tv but felt there may well be some more bloody football on instead. He assured her there was no football on,not on Thursdays,except sometimes on Channel Five. She was not re-assured so he delved back into the bag.After several moments he pulled out a chocolate bar and unwrapped it. She looked at him as if he had produced the head of a dead child and begun to munch on it. Without looking at her he took another bite and said that it was under the tins and she would have to wait til they got home which prompted a re-run of his inherited lack of packing skills followed by a stoney silence.

    Chocolate bar devoured the man sat smiling at a young girl opposite him,she smiled back. He made to speak to her but his wife intervened with a single word, his name,George. He protested that he was only going to ask her where she had been but his wife insisted that would make him look like a sex monster and he should mind his own business. She was mad he said and she said she bloody well must be to have put up with him for thirty one years.

    Shortly after that a man got on the bus who knew George. The man said a simple how do and George replied hello Ron which earned him an elbow in the ribs. The man who had just got on was apparently no better than he ought to be. George asked what she meant and she said in a whisper that he knew perfectly well that Ron was a unemployed and had been for two years. George didn't see what that had to do with anything and she said he well he wouldn't which prompted George to shake his head mournfully.

    Then followed a fatal error which I would wager put paid to any nice fish supper. George said that he wouldn't mind but her father had never done a days work in his life. She insisted her father was ill and George said yes he knew that and he diagnosed idlitis. Well,that was it,red rag to a bull and anyway at least the womans father could pack a fucking trolley. Miriam said George,please do not swear in public.

    Miriam responded by launching into a foul mouthed tirade which would shame a navvy which continued as we reached our destination. As the bus stopped Miriam composed herself,touched up her hair and stood up ready to alight. In doing so she caught my eye and asked me what I was looking at. Oh,nothing I said. Grinning like a bloody Cheshire cat she said. Come on Miriam said George and they trundled off the bus not knowing Im sure how much they had brightened at least one fellow passengers day.
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