47 Random Fragments of Unauthorised Hope and Despair


THE WOMAN behind him was getting restless. But he couldnít worry about that. The timing had to be precise if he was going to pull this off.

He pressed another couple of buttons in the wrong order to buy an extra few seconds.

The woman was shuffling around.

But he had to keep dithering here, keep looking stupid and acting inept until...

That was it! He could hear the metallic screech of brakes as the train pulled into the platform above. Suddenly he was a ticket-purchase wizard and he quickly punched in his destination, reason for travelling (football match), the game he was attending and his club membership code.

A second later he was all chipped up and he leapt towards the steps, flew up them two at a time and flung himself through the nearest open door.

As it turned out, he even had 15 seconds to spare before the doors shut and the train pulled out. He leaned back in his seat and allowed a look of exhilaration to take over his face.

It didnít matter if people noticed. As far as they were concerned, he was just happy to have caught his train.

They werenít to know that heíd caught a train that it had been officially impossible to catch, that the system had written off as inevitably missed by anyone keying in their details at the ticket machine after it had pulled in at Platform 2.

As far as the system was concerned, he was still waiting there for the next train, in an hourís time. As far as the system was concerned that would give him just enough time to get up to London and across to the stadium before kick-off.

But as far he was concerned he had a whole unaccounted-for hour waiting for him at the end of his journey.

An hour in which to wander without purpose, steering clear of the obvious chip checkpoints of course. An hour in which to walk, to listen, to see.

A rare hour of unauthorised freedom.