Monday, 19 September 2011

The Kindness of Strangers 1

Moments after he’d got off the train, Belvedere had lost his wallet. He’d stood in the middle of Kings Cross station trying to explain to a tearful grandmother that, having just arrived from the country himself, he had no idea where the nearest convent was, while her accomplice, a skeletal youth recessive to the point of invisibility, deftly transferred Belvedere’s last few pounds, driving license and bank card into his own safekeeping.

Belvedere sat on his battered suitcase and pondered his next move. The address of his recently deceased mother’s best friend had been folded safe and secure amongst his few pounds, and he hadn’t the faintest idea now of where he was expected.

Two urchins of indeterminate gender offered to conduct him to a nearby hotel. They mistook his shyness for resistance, and attempted further blandishments. Sex with either of them. With both. With himself while they watched, on his own while they sat in the bar downstairs. He sat, silent and crimson with embarrassment, until they walked off hissing abuse.

Eventually a station official wandered over to point out Belvedere could not sit there all night, clogging up the place. Didn’t he have a home to go to?

Belvedere acknowledged that he had but the address had been in his long gone wallet. He’d had another home in the country, until his mother’s recent demise. Currently, his home was Kings Cross.

Alarmed at this, the official took him into a staff room and gave him a cup of tea.

They put him on the milk train back to where he’d come from, in the care of the guard in the mail van. In truth, none of them knew whether it was the right thing to do, but they pretended it was for the best anyway.

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