Railway Train: Public Safety

My first journey by train was not auspicious. This was in May in 1940, when I and various friend from French resistance, soldier from Hungary call Adam and two Polish women who go on to own tea shop in Wales (wonderful women who fight like corner Tiger) did attack Nazi supply train on French border, hijack and take to escape at Dunkirk. When we blow up train and slap hand together this feeling was of such power and amazement I cannot explain. That I was unable to do similar, blow up train after LAST journey I take this morning, London to Canterbury West, is making me imagine many dark thought. What is this when man on train, who call himself ‘onboard manager’ (I call him CLOWN), fat man with stupid look like old fat sheep, ignore drunken behaviour by lout who threaten safety of entire railway carriage. This drunk he get onto train at Stratford station and straight away sway, utter oath, curse, smell of beer, wine, everything. All people in carriage have look of fear, except perhaps myself; although to him no doubt I look like old man. So he decide to sit next to me. He swill out of bottle and belch like Bavarian peasant. His arm flay across me like tentacle of oily octopus and I say to him.
‘What you f* doing.’ (I do not include swearing)
‘Who you mate?’ he ask, as if in challenge.
Someone, other passenger whisper: ‘leave it out mate, you will wind up.’
At this moment onboard manager appear and look at us, timorous and my heart sink. I see man like he who ignore whatever he can ignore.
‘Excuse me,’ I say to him as he pass. ‘This man he is drunk. Will you throw him from train?’
Onboard manager say: ‘He not doing any harm I can see, sir.’
‘So are you blind, coward or IDIOT?’ I ask him.
‘Sir I have to warn you I not tolerate verbal abuse.’
‘Yeah yeah, fine.’ I tell him. He go, sharply.
Drunk laugh. ‘That tell you, ha ha,’ he say.
So I administer swift justice with elbow and karate chop. Similar movement in fact to what I do when guard of Nazi train draw pistol and I find I have left my own on roof. Carriage make cheer and onboard manager return, to see drunk slump unconscious.
‘You see mate, he no trouble to anyone. He sleep like lamb.’
‘Yeah yeah, right,’ I tell him. When he go I acknowledge thanks of other passenger with tip of hat and continue read my book in peace. Drunk awake at Ashford station and escape into platform, fall down stairs, etc. Later I will write to Southeastern Train about this and other incident, but will not hold breath for reply.


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