The Number 26

The number 26.

It’s the 26th January, a Sunday. Nothing happens on a Sunday besides, well, actually nothing happens on a Sunday. It’s a cold winter morning. The streets are layered with a thick frosting of ice and snow like a white fluffy cloud which rests quietly, peacefully almost until we, the people, come trudging through. Our feet pull through the tranquility quilt covering the pavement roughing it up.

The 26th day. It’s 2014 and I stop to think, we’re 26 days into this year already. Where does the time go? It flashes past like that moment you wait for a train and it zips past as the gust of air pushes you back ever so slightly. Those 26 days, gone, fluttered away. I’ll never get them back.

It’s 4.26pm as I’m sitting waiting for my train, it’s late of course. When has a train ever turned up on time? Always early or late. Here it is, 4.29pm as it pulls into the station with a squeal.I clamber on board as the snow weighs me down, no your not leaving, the snow clearly thinks. On the train as the doors close, myself and the snow part ways with a cold goodbye.

It’s not even busy. I look at the clock on the train, 4.26pm. Of course it is. When has a clock on the train ever been right either. Is any time in the world right? What if all the clocks where wrong and secretly it’s just a few minutes ahead or a few minutes behind? The remains of the particles of snow rest on my boots. Quickly melting into a puddle beneath me, screaming like the wicked witch of the west, I’m melting, they shout, I’m melting.

I gaze around the train, everyone’s sitting, notebooks, newspapers, books all in hand. One man next to me reading The Great Gatsby, page 26 in fact. It’s an old edition with the pages torn and curled in the corners. This books been through a history itself. I catch the faint words at the bottom of the page “I was on the two little seats facing each other that are always the last ones left on the train.” Ah I see. It’s the story of how Myrtle met Tom.

I pull my notebook out and open to the last page. Pen in hand I’m ready to write a story about the 26th January. My thoughts gather on the day as I scribble out 26th January at the top of the page.

My first line: The number 26. Then suddenly the train halts and the lights go out. Trains. Absolutely useless.


Daily Prompt – Your Days Are Numbered


She’s Still Telling Him What To Do (A Short Lunch: Day 5)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts

I’m here again. It feels like a loop. Back where I began my week. ‘The Best Sandwich’s Around’ reads above the cafe. It’s quiet.

I sit down in my usual spot and take the usual gaze around. Usual. Sip the coffee and I spot that couple. She’s still telling him what to do. He’s still nodding in agreement. Theres a sense of a non-caring expression which echoes upon his face.

I stare at my coffee and swirl it around in it’s cup. I’m starving. I haven’t eaten lunch all week.

On My Desk By Monday (A Short Lunch: Day 4)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts


It feels like a Monday. We all gather as a collective in the queue. Busier than usual as people push and shove as if like school children. I hear in the distance some arguing “Why did you get me this? You know I hate it.” I turn to see the commotion. It’s some elderly couple who hate but love each other. There out of place here as.

Suits fill the cafe today. Bash of the briefcase here. A nudge of the elbow there. All are like robots with a phone attached to their heads. Chatting, chatting down the line. “I want it on my desk by Monday. Do you hear me? Monday!” One shouts as if directly into my ear. Is it not Monday?

Shiny Screens (A Short Lunch: Day 3)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts


A mid-week lunch, somewhere different. Everything is very quiet here. It’s a strange atmosphere as I sit in the empty spot besides the window to get a good view of the street ahead. The people passing by.

The atmosphere. Unusual but feels accepted by all. Everyone, shiny screens in front of them, big, small. Those black mirrors reflecting themselves. Fingers punch away at non existing buttons replying to someone on the other end, is there anyone there?

I sit gazing at them all. Families, relationships, friends, silence. All ignore each other for their little devices.

Theres No Peace (A Short Lunch: Day 2)


I sip from the polystyrene cup. It crackles as I wrap my hand around it. It’s hot.

Steaming coffee just to keep me awake not that it’d matter as I look around the cafe. Screaming child as it’s neglected by its mother battling some one over the phone. Three workmen who sit huddled together in a corner booth smashing their forks down as they finish their food. Another woman doing battle over the phone, business type, clearly a deal as she shouts abuse.

Theres no peace at lunch time.

The Best Sandwich’s Around (A Short Lunch: Day 1)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts

The Best Sandwich’s Around

I stand in the queue at some sandwich cafe which quotes ‘The Best Sandwich’s’ Around.’ They all say that.

A couple stands to my right, ahead in the queue. Both look well dressed, smart but casual. She’s telling him what he’s having. He stands and nods, very little power. He doesn’t have a choice.

Its me next. “I’ll have the, erm.” Not much choice. Funny when you quote ‘The Best Sandwich’s’ Around’ just outside.

Back of The Bus

Weekly Writing Challenge: Three Ways to Go Gonzo

I’m at the back of the bus.

Everyday I’d sit. Sit at the back of the bus. I’d walk past all those kids, Marco, Sarah, Tony, even that kid who had an eye patch on all the time, nobody knew why. It didn’t matter to me but I moved past them. To the back. It was only ever me back here. The full stretch of the back seats all to myself, sounds good doesn’t it. It’s not. It’s lonely. Everyone making fun of you. Nobody wanting to speak to you. Lonely as hell. But it was my hell.

I was the quiet kid. That guy nobody wanted to speak to and nobody wanted to be friends with. That all changed when I saw you. You came on the bus that day with your smile, oh that happiness. You just filled the room with it. You had that little cassette player like it was still the 80’s when you bounced on the bus like someone from the brat pack. I liked it. I liked you. It was then. That moment. You walked down the aisle past all the other kids. Ignored them all even though there where seats free. You looked at me. I was too busy being bug eyed out the window by some crazy old guy dancing around but I eventually looked back at you. We smiled. I didn’t often smile. Family gatherings, celebrations but thats it.

Then. Then you spoke to me. “Is this seat taken?” I was dozed out in shock. My head was spinning. Nobody comes to the back of the bus? Nobody but Barry Collins sits at the back of the bus is what the other kids would tease me. You clicked. Kept clicking your fingers in front of my face. I snapped. Realised I’d drifted off. Pinch me. Am I dreaming? Someones at the back of the bus. Best call the bus police cause Barry Collins is the only one back there. I smile at you then move my books. You sit down and just stare. Why’s this pretty girl staring at me? Did I do something to her?

“Whats your name?” I remember you saying like some sweet melody. Your voice. Angelesc. “Barry Collins” Thats all I say, can say, will say. My tongues tied. I looked at my feet. Stuck to the ground by some kids 6 week old gum. Funny. You always look at your feet when in an awkward situation. “I’m new.” Theres the angels voice again. I finally turn, look you dead in the eye and open my mouth. Oh wait no words. Like I’m some broken robot which can’t speak. “You’re a funny one aren’t you.” I laugh, you laugh. I smile and the bus pulls to a stop. Everything turns in chaos. It’s world war III on the bus, everybody get off, every kid for themselves. You’ve gone now. I’m there alone on the bus, at the back as panic ensues, we’ve came to a halt everybody get off.

Next morning. Here you come. Blonde hair blowing on the bus. Wait there isn’t any wind on the bus? Oh that’s right I’m imagining that part. Wait. Whats this. Your coming to the back of the bus again? One day ok. Two days, whats going on? “It’s me again” I just look, smile, nod, the usual. “Do you have a name?” I’m looking at my feet again. I haven’t got words to use. “I’m going to call you shoes.” I just laugh. I get called a lot of names but not shoes. “It’s because you’re always staring at your shoes.” I laugh again. Whats going on? I look at you. Those bright blue eyes. “I like shoes.” What was that? Did I just speak? “Oh it can talk” you laugh, I laugh.

Three weeks. Amazing. Three weeks at the back of the bus. That Monday through Friday was a breeze. Every morning I had something to look forward to. That bus journey, at the back of the bus. We’d sit laughing, smiling the whole journey there. All the other kids would still make fun of Barry Collins at the back of the bus but it just went past me. I wish we could have been on the bus forever stuck in that moment.

Three weeks was that point. I got on. Went to the back. Smiled. It freaked the other kids out. “Look Barry Collins is smiling. What a loser.” “He’s a freak. His smile makes him look like a psychopath.” I ignored them. That was the point. You got on. Smiling and laughing as usual. Wait something’s not right. Something’s wrong with this picture. You’re with two girls. Betty Patternson who pushed me in the grass that one time and everyone laughed. Who’s the other? Oh thats right. Julie something. Italian heritage so her names weird. Never really spoke to her. Can’t understand what she’s saying. All the other boys like her though. Why’s she with them? I ignore it. Bus ride alone today. Maybe she just forgot but she’ll remember tomorrow.

Tomorrow. It happens again. You’re laughing while I’m way back here alone. It never bothered me before until you came along. The weeks pass by. Slowly and nothings changed. I’m still alone. Back here. It’s years later and we never spoke again. Now I’m still lonely and always remember that moment. The moment we met. That first time. You’d think I’d of grown up, made something of myself, changed my life. Heck you’d think. Nah. I’m still that little kid inside trapped on the back seats of that bus.