The chewer

I ran as fast as my legs would allow, my hand clutching my bag hard. My lungs were screaming, my sides were throwing a stabbing pain with every breath, my thighs were stiff. Yet I still ran. I had little time. I hoped I would make it but my hopes were not very high. On the board the time flashed the passing seconds, quietly. 17:12:36. My feet flew down the steps to the platform. Just another few metres, just a few seconds. I jumped in as the doors shut for departure. I had made it just in time.

I walked through the packed coaches, slowly making my way through the sea of bodies that filled up the space. No seat was available, not even a little space on the floor for me to collapse remorseless. I continued my quest, hopeful. The next coach was just as full but I considered the luggage shelf. That was empty and more importantly it looked incredibly inviting. I moved to it, as fast as the crowd would allow and as soon as I reached the shelf, I bounced and sat on it, my legs swinging freely above the floor. I grunted in relief. My heart still pounded in my ears, i opened my bag and took a book out, the adventures of my favourite djinni Bartimeaus. It was my 2nd visit to the story. I let my back relax against the side of the shelf and started to read. Gradually my heartbeat calmed down and the noises of the external world came back to me. That’s when I heard it. It had something of a camel feel to it, it was almost mesmerizing at first. Then I couldn’t hear anything else but the sound. It was everywhere. Reluctantly I left the book and turned my head towards the noise. Then I saw him: red bearded, round bellied, podgy little fingers on his little phone. He was, his mouth wide open, chewing a chewing gum with the elegance of the cow eating her own sick. I tried to glue his jaws together by staring intently but nothing happened. Chew, chew, chew, the sound was unbearable. I rolled my eyes in despair and noticed the alarm. Was this an emergency situation? It certainly was to me but I assumed the driver wouldn’t share my opinion. Instead I mentally cursed the Chewer, wishing him to explode on the spot. I hated him.

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