I was in one of those little coffee shops waiting for a train at London Bridge yesterday and I saw these two guys. I just couldn’t get over their demeanour. Chilling. So I wrote this, this morning. Flash fiction? Short short story. something like that….
The Lizards at London Bridge station.
I saw two lizards at London Bridge station. I have seen them before. Not there. All over. I have talked with them. Moved with them around their tiny world before, in my past. But that’s another story. One I rarely relate.
But, just the other day, I sat near them – in a coffee shop for five minutes – and how obviously strange they appeared, these lizards, was impressed upon me. And I understood again, in yet another way, how odd it was not to notice, for so long, how curious they were and how unlike normal people they behaved.
Have you ever observed how they move? Lizards. I sat once on a balcony, on holiday not that long after it all stopped and watched two of them. They move, only when they have to. All animals are beholden to their instincts. But lizards seem that much closer. They just sit there, often in pairs and look into the middle distance. Like they are waiting. Waiting for whatever they need to come to them. It was hot of course, so maybe they were just conserving themselves. But with lizards it’s more like they are naturally indolent. And smart. They always look so patient. Like they know that what they want will come to them. And it will. And when it does, they will move with a fierce swiftness.
These two, at London Bridge, seemed to be together but un-regarding of the other. No that’s not quite right. It’s more like they were utterly confident that they would each behave in a certain way. It gave them this air, a steely resolve. They weren’t looking at one another and yet each seemed to keenly aware of the other.
When I was with them, everyone smiled all the time. There was this frenzy just below the surface, a pulse of constant mutual reassurance and joviality that knitted the halls together in a fug of nervous energy. It set me on edge, as soon as I walked through the doors.
They rarely spoke as they waited. These two. But when they did, it was softly, quickly muttering in a rapid patter of short sentences. It was all so obvious and sinister.
It is now. It’s this bearing that I now find so extraordinary. Extraordinary that I missed it. To the casual or careless observer they probably looked like two, rather well turned out young men. But I’m not. Not anymore anyway.
They were watching everything, you see. Nothing was missed. They were engulfed in stillness and holding onto, very easily, an eerie prepossession. Like they had infinite reserves of patience and an unbending unlimited capacity for believing that the world was out of step – and would catch up with them sooner or later.
I understand from where it’s all conjured. That stillness. They know their market. They know their fight is all in the picking.
But these guys of course aren’t hiding. They have those little black badges. Actually quite large badges, that perch on their right lapel, completely straight. Like a promise. And I know what of. Their hair, so neat, their suits, so dark, so non-descript so prefect.
It’s all out in the open. At least they are honest. Right?
Well that’s one way of looking at it. But that’s careless again. They aren’t – that admission, that stall setting of theirs is the only honest thing about them. And it only appears so. It’s a trick. A thing to point at and claim, propriety. Their unerring integrity. This is what I am and I am proud to be what I am.
It’s only the fact that they, these two and most others like them, aren’t aware of all that that stays my hand, or my mouth. I am done with them and their kind.
When the train arrived, they just moved, at exactly the same time at the same pace. And a fraction before everyone else. They drifted towards it, but with a single mindedness, in some kind of harmony together silently. Hovering across the platform, blocking out everything else on their way to some ghastly meeting. Or gathering in some grey windowless hall, to mix and mingle with some new recruits. Those who had been caught in their empty gaze and filled with the promises that they were so desperately looking for. Who do I despise more?
Them. Those dry eyed soulless vessels. I hate what they did, and what they have left me with. And I despair that I was a party to it.
But I am not one of them. I have messy hair and I like a drink. I get to think and to go where ever I want. Every day I try and pity them and not hate them. I am not so far into that yet.
But every day the legacy of the lizards diminishes.