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Catching the Head


The whole station was evacuating as we arrived.

Between us we were lugging a large red box filled with rams and blocks.

It was difficult trying to make our way against the flow of people and not banging our shins on the metal strengthened edges of it.

We sweated in our fire fighting uniforms.

At the top of the staircase down to the platform we smelt the cooked shit and our noses wrinkled

We caught our breath at the bottom and listened to the tranquillity of what was otherwise a normal scene. A tube train with the doors open but no one about.

The smell was quite bad as we walked to the front of the train where our commander and a couple of the others were waiting for us.

“He’s definitely dead -” he said

We looked back under the bogey lit by his torch; we couldn’t see much except for a red plaid shirt.

“ – the off-side wheel is parked on his head.”

A stretcher and a few plastic sheets arrived, with more of our crew with the ambulance crew bringing up the rear.

“You’re not going to need too many of your skills here fellas” he said to them.” Best we just get the bits we can before they get a new driver to take the train out.  It’s pointless jacking this thing up the state he’s in.”

He motioned to Andy and I to get into the suicide pit with a few plastic sheets. The light from our torches, fastened on the chest of our tunics, danced around in the gloom under the train as we made our way underneath it.

Andy and I saw the half head cleaved by the wheel at the same time. It was unreal, as if mocked up for a movie, but we looked at each other and knew we were not about to pick it up with our hands, even with our plastic gloves on.

Andy climbed out of the pit by the station wall and squeezed down the side of the carriage.

I took a plastic sheet and knelt in the pit near the wheel.

“Ready Woody?

Andy placed his boot behind the half head and kicked it towards me

I looked away and felt a heavy slap as it landed in the sheet.

Still not looking I covered the head with the overlapping edges and made my way to the platform with the package.

I was numb

“Well done Woody”  said the commander quietly.


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