Sunday, 30 November 2008

Sean and Diffy. The Christmas Train.

Sean and Diffy g on a day trip on the SANTA EXPRESS, but the day doesn’t live up to expectations.
Sean and Diffy stories contain VERY strong language. Please do not read on if you are easily offended.

There is a little town in Lancashire with the unfortunate name of Ramsbottom: honest, I kid you not. It nestles in the gently folding foothills of the Pennine Chain, a range of hills that stretch north to south: or south to north, depending on your outlook, along the length of England. Every Christmas the anoraks from the local steam appreciation society run a trip in a cute little antiquated steam train along a ten mile section of the otherwise unused local railway. This trip is aimed specifically at children, whose minds have yet to be corrupted and robbed of the magical notion of Father Christmas and his elven cohorts.
Due to the lack of funding by the miserly Scrooges who apportion resources from their lofty towers at the local government offices, the whole shebang is manned by volunteers from the surrounding community. The train driver is a local bus driver and his fireman a local fireman. Santa’s helpers are recruited via the lecherous eye of Mr Hardwick, personnel manager at the local company of Sykes and Co. Mr Hardwick ensures that Santa’s elves are picked according to height, weight and vital statistics. This criterion dictates that they are all under twenty, petite, pretty and well endowed in the tit and arse department. The train, which is dragged out and polished specifically for this event, is bedecked in tinsel and holly, and is, indeed, a sight to behold.
Once the journey is underway, the kids are shown, to the accompaniment of much oooing and ahhhing, Santa’s workshop, on the right. (A row of Alms Houses just outside the town). The forest where the reindeer live. (The small copse planted to conceal the local household waste tip), and other notable landmarks. All this whilst the grown-ups are plied with mugs of stewed tea and plates of stale mince pies.
All good so far.

Sean and Diffy leant against the rotting timber walls of the unmanned ticket office and tried to look as cool as possible. This wasn’t that easy to achieve, being that Sean had terminal spotiness and Diffy could only be seen by looking down. They were by far the oldest passengers: apart from the children’s accompanying parents and grandparents, that is. They were here for one thing and one thing only, and that had nothing to do with Santa, and everything to do with his elves.
‘I’m fuckin freezing, me, Sean. Can’t we go in the ticket office for a while?’
‘Don’t be such a softcock, Diffy. If we go in there we’ll miss all the talent getting on the train.’
‘All I can see is old Mrs Topliss and her grandkids. Is Mrs Topliss your idea of talent, Sean?’
‘The thinnest of thin ice, Diffy.’
‘I’m fuckin freezing, me.’
‘Patience, Diffy, the train should be here in a minute, packed to the buffers with totty.’
Diffy stamped his feet. ‘I wish it would hurry up. I’m fuckin freezing, me.’
A young woman appeared round the corner of the ticket office, leading a small child by the hand. The child’s mother was in her mid twenties and of comely appearance: an appearance that appealed to Sean. They stopped when they reached Sean and Diffy and the woman immediately fell into conversation with one of the other parents.
The child, a girl of about five, looked up at Sean. Sean looked down at the child.
‘Does mummy sleep with daddy?’ he asked.
The child said nothing, but continued to stare upwards.
‘Did you hear me, you numb wank?’
The child continued to star.
‘Are you simple.’
No reaction.
‘Special needs?’
‘Diffy, I think we have a loony, here.’
‘You’re probably frightening it.’
‘It? It’s not an “it”, it’s a girl, I think.’
He looked back at the child. The child stared back.
‘Are you a girl?’
‘The stare.
‘Will you stop doing that? You’re frightening me.’
‘Fuck me, Diffy, she’s creeping me out. Let’s go in the ticket office for a bit.’
‘At last.’
‘Too late, trains here.’
The shiny black locomotive drew slowly up to the platform in a cloud of steam and smoke. The driver blew the whistle continuously, which seemed to irritate the adults, but thrilled the children.
‘All aboard!’ Shouted the Station Master from the far end of the platform, and Sean and Diffy were carried into the nearest carriage, trapped within a surging wave of juvenile hysteria.
They managed, by dint of much pushing and elbowing, to acquire a couple of seats near the front of the carriage, and settled in for the ride.
The noise was deafening as children and parents fought for seats. Shouts turned to tears and polite, “Excuse me’s,” turned to irate, “Fuck offs.” This didn’t concern our intrepid pair, who had their eyes fixed on the door through which Santa’s Little Helpers would appear in all their mini skirted loveliness.
Five minutes later, when order had been restored, the train slowly lurched out of the station and picked up speed until it was moving at something slightly faster than walking pace. The grimy buildings of the town dropped away as they passed into the bleak moorland beyond. An aged and infirm PA system suddenly burst into life: loudly at first, then almost inaudibly, then back to ear-splitting volume, and eventually to a muted background burble of “Yuletide carols being sung by a choir.” (Did you notice how I got the Nat King Cole reference in there?)
‘To your right,’ said a crackling voice over the PA system, ‘you can see Santa’s house, and the workshop where the elves make the toys.’
These were the Alms Houses, where the aged of the town were taken to live out the final years of their lives. Sean could remember fondly those halcyon days when he, Diffy and the other kids from his youth, would get the bus from Bolton to Ramsbottom specifically to put through the windows of the Alms House. Oh, happy days.
‘Oooo!’ said the kids.
‘Bollocks,’ said Sean. ‘Them’s the Alms Houses where the old fogies are kept.’
‘Do you mind.’ came an indignant female voice from somewhere in the depths of the carriage.
‘Not at all.’ Replied Sean.
‘Do you have to spoil it for the children?’
‘I don’t have to, but I just might.’
‘I’ve a good mind to get the conductor.’
‘Fuck me, have we got an orchestra on here, as well?’
‘Young man, how dare you speak to me like that.’ The woman was standing up now, and Sean could see her florid countenance above the tiny heads of the now silent children.
‘It’s easy, I just open my mouth and it rolls out.’
‘That’s it.’ shouted the woman. ‘I’m going to get you thrown off this train.’
‘Wouldn’t that constitute murder, or assault at the very least?’
‘Don’t try to be funny with me, young man. I’m a magistrate.’
‘Where’s your fuckin wig, then? You need something to hide that ridiculous blue rinse.’
This prompted much sniggering amongst some of the grown-ups, and Sean was buoyed by the apparent support. Blue rinse turned on the sniggerers, and all was quiet again.
‘What’s your name?’ she asked in an authoritative voice.
‘Adolf Hitler. What’s yours?’
‘How dare you. I won’t have it.’
‘I’m not surprised with a face like yours’
Diffy crouched in his seat, trying to keep a low profile and avoid dying of embarrassment.
‘Hey, Diffy.’ chuckled Sean, ‘I’m fuckin loving this. Sit up, you fuckin P.O.R.G. (Person Of Restricted Growth.). Be a man. Well, be as close to a man as is possible when you’re only two feet tall.’
‘Four foot six.’
‘You’ll get us thrown off, Sean, you knobhead. Just shut the fuck up.’
The door at the front of the carriage opened and a diminutive bald man of about 60 years poked his head through. ‘Problems?’
‘Yes,’ she was quick. You had to give her that. ‘This young man is upsetting the children. And him with a child himself.’
‘Fuck off,’ shouted Diffy, ‘I’m not a child. I’m fuckin twenty
‘Are you?’ asked Sean.
‘Yes I am. It was my birthday last week, but did you remember? Did you fuck?’
‘No problem.’
‘I mean it. I feel like a twat, now.’
‘You look like one.’
‘Will you please do something about these two reprobates? They have completely spoiled the day for everyone else.’ The woman was determined not to let it rest.
Bald man enters and approaches the two young men.
‘Keep it down you two, or I’ll have no option but to put you off.’
That would have been an end to it but, no.
Sean. ‘You and whose fuckin army?’
Diffy. ‘Leave it, Sean.’
Guard. ‘Don’t move.’ and he was gone.
‘Were you thinking of moving, Diffy?’
‘Not me, you?’
The train chugged on and both Sean and the woman were silent. Sean was beginning to wish he had kept his mouth shut, and the woman was vomiting quietly into her hat.
Bald man returned after about five minutes, and Sean was about to apologise, when a huge coal stained figure loomed in the doorway. This was the fireman fireman, and he didn’t look best pleased. ‘These two?’ He didn’t so much speak, as rumble.
Blue rinse leapt to her feet, casting droplets of spittle and vomit over the heads of the other passengers. ‘Those are the ones. Toss them off immediately.’
‘Pardon?’ said Sean.
‘Pardon?’ said Diffy.
‘Pardon? said Bald man.
‘Pardon?’ said the fireman
‘Pardon?’ said the other passengers in unison.
‘Pardon? said a man walking his dog by the rail track.
The huge fireman advanced on the pair.
‘Keep your fuckin hands off me, you big twat.’ shouted Sean.
‘I was only going to have a quiet word, but now……..’
He grabbed Sean by his hoody’s hood and lifted Diffy bodily out of his seat.
‘GEORGE!’ he shouted down the corridor beyond the door, and the train began to slow.
Blue rinse stood exultantly in the centre of the carriage as Sean and Diffy disappeared through the door. She felt like a hero and looked around at the faces of the other passengers for approval and gratitude. All she got were looks of contempt. They had been enjoying the floorshow, and she had gone and spoiled it. She sat meekly down in her seat, took out her hanky and had a little sob. It had all been too much.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sean and Diffy were being dragged through the remaining carriages to the front of the train, where they were forced to stand until it eventually ground to a halt.
Sean looked through the window at the bleak moorland beyond. They had travelled no more than about five miles, but the walk back to town seemed a daunting prospect.
‘Right, you two, off.’ growled the fireman.
‘You can’t just chuck us off in the middle of nowhere,’ pleaded Diffy, ‘we’ll fuckin freeze to death.’
‘You won’t freeze.’ replied the fireman, and pushed them off the train and onto the damp grass. He jumped down after them and motioned towards the locomotive. ‘Climb up.’
‘What?’ said Sean.
‘Are you thick, or what? I said, climb up.’
Sean looked up at the locomotive and saw two striking blue eyes looking back down at him.
‘That’s Tina. She and a couple of the elves have brought a few bottles up to the engine.’
‘Game on.’ drooled Sean.
‘That old cow on the train is a pain in the arse. Se comes every year, and every year she makes a nuisance of herself. I’d fuck her off, but she’s a bigwig at the council and could revoke our licence. We thought it best to just get you out of the way.’
Sean and Diffy looked up at the train again. The blue eyes had been joined by a pair of brown and a pair of green.
This hadn’t turned out to be a bad trip after all.
Merry fuckin Christmas.

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