Friday, 13 December 2013

Slightly Less Short Fridays: The Man Who Ran In The Gas Mask

Anissa sat on the left hand side of the lower deck of the 122 bus, facing forwards.  As usual, the bus sat in traffic in Forest Hill.

She looked out of the window.  A man ran past wearing a gas mask.

A MAN RAN PAST THE BUS WEARING A GAS MASK.

It wasn't one of those old cumbersome leather World War Two gas masks.  It was modern, a bit like the masks you see cyclists wearing in the city centre to avoid breathing in the pollution.  But it was a full face affair, and it looked like it meant serious business.

Anissa couldn't tell whether he was running towards something, or away from something, or just out jogging.  He could have been just out jogging - he was wearing a tracksuit.  But it was a full tracksuit, with a hat.  And while it wasn't summer, it wasn't exactly cold either.  He must have been roasting.

Anissa instinctively looked back down the road, towards the swimming baths, to see if there was anything unusual or suspicious.  She looked back to the man as he disappeared into the distance amongst the other pedestrians.  What if something was about to happen?  What if it happened when the traffic finally started moving and the bus had caught the man up again?

On the other side of the bus, a bag sat on the floor between two passengers, who didn't seem to know one another.  A man, and a woman.  Did the bag being to the man, or to the woman?  Or did each assume it belonged to the other, but it was actually unattended luggage?

Anita shifted in her seat uncomfortably.

***

Omar was dripping in sweat.  Next lamp post.  Just focus on getting to the next lamp post.  And then the next one.  He felt like he was going to faint.  Surely he was going to faint?  He was so hot.  Maybe he could take the mask off, just for a moment.  No.  No cheating.

He couldn't imagine how he was ever going to complete the Marathon des Sables.


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Fun Fact: I genuinely saw a man run past wearing a full tracksuit and a face mask when I was waiting in traffic on the 122 bus in Forest Hill (or it may have been the 176 or a Rail Replacement Service).

Link of the Day: I discovered a new species up my nose

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