In this guest entry, my friend Milka Zelić reports on the gritty realities of public transport in Slumberland:
It wasn't enough that I had a rough time at work last night. When I finally got to bed I ended up working a second shift.
Because of construction work on the subway a temporary ticket booth had been set up in the home of an Ethiopian family on the Rinkeby council estate. I had to settle in with my cash register, stamp and stuff in their little bathroom, which could somehow accommodate an extra table and chair (pretty many chairs actually, I had some trouble choosing). I relieved a girl who said working there had gone pretty well. The door was closed and the passengers had to knock civilly on it to get in.
Then I was receiving passengers in the family's kitchen and had to assemble hamburgers for them. Do you want dressing with that? Onions? Mustard and ketchup? What would you like to drink? I've got a Lite Coke here that's gone flat, will that do you? But what are people supposed to drink from? I clean a few drinking glasses that turn out to be not glasses, but a vase and a wide-necked bottle, and then I give that task up.
The passenger I'm serving, a blond man who come to think of it is pretty attractive, is losing his patience. I can sort of sympathise since everything is taking a lot of time, what with the dish washing and my trouble with the register. It's suddenly turned into an old model with hundreds of buttons and I can only press them at random. But he's also being a bit unreasonable. Suddenly he doesn't want a ticket for his sister after all (come on!) and deletes stuff from the receipt (he apparently knows exactly how the register works) and now he doesn't even want to pay for his burger. I object to that, and... I guess about here is where I woke up.
If Milka works in his sleep, shouldn't he charge overtime?
And if he wants a real nightmare, he can have one of mine. Alien xenomorphs, the works.
Neil Gaiman's Sandman once had an episode in the Dream section of the London tube. I think it was the Thessalonican witch that interpreted symbols strewn around the London underground (non-dream underground carriages rarely have grisly corpses all over).