Tube Talk

Tonight on the London Underground, I listened to the most glorious conversation I have ever heard. Here it is, uncut, as accurate as memory permits, nothing artificial added. It was spectacular enough on its own. As you will notice, about half of the lines spoken by one participant were utterly incomprehensible and I have reproduced them as such. You’ll notice that I don’t say anything, despite being physically in the middle of the train and in the middle of the conversants. That’s because I couldn’t possibly equal them.

Drunk Scotsman. Bald, wearing giant boots, a kilt, and one of those belts with fur things hanging off, with gigantic tattoos on each arm.
Three Tarts. 20-somethings with tons of makeup and their hair done up in buns situated literally on top of their heads. Ordered by attractiveness, ie, Tart #1 is prettiest.
Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman. In a dark red coat.
Young, Sober Scotsman. On the other side of the block of seats from the Drunk Scotsman. Definitely not wearing a kilt.
Meek Asian Man. Seated directly next to Drunk Scotsman.
Bob Balaban Lookalike. Except slightly taller.
Random Dude #1.
Random Dude #2. Wearing red Yankees hat.

I arrive in the Tube car and squeeze down the middle aisle, grabbing hold of that little pole in the center. Also holding on is Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman. Behind her, seated to my left, is Drunk Scotsman. Directly to my right, seated, are the Three Tarts.

Drunk Scotsman. Well! I can’t believe, we play Brazil.
Random Dude #1. I don’t think you can beat Brazil, though.
Drunk Scotsman. Bleh! Well. (turns to Meek Asian Man) D’ye think we ait a be Brazil?
Meek Asian Man. Yes. (smiles)
Tart #1. My legs hurt.
Tart #2. Why’s that?
Tart #1. I just shaved em and we walked around all day and they’re sore. Have you got any cream?
Tart #2. No.
Tart #1. Have you got any cream?
Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman. No.
Drunk Scotsman. Ach, ye mehlemlymlelmhelheylhylylhel!
Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman makes a slightly alarmed face.
Tart #3. Here.
She hands Tart #1 a small red canister of something which produces a white foam.
Tart #1. Ah! (pats it on her legs) That feels wonderful.
Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman makes a revolted face.
Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman. You’re not really doing that!?
Tart #1. Why not?
Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman. Well, you’ll get flies stuck to your legs!
Tart #1. …flies?
Skeptical Middle-Aged Woman. Yeh, flies’ll get stuck to your legs!
Tart #1. Well, it feels great.
Tart #1 takes another dollop of the cream and puts it in her hair as everyone stares in shock.
Tart #1. It’s the new look!
Drunk Scotsman (turning to Meek Asian Man). Melhylhelylhemelhelelyhlyeylhel?
Meek Asian Man. Yes. (smiles)
Tart #2. Will you take our picture?
Random Dude #2. Sure! (takes their picture)
Tart #1 (fanning herself). I’m hot! I’m getting off this train.
Drunk Scotsman. …you’re hot?!
Everyone Except Sober Young Scotsman. Hahahaha!
Sober Young Scotsman. Oh, fuck me.
Drunk Scotsman. Melhlylehlmemhlemylemlehhlelymel!

At the end of this line of incomprehensible dialogue, without any warning or pause whatsoever, the Drunk Scotsman and Three Young Tarts all spontaneously, and in amazing unison, burst into song.

Scotsman and Tarts.
Well I would walk five hundred miles
and I would walk five hundred miles
and I would walk five hundred miles
and I would walk five hundred miles

Everyone else in the car looks at each other in amusement/horror. The train makes a stop and Bob Balaban Lookalike appears.

Bob Balaban Lookalike. I’m not getting in the middle of anything, am I?
Tart #1. No! He’s just more exciting than the usual Tube passenger. Most passengers are like

Tart #1 imitates a corpse.

Bob Balaban Lookalike. Ah, yes.
Tart #1. My legs are sore! Have you got any cream in your bag?
Bob Balaban Lookalike. Why, no, I haven’t!
Drunk Scotsman. Where yue goin’?
Tart #3. Bagels!
Tart #2. Brick Lane bagel shop.
Drunk Scotsman. Bagel! …………… TWO BAGELS! Hahahahaha!
Three Tarts. Hahahahahahaha!

The Drunk Scotsman stands up, reaches across the aisle, and shakes hands with Tart #3. Then he doesn’t let go. He continues to not let go.

Three Tarts. (giggling)
Drunk Scotsman. I would walk five hundred milesAnd I would walk five hundred miles
Tart #3. He’s not letting go!
Tart #2. It’s okay, we’re getting off at the next stop anyway.
Sober Young Scotsman. Oh, fuck me.
Drunk Scotsman. I would walk five hundred milesAnd I would walk five hundred miles
Sober Young Scotsman (loudly, trying to get anyone’s attention at all). If this train stops, he’s gonna fall on his ass.

The girls’ stop is reached.

Tart #1. Okay. (gets up)
Drunk Scotsman. And I would walk five hundred miles

Tart #3 lets go and the girls depart the train. Bob Balaban Lookalike and I take their seats. The Drunk Scotsman is still standing in the middle of the aisle, his hand outstretched

Drunk Scotsman. Bagel! I want two bagels! Bagel.

The Young Sober Scotsman walks over, grabs the Drunk literally by his belly, and pushes him back down into a seat.

Young Sober Scotsman (sitting down as well). You’re not to get up.

Long pause.

Drunk Scotsman. Makin’ love to Cecilia in the afternoon…


Filed under Storytime

5 responses to “Tube Talk

  1. Sorin

    Samuel Beckett 0, London Tube 1. Brazil is next in line. Thanks for sharing Brian.

  2. Your depiction of drunk Scotsman’s dialog (the furry belt thing is called a sporran, by the way) also accurately portrays every conversation I ever had with the porters in my uni flat in Stirling. Without the singing. Usually. This was pretty distressing since usually all I wanted was my mail.

  3. Roque

    Fantastic! I’m so glad you remembered all the dialogue. I demand a short film!

  4. Caitlin

    Oh yes, a movie would be excellent! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Zelda

    This was just … so amazing … I’m not sure I can handle it.

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