The Sofa Club at the End of the World: FOUR

The uniformed men are arguing. One keeps pointing to Barry’s luggage and the other is trying to placate him. They move off along the empty railway carriage.

When Barry turns around, he sees that he’s not alone. Sitting in the corner, a man, about 50, balding, pencil mustache, in a tweed jacket and knee-breeches.

“Now, there’s a man who appreciates a comfortable railway seat. Don’t deny it, sir. I have a feel for these things. It takes one to know one. And these seats, what upholstery! And the padding! Quite off the comfort scale, wouldn’t you say?”

Barry opens his mouth to speak but the man keeps talking.

“Seat-sinkability, that’s what I look for in a railway seat. Splendid!”

“Did you know, sir, that a pangolin has no teeth?”

“A pangolin? ” mumbles Barry.

“Aha! I didn’t think you looked the sort of fellow who knew that a pangolin has no teeth,” he says with a look of satisfaction which slowly turns to horror as he notices Barry’s luggage.

“This will not do, sir!”

In an instant, he’s standing. He flings open the window, heaves Barry’s luggage out.

The man is yelling now with the window open, “They’re never going to let you in with luggage.” Barry considered this for a moment.

“Get a move on!” he says to Barry. “We are almost at our destination. Yes, yes, all of it. I don’t want them thinking it’s mine.”

The last of the bags fly through the open window. Barry, mouth open, looks like a goldfish.

The man closes the window and sits down just as the train pulls into the Station at the End of the World under a sky of stars.