There Are People And Then There was This Chap

‘Silly Bunts’. It came up in a comment the other day. It references a Monty Python sketch called The Travel Agent and… anyway, I tried to recalled when I heard that on another occasion and, like a dog to a smelly bottom, it came back for another go.

I was on a train between Denmark and Sweden. It was comfortable, clean and I was writing a poem about Denmark. We’d had a lovely time there and expected a similar experience in Sweden. The people, especially, had been universally pleasant: friendly, a bit reserved, open, interested and interesting.

There was this man sitting opposite me. About sixty, I’d guess. Pointed face, like someone had got hold of his nose and pulled before it had set completely. I made eye contact and smiled.

Oh boy, big mistake.

He called himself Michael Smith – Johnson and said he was Danish but had lived in Ireland for ten years so was probably Irish, naturalised Danish. Certainly his strongly Irish brogue suggested as much. He was missing a front tooth and there was a degree of ugly scar tissue around his mouth like he had ground his face into gravel on more than one occasion. And he wanted to impart one basic fact: he hated his ex. Loathed her with the sort of passion that would have porn directors looking to bottle it and inject it into some drooping stud (actually, that’s an appalling image, but I blame my fellow passenger).

In a stunning twenty minutes of vitriol and virtuosity I captured this  about him (I wrote it in my journal so I didn’t have to remember it verbatim):

  • he had two children by said ex
  • he had another of 3 and one on the way with his girlfriend
  • she was Muslim as was  he apparently
  • her father was an ‘ugly brute of a Turk’, his words, who was involved in some complicated affairs in Turkey involving electrocutions and elections
  • he was worth €42 million net
  • he had a charitable foundation that acted like a dragon’s den helping starter businesses
  • he hated the Danes for their insularity as he saw it
  • he had been homeless and empathised with anyone needing a start
  • he had a PhD in anthropology – and another in business affairs
  • he had played a role, not exactly well explained as ambassador to the EU for the Irish government
  • he was considering the offer of a chair at Cairo university
  • he spoke 17 languages and tested me in German and French, not that I passed
  • he had a book being fought over by publishers, based on the story of his life and his unique philosophy which he called democraship or some such and if implemented would solve the financial crisis at a stroke
  • And he never drank, even though his hands shook and his eyes belied his professed restraint.

When finally I looked down and refused to look up, he told me the English were the worst race in Europe and generally rhymed with bunts before he fell asleep. We moved seats at that point. I wish I’d taken a photo because  you don’t often meet Walter Mitty in the flesh. Whatever country plays host to him has my deepest sympathy, though the writer in me wants to find a story into which I can insert Michael Smith – Johnson. One day. maybe..

He would make a splendid anti-hero though one would have to add some redeeming features to make him believable. That’s the trouble with writing fiction based on reality: often reality isn’t credible.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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14 Responses to There Are People And Then There was This Chap

  1. You have been known to lard your prose

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Well Irish Danish …quite a mix ….two total ends of the scales.
    I have ment ilke once or twice…. You were so lucky he fell asleep…. I bet he had a shock on awakening and found you gone…..a touch of the lady vanishes or in your case the gentleman vanishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry but I have no recollection of having met you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. noelleg44 says:

    Remind me not to tell you my life story – you’d have to get up and move! 😉


  5. Not a lot you can add to that Geoff!


  6. Gloria says:

    You have wonderful descriptions, Geoff! I thoroughly enjoyed this story! (Wouldn’t like to meet that guy though)


  7. JT Twissel says:

    Oh my. It’ll be interested to see how you deal with this chap in fiction. He sounds like someone Dickens would love to run into and satirize.


  8. You could always replace the C with a K…


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