S & M Files, Part X

Distribution Permission

This version of S & M Files is freely distributable provided that the copyright notice remains intact. All material in the Annals, unless otherwise stipulated, is copyrighted (1999-2006) to Michelle A. Hoyle & Stephen B. Dodd.


Yes! The S&M files are back. Stay tuned for more episodes...


Where Stephen leaves at 3:00 PM for his 5:30 appointment and arrives nicely at 6:30.

3:00 Start
Out the door. Lots of time. Walk to bank and train station.

3:25 Step 1). The Bank.
My first mistake starts, amazingly, back in Canada and continues here. In Canada I withdrew big bucks to change to pounds at the local and convenient Currency House. Not so convenient though if you withdraw money from the bank at 2:50 and change it at Currency House at 3:10 - discovering a 3:00 closing time.

The Edmonton airport happily changed my currency though they had only £10 and £5 notes so after counting out over 60 bills, I had enough money to look like a drug dealer. In fact, flaunting my new stack by trying to compress it into my wallet, alerted the clerk to get my ID and record my particulars in her 'drug dealer' database. I left Edmonton with a wallet that did not want to fold.

Arriving with bulging wallet at UK bank. Withdraw even more Canadian bucks from the machine to cover our landlord's insatiable appetite for cash. (Are they financing a spaceship?)

Procedure: Walk hard earned bills 10 feet from bank machine and deposit at teller.

Question: Only what does one do if one has a five-inch-thick stack of bills and has forgotten his bank card and number?

Answer: Take a number (#330),
notice the huge wait (now serving [#219]),
find phone booth,
call London office for messages,
call appointment to confirm,
call absent Michelle looking for bank number,
return to bank.
Now serving #332. Doh!

3:50-3:52 Step 2) Run out of time. Give up.
Hide currency in various parts of body and baggage so as to minimize suspicious bulk.

4:15 Step 3) Catch train.
I am now taking my three most valuable worldly possessions (laptop, watch and life savings) to London for the convenience of any mugger. At least I don't have Michelle along to lose too.

4:15-5:15 Step 4) Think about English muggers.

5:15 Step 5) Jump from train to tube.
The funny thing about the tubes in London is there are many trains running on many tracks, leaving from many platforms. Getting two out of the three right just doesn't cut it:

Step 6) Head east on Central to transfer to Northern
Step 7) Get off.
Step 8) Transfer northbound on Northern
Step 9) Ooops. Right Northern line, right train, wrong northbound station.
Step 10) Get off.
Step 11) Catch alternate eastbound Northern.
Step 12) Accidentaly get on southbound Northern.
Step 13) Try to reverse direction.
Step 14) Get off.
Step 15) Get on Northern heading back north.
Step 16) Get off where I was.
Step 17) Wander station looking for eastbound Northern as opposed to southbound or northbound or westbound Northern.
Step 13) Barely get on board. Wall to wall people. Hot, humid, cramped. If I passed out, I would not fall down.
Step 14) Arrive. Look for pay phone and street.
Step 15) Get lost.
Step 16) Ask locals where City Road is.
Step 17) Get wrong directions.
Step 18) Wander and look lost some more.
Step 19) Aha! A local sees my predicament approaches and ironically asks, "Say, mate, do you have any idea where I can find City Road?" (Doh!)

6:30 Step 20) Give up.
Drown my sorrows in a small coke at McDonalds ($2).

MUCH LATER: I've learned my lesson.
This time when I get on the tube I carefully check the map on the station and confirm it goes exactly where I want it to.

Well, at least it does if you board the right train.
I didn't.
Whoosh! out to the Boonies I go.
(Boonies: Remote, strange place. Somewhere inappropriate that is not convenient to get back from.)

MUCH MUCH LATER: Attempt to leave London after long day of Oops-Whooshing. ("Whoooosh!... Ooops! Whoooosh!.... Ooops").

Ok, I've got this one covered.

Watch the big board of two dozen trains and be guided to your track.

But... but... there are no trains listed - at all. Not a one. We all stand around like lost lamb looking for our Mary. Our Mary of the trains that has suffered a nervous electronic breakdown.

After much enquiry, I discover it's OK that the Big Board is down. It's not even my Big Board. I'm looking at the wrong broken Big Board. I wander through the vast Victoria station to the other Big Board which I discover, with some surprise, is working just fine. Just fine but for the fact that it doesn't show my train. Many, many trains. But not mine. Mine is not there because this too is the wrong Big Board.

Eventually I find the right platform and get on the big train resting in front of the large sign that clearly says "Victoria to Brighton". If you squint just right, the small print underneath says, "Stephen, take me! Take me. I am for you, Stephen."

Sitting on the train Whooshing through the night, I later discover a clever ruse: my Whooshing train goes to the Boonies.

Arrive home very late.


Do not go on the tracks. The third rail has quite a bite but perhaps not as strong as from the little, cutesy mice that play on the tracks apparently unharmed by the passing subway cars. Maybe they are ethereal mice. They seem to have shaved bottoms. Is that a sign of etherealness? Fine ethereal entertainment while waiting for the Tube.


[Michelle's Mind]

S & M Files
Ep. 1 (I) | Ep. 2 (II) | Ep. 3 (III) | Ep. 4 (IV) | Ep. 5 (V) | Ep. 6 (VI) | Ep. 7 (VII) |
Ep. 8 (VIII) | Ep. 9 (IX) | Ep. 10 (X) | Ep. 11 (XI) | Ep. 12 (XII) | Ep. 13 (XIII) | Ep. 14 (XIV) |
Ep. 15 (XIV) | Ep. 16 (XIV)