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The Roaming Moaner

The Roaming Moaner
How soon after death does a body start to stink? If I snap her neck during take -off will I start to
smell her rot before the plane lands in Cancun? My hand reaches for my phone to google
'putrefaction ti me lines', my fingers getting as far as my poc ket before I remember I've cancelled
my contract and the WI-FI is down. I fish it out anyway, its weight in my hand soothing like an adult
comfort blanket. I bring up the WI-FI list and scroll to the airline I booked with. There it i s, no
padlock sign and a full signal symbol; but the tri ple-tiered tower of web-browsing power may as
well be a tiny middle finger for all the good it is to me cause the words 'Unable To Join Network'
flash up again, contradicting the full coverage claim a nd taunting me like a red sky to a flying bull. I
try the other unloc ked signals with similar results, the denial of such a basic human right as web
access fuelling my outrage and making both my eyeballs twitch and jitter.
Calm down Sam, you're not gonna murder anyone. She's just nervous about flying is all. She'll be
fine when you're in the air. Until then, do what you normally do when faced with extreme conflict
or everyday stuff that winds you up - compose an all-caps angry Facebook status. Use your rage.
Write something so devastating it'll be used as the holy text in a fucked up future religion. Drop all
the vowels and post it to Twitter; sit back and laugh as it virals so hard it mutates into a physical
pathogen that wipes out AIDS, celery and people that talk with their mouths full.
“But he had to stay behind in the end because of his work so he'll be getting another flight
tomorrow. He's a lovely man is my son and I'm ever so looking forward to our holiday together”
says the old lady for the third time, her spit-soaked words reaching my ears through a mouthful of
sticky toffee, her nasal snorts rippling my arm hair making me want to scream in her face till I'm
red and hoarse and handcuffed in an overhead compa rtment.
“His wife is such a dear. She met the queen once, so it's clear she was meant for someone
special. Such a dear she is, so kind and supportive.”
The combination of talking and chewing tires her out and soon she's snorting like a long -distance
runner that's just sniffed up a wasp. A tiny drop of snot splats on my arm, nudging my phobic
reaction over the physical level line. My nose goes all hot and stuffy, like a fat man's jammed his
big toe up there and's got ideas for the whole foot. I massage my nostrils till the cartilag e clicks
then struggle to suppress a full body twitch, the harder I try the more pronounced it becomes till
I'm trembling like an octopus with restless legs syndrome.
“And he's got a house in the City with a garden that's just lovely. He's a data analyst my son did
you know? One of those modern jobs.”
Yes. Yes I did know. And it's a pity your son got his analytical genes from your dead husband or
you'd be able to analyse my silence and leave me alone. I manage to show some restraint though,
keep the screams internal; partly because I don't wanna get thrown off the plane but mainly
because I'm not a complete bastard. Just a man with a phobia of the sound of people eating, and I
suppose a deep dislike of one-sided small talk.