Blogging Short Stories #3 - THE STRANGE STORY OF PEOPLE WHO SAY THINGS TWICE
‘Let me introduce myself, introduce myself. My name’s Roger, Roger, and I have this strange habit, strange habit, of saying the same thing twice, saying the same thing twice.’
I was intrigued to know more.
‘How did it begin?’ I asked him.
‘Well, well,’ Roger said, ‘I’m not sure, I’m not sure. I was quite young at the time, quite young at the time, certainly not old, certainly not old, and I suddenly found myself, suddenly found myself, saying something, saying something, that I’d only just said, only just said.’
‘Gosh,’ I said. ‘Did you see anyone about it?’
‘I did, I did,’ Roger said. ‘But there was nothing they could do, nothing they could do. Seems they know very little about it, very little about it. They’re carrying out a study, carrying out a study, to try to find the cause, try to find the cause. But until then, until then, I’m afraid we’re in limbo, afraid we’re in limbo.’
‘So there’s no treatment for it?’ I asked.
‘Not at the moment, not at the moment,’ Roger said.
‘It’s not contagious, is it, contagious is it?’ I asked.
‘It can be, it can be,’ Roger said. ‘In fact, in fact, I think you might have caught it, think you might have caught it.’
‘Oh no! oh no!’ I exclaimed.
‘Sorry about that, sorry about that, old boy, old boy,’ Roger said.
Just then the train we were travelling on pulled into a station. Two minutes later a young woman approached down the aisle.
‘Excuse me, excuse me,’ the young woman said, ‘is this seat taken, is this seat taken?’
‘No, no,’ Roger said.
‘Do you mind if I sit here, mind if I sit here?’ the young woman asked.
‘Please, please,’ Roger said.
The young woman sat down.
‘I shouldn’t be here actually, shouldn’t be here actually,’ she said, ‘but the carriage for people who say things twice, people who say things twice, was full, was full. I hope that’s all right, hope that’s all right?’
‘It’s perfectly fine, perfectly fine,’ Roger said.
‘Ah, but I see, but I see, that you say things twice too, that you say things twice too,’ the young woman said. She then turned to me. ‘And what about you, what about you? Do you also say things twice, also say things twice?’
‘I never used to, never used to,’ I said. ‘But since I met, since I met, this gentleman, this gentleman, I’m afraid I’ve started, afraid I’ve started.’
I looked up and saw the ticket inspector coming towards us.
‘Tickets please, tickets please, for any passengers just boarded, any passengers just boarded!’ announced the ticket inspector.
‘Oh, I’ve just boarded, I’ve just boarded,’ said the young woman and gave the inspector her ticket.
The ticket inspector clipped the young woman’s ticket and gave it back to her.
‘Thank you, madam, thank you, madam,’ the ticket inspector said.
‘Oh I say, oh I say, do you say things twice too, inspector, say things twice too, inspector?’ the young woman said.
‘Only since I’ve been clicking tickets, clicking tickets, in the carriage reserved, carriage reserved, for people who say things twice, madam, people who say things twice, madam,’ the ticket inspector replied.
A that moment an angry gentleman shouted across from the seat opposite.
‘Inspector, I’m bally sick of all these bally people here saying things twice,’ he said. ‘It’s really bally annoying for us “normal” people who only bally say things once. I demand that you bally well do something about it.’
‘Is that a congenital problem of yours, sir, congenital problem of yours. sir?’ asked the inspector.
‘Is what a bally congenital problem of mine, you bally idiot?’ asked the gentleman.
‘Saying the word bally all the time, word bally all the time,’ said the inspector.
‘Oh really!’ said the bally gentleman, and slunk back into his bally seat.
The train pulled into another station.
‘Well this is where I get off, this is where I get off,’ I said. ‘It’s been nice talking to you all, talking to you all. But I do hope I get over this, get over this, saying thing twice all the time, saying things twice all the time.’
I got off train and out of the station. There was a taxi waiting in the small taxi rank. I got into the back and the driver pulled off.
I took out my mobile phone and pressed a button.
‘Where to, sir,?’ asked the taxi driver.
I gave the driver the address twice, and then spoke into the phone.
‘Alice? Alice? It’s me, it’s me. I should be back soon, darling, back soon, darling. But I should tell you, should tell you, that you may notice, may notice, a change in me, change in me. I’m afraid that I’ve started, started, saying things twice, saying things twice. ………. What? What? I said I’ve started to say things twice, started to say things twice. ……… Where did I get, where did I get it, did you say, did you say? Well, I just picked it up, picked it up, talking to a gentleman, talking to a gentleman, on the train, on the train. Oh, and I should just warn you, should just warn you, that it can be contagious, that it can be contagious. …….. What do mean how does it spread, how does it spread? By word of mouth, obviously, by word of mouth, obviously. How else could it spread, how else could it spread? ………. What do you mean, what do you mean, will it effect our marriage, effect out marriage? Why should it effect our marriage, effect our marriage? ………. Your mother, your mother, did you say, did you say? What would it have to do, what would it have to do, with your mother, with your mother? ………. Calm down, Alice, calm down, Alice. I was not making, not making, a derogatory comment, derogatory comment, about your mother, about your mother. I was simply saying, simply saying….. ……… Yes, I know, I know, we could have a more straightforward conversation, straightforward conversation, if I only said things once, only said things once. …….. What? What? But there are lots of people, lots of people, who say things twice, say things twice. I met three on the train, three on the train, just now, just now. They even have a special carriage, special carriage, reserved for people, reserved for people, who say things twice, say things twice. …….. No, I haven’t been drinking, haven’t been drinking! ……… I tell you I was on a train just now, on a train just now, where people were saying things twice, saying things twice, and that there was a special carriage, special carriage, for…...for….. Alice? Alice? Are you there? Are you there?’
But the line had gone dead. I sat back in my seat. I was seething, seething. I noticed the taxi driver looking at me in his rear-view mirror.
‘Couldn’t help but hearing what you said just now, said just now,’ said the taxi driver, ‘because I get that too, I get that too.’
‘Get what too, get what too?’ I asked him.
‘Saying things twice, saying things twice,’ said the taxi driver.
‘But when I got in your cab, when I got in your cab, and you asked me where to, asked me where to, you only said it once, only said it once,’ I said.
‘That’s because I was fighting against it, fighting against it,’ said the taxi driver. ‘But why should I do that, why should I do that? I mean, I mean, just because we’re in a minority, just because we’re in a minority. But we’re just as good as what they are, just as good as what they are? Ain’t that right, guv, ain’t that right, guv? But they look down on us, look down on us, just because they say things only once, say things only once. Well it ain’t right, guv, it ain’t right!’
‘By Gad you’re right, by Gad you’re right!’ I said. ‘Why should we be second-class citizens, second-class citizens, just because we say things twice, say things twice? On the contrary, on the contrary, we should be proud of what we are, proud of what we are! We should hold our heads high, hold our heads high, look them in the eye, look them in the eye, and loudly proclaim, loudly proclaim: “Yes, we may say things twice, say things twice! Yes, you may look down on us, look down on us, because you only say things once, only say things once! But we are what we are, are what we are! So get used to it, chum, get used to it, chum!”’
‘Get used to it, chum, get used to it, chum!’ echoed the taxi driver.
‘And we should boycott, boycott, segregated carriages on trains, segregated carriages on trains, for people who say things twice, people who say things twice!’ I continued in full flow.
‘Boycott, boycott!’ said the taxi driver.
‘Justice I say, justice I say, for all people, all people, whoever they are, whoever they are, wherever they are, wherever they are, whether they say things once, say things once, or whether they say things twice, say things twice, for we are all equal, all equal, indivisible, indivisible, and free, free!’ I exclaimed.
‘Hallelujah, hallelujah!’ proclaimed the taxi driver.
I lay back in my seat. I felt exhausted and at the same time exhilarated, like there was a fire inside me, a fire inside me! And I felt the motion of the taxi carrying me forward and onward to a bold new future in which people are judged not by the way they speak, whether they say things once or whether they say things twice, but by what is inside their hearts when they say it.
THE END THE END