Live to Work, Work to Live

by Steve Stilson


The air was filled with harsh words as the two inebriated friends wrestled with the meaning of life..

"I`m not saying the guy is God, he just plays a good game of football!"

"Bollocks! Not ten minutes ago, you said.. and I repeat, you said he was God."

"I didn`t! I said he was good."

"Don`t argue with me, you said God!"

"Fuck off!" and the taller of the two friends smacked the smaller in the mouth.

"Cunt! What did ya do that for?"

"You`ve been asking for it for weeks. Every time we have a beer, we always end up arguing about trivialities. We`re supposed to be best mates, and all ya wanna do is argue. Well fuck that for a lark. I`m off home!"

The tall man got his coat and walked to the door.

"And ya can forget about our Thursday night drinking sessions in future. I`m fed up of subbing ya money just so ya can get pissed and shout your pathetic mouth off!"

And with that, the tall man opened the door and walked out into the cool night air. He slammed the door behind him, and walked up the street a few yards.

He was shaking. He fumbled in his pocket for the packet of fags he knew was in there.

Lighting the cigarette, he leaned against the graffiti splattered wall and took a long drag.

- Fuck, he thought to himself.

- I can`t believe that I`ve just smacked my best mate. I know he had it coming but the guy`s got some serious family trouble. I think it would drive me spare with a wife like that, and those god awful kids!

He turned in the direction of his friends terraced house, just to see if he had come out to look for him. Nobody there at all.

"Shit!" He shouted, "The twat doesn`t even come out and try to apologise. Well fuck him. I don`t need any of the motherfuckers!"

Shoving his hands deeply into his coat pockets, he slowly made his way towards the main road, the cigarette dangling precariously from his lips. He tried to flag down a taxi on the main drag, but it was 1:30 in the morning, and none of them would stop in this area.

With increasing despondency, he trudged towards the canal towpath that led, in the most direct route, from where he was now to home. Even if it was a 16 mile walk, he had all night, and no-one was waiting up for him at home.

- It all started when I began working at that fucking place, he thought.

- I`d never have met that sponging cunt if I hadn`t have gone working there.

I suppose that my hate should be directed at work instead of him.

An idea of revenge started to form within his intoxicated mind.

- Yeah, I could get back at them all. That`ll teach the bastards to mess with me. And I could arrange it so that cheap motherfucker back there pays as well. I`d have to disappear for a while afterwards, but it would be well worth it. Who needs any of `em.

The night turned to morning as he trudged along the towpath, fanciful ideas of poignant revenge flashed through his mind as his feet moved robot fashion towards their destination.

At work the next day, he acted as normal, joking with the sad, no-life`s who had made him what he was today.

He even phoned up his friend and apologized.

"I`m sorry mate. I was out of order last night. I should never have let my temper take control of me like that."

"It`s alright. I was pissed as well, and shouldn`t have kept going on."

All the time he was talking on the phone, his plans of revenge circulated inside his head, and it made the blatant lying and sickening asslicking almost bearable.

When the phone call was finished, he went back to work and put his plan into action.

Slowly, through careful planning, and servile actions, he gained everyone`s trust.

He acted the part of 'One of the lads' and it served him well. He became privy to a wealth of information and gossip, and he made notes about all of them. He doubted if there was anybody else at work who knew the things he did. Sure, they all knew bits, but he collected it all and built up detailed dossiers on everybody.

After a few months, the stack of information was complete, and it was time to start part 2 of his plan.

The addresses had been easy to find, the least of his problems, but learning a whole new style of handwriting was beginning to get on his nerves. He had no option though, his flamboyant style was easily recognised, and he had to have total anonymity for this to succeed.

Within a couple of weeks, he had a style that was quite a distance from his own, and began part 2.

The letters were quite harmless at first, just hinting at the information to come at later dates. While nothing offensive was said in these first letters, the info was enough to make the reader paranoid. By the time everyone was receiving their 3rd and 4th letters, they were like frightened children, not knowing which way to turn, and seeing shadows at every street corner at night.

It became a major topic for everyone at work, everyone was getting the letters, so he had to pretend he was getting them as well. He acted worried, even though secretly, he rejoiced in the shit-scared looks on the faces around him.

He kept the writing up for nearly a year. By this time, the police had been called in, but to no avail. They had no leads, no suspects, no idea.

It was time for the final push..The one that he had planned would send them all over the edge. He had worked out a smart repartee in the letters, and had been suggesting things to them for months. The suggestions worked, he knew from experience, that the 'sheep' would do anything he said, in a vain effort to make the letters stop.

It was time for the big one...

Dear *****

Just me again. It`s time for the curtain call now my friend! You know there`s no more reasons to carry on your pathetic worthless life. There really is only one, final solution.

You have to do it, imagine the faces of your little one`s when they find out what kind of man you really were. If you asked them, they would tell you that you don`t deserve to live.

End it now, or better still, set a time! Give yourself one final thing to wait and plan for!

I think 14:00 is a good time! And what better place to do it than the railway that you know and love. It`s sort of symbolic, and people will remember you more for this action than anything else.

But where? you plead. You know in your heart that there is only one place!!

Go with it, my friend, go with it! But you need a date. How about tomorrow?

You know the place, tomorrow, 14:00! How poetic. How pathetic. How prophetic.

Yours finally,


And that was how the standard letter went. They were all more embellished, containing personal details to wrench the old heartstrings, but that was the general outline.

How many of the people would do what he said? He couldn`t be sure, although by now, most of them were off work suffering manic depression, and would probably follow his letters to the word.

Only one or two remained at work, keeping a skeleton service going, and these were the unlucky one`s. There would be no final, quick release for these unfortunate souls!

The day came, and it was glorious.

The sun shone down on the land, and everything seemed at peace with itself.

Tomorrow, all hell would break loose in the media, but for today, for the now, for the moment.. everything was good.

He started work at midday. He was the only driver in at that time, it had all been planned so well.

The service was severely cut, so the only train running at that time was the 12:55 Local stopping service. He set off out of the station, whistling a jaunty, up-beat tune.

He was relaxed, happy, relieved. He was EXCITED!

He reached his destination and changed ends. His watch read 13:38.

The journey back was just as uneventful as the journey there. Until he rounded THE corner. A tear formed in his eye at the sight before him, he was overjoyed, his emotions ripped their way out of his body, as he laughed and cried!

Laid before him, on the almost blind curve, were all the reasons he hated himself so much. They were too broken within themselves to truly realise what they were doing, but he knew that they were almost as happy as himself.

They were going to find release, and so was he.

The scene slowed down as he hit the first head. He savored the sound, like a watermelon bursting, and revelled in the crunch as the bones splintered beneath his steel wheels.

As the train passed over the others, to him it was like a celestial drum roll, increasing the further he went, reaching in a great crescendo that would signal the end, or the beginning.

The train was doing over seventy as it hit the platforms at the terminus station.

As it roared up towards the buffer stops, and a platform occupied by the remaining staff, he shouted out the window..

"Fuck you all! Fuck yo..."