Underground – Jubilee line west bound. London
I sit there exhausted when I notice what sounds like, hang on, yes it’s someone clicking his fingers. I look around the carriage and there stands a young man staring at his watch. Click his fingers snap, hand held just above his head. His watch bearing arm wrapped around the central pole. Click, is he mumbling? What is he saying? I read his lips. He’s counting 5,6,7, Click, and he repeats, this time counting a little louder. Click ‘Another one, 3,4,5,6,7 Click’. Other passengers have noticed and are staring at him. He pays no heed. He’s getting louder. Click ‘Another one, 3,4,5,6,7’ Click ‘Another one, 3,4,5,6,7’ and louder he gets, Click ‘Another, dead, 4,5,6,7’ Click. How does he click so loud? It’s just cutting though everything. Now he’s just waiting for the 8 second interval and clicking and shouting ‘DEAD’. I count in my head 2,3,4,5,6,7, he clicks and shouts ‘DEAD’. People are freaking out, looking at each other. I figure I better do something before someone plays the hero and jumps on an assumption and attacks this guy.
‘WHAT IS DYING?’ I shout from down the carriage. He stops and looks up from his wrist watch, stares right at me. And calm, words leaving his lips slowly, voice raised he states ‘A child dies, every 8 seconds’ I ask ‘WHY?’ he responds in the same Roman orator style. ‘Because they have no clean drinking water’. His face is wrought with sadness and pain, a sadness I’ve witnessed before. The look of someone who mourns. I’ve come too far to drop this now, ‘WHAT CAN I DO?’ he looked down and sighed. Then chin held high, looked around and bellowed ‘Appreciate the clean water you have, and waste it not’. The train stopped, he walked out leaving us all in silence. For a whole minute we all were frozen, when a snigger to my left of some teenagers broke into laughter. Slowly everyone returned to their kindles, phones and papers.
NOTE: I imagined this fictional event happening as I stared down the carriage on a train journey home, while listening to an audio book (No Impact Man), where he states the fact: ‘ a child dies every 8 seconds in the world, due to unclean drinking water’
If any artists out there would turn this into a comic strip, power to you. Even better if a drama group would turn this into some impromptu magic on the tube. Do it, and please film it.