Archive: A cabaret of grotesques

Flames of Hell

A little known addendum to Dante’s Inferno adds a tenth circle of Hell: Appalling Table Manners

Hell is other people, in a Wetherspoon’s at Victoria station, while hamstrung by an enormous backpack.

Across from me, a woman stares blankly into the middle distance, occasionally starting at the world as if she had forgotten it was there. With her is a boy I can only assume is her son, although she pays him no mind. He is grabbing grubby fistfuls of spaghetti and propelling them towards his mouth, with limited success. Once in a while he surveys his T-shirt, to see if enough has accumulated to make a mouthful.

On the next table over is a heavily made-up, harshly blonde woman, in Russian-accented histrionics. Sounds like someone’s stood her up. You say you here at 12, why now you say 5? Is no respect! What I do now, you make fool out of me!

The boy finishes his meal and the mother notices him for the first time. “Wipe your mouth and let’s go love”, she says. The boy obediently drags his sleeve across his face, and with that they leave. Blondie starts sobbing into her cappuccino 

Can’t run, can’t hide. Just another few hours…

From here on August 27th 2009.

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