Wandered down the platform and happened upon a vending machine. The protective steel door had been left open, either by a refiller person or some other.
After casting a glance each way, there was no other option than to take it for all it was worth. I really mean it, there was no other choice.
With pockets and underpants stuffed full of Skittles, Cherry Ripes, Snickers Mars Bars and the like, I boarded the newly arrived train.
Sat down opposite me was a chap quite wired in appearance. Head twitched about like a hen’s. This man opened a hard-shelled case and produced a one-litre carton of unflavoured milk. Holding it up he said,
“Mmmm, milk. Natural, refreshing; milk,” in a voice unecessarily loud for the compartment. He opened it and drank enthusasitically, leaving driblet-streams at the corners of his mouth.
He held it out again, this time stretched in my direction, grinning cheesily and twitching eyebrows vertically in ‘?‘ gesture. All the while those little milk-riverbeds on his chin like hinges on a wooden ventriloquists’ puppet’s mouth.
I leant forward and sniffed slightly. The milk registered as being off, and as much I said. The man’s grin dropped out. He struggled to his feet, groaning, slightly thrown by the train’s wobble, but also holding his gut as if he’d been hit with a shotgun. A bit over the top really. I’d accidentally ingested sour milk plenty of times and the effect was more of a slow-bleed over the next 12-24 hrs.
Nevertheless, after what must have been only four or five steps out into the carriage passageway, the man began to hurl shamelessly. This I heard, in full Dolby Surround.
He leveled with me %100A; in the way that only the truly desperate can.
“You gotta help me buddy, you gotta help me!”, he lunged forward and feebly attempted to grab the collar of my trench coat. The puke-breath would have been over powering, had I not been wired on Skittles.
“Settle down there, chester.. Who put you up to this?”
His head bowed and while he said nothing, his eyes gave it away, tracking back to the milk carton on the floor.
“I needed the money! Half now, half later they said. All they gave me was this case, no instructions or nothing. All they said was push the product.” He belched, looking queasy for a moment. “I haven’t slept in a week. I been riding trains nonstop. I don’t even know what country I’m in anymore.”
At this I grappled his shoulders and shook him violently. “This is Australia you idiot. There’s only one country on this continent. The happiest continent on Earth.”
“Oh…”, his eyes downcast, looking thoroughly beat now.
I got up and left the compartment, disgusted and only least by the smell.
The Milk Mafia had entered the murky world of solids — one-to-one promotions.
Figures, homogenisation had taken quite a bad wrap lately.