I’m on the London Underground. It’s a bit stuffy. The air is friction electricity, rush and surge. The carriage is about half full, I’d say, not more. An assortment of commuters sway with the movement of the train. Screeches and clattering echo in the dark tunnels but the passengers don’t hear. Or if they do, their faces give nothing away.
Strange faces: slack and free of expression. I wonder: who are these people? I look at each one and classify them with a form of mental taxonomy but my only tools are what my mind has used before. I put my memories to their faces, paint personalities, jobs, dreams on to the canvas of their skin but find the pictures to be mine, not theirs.
I have to admit, I have nothing but the thoughts I’ve thought before. I’ve killed these slack faced people even before they’ve uttered a word or made a movement or facial expression. I’ve fitted them up, put them in boxes, labelled them with stereotypes: colours, creeds, sexes, the way they wear their clothes, their hair. Every single stranger judged. The decision as to their identity, conceived and irrevocably made so they become fabricants wearing the fictions I have projected on to the facade of my contrived world.
I wonder if they killed the slack faced me they saw? Or perhaps they did something entirely different?
© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015