The man across the aisle was trying to read my paper. This is a heinous violation of train protocol and I was having none of it. I did what any sane person would have done, holding the paper in all sorts of exiting positions to make it impossible for him to read.
He squirmed, he leaned, he craned, he writhed. Uriah Heep would have been hard pressed to writhe with such intensity and vigour*. It was a genuine feast for the eye and I was grudgingly pleased. At this rate my antagonist would go home with a cricked neck, severe eyestrain and a pounding migraine.
In order to preempt any accusations of being a polyktonous misanthrope let me say this. If he had politely asked if he could have the paper when I was finished I would have handed it over with the geniality of a true gentleman.
His furtive squirming was driving me mad. It would have been nice to rely on Natural Justice showing itself, as demonstrated in my last post, but Natural Justice is an unreliable beast. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. In such moments it is important to stay calm, which is exactly what I did. I breathed slowly and deeply, then demonstrated unparalleled cold-as-lager brain work.
For a split second my antagonist was looking out the window in the opposite direction. With a subtlest of movements I slid the paper onto the table to my right (i.e. as far away from him as possible). What followed was priceless.
"Can I have it?", he blurted out, then scrambled over legs and bags to the table, snatched the paper and then stumbled back to his seat. The train was crowded, his outburst was in full public view.
I shared a precious moment of smug and tasty camaraderie with the other five commuters in my seating area. Justice may not have been actually served, but the entertainment value was tremendous.
* I have made reference to Uriah Heep in an earlier post (i.e. if you are moaning about repeated analogies then I apologise), and also touched on this incident another time, but I can't remember when that was and I wanted to do it justice.