An Object Lesson in Shirked Responsibility or, Missing the Point or, Bagelmouse Takes a Stand
January 14, 2007
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We open on a crowded train, towards the end of the morning rush hour. Our Narrator, Bagelmouse, is sitting in a middle seat of a set of six. To her right, a Woman. To her left, a Man. Opposite sits Litterbug, a woman in her late forties/early fifties, thinning hair henna red. She takes out a cartridge pen, removes the empty turquoise cartridge – a colour beloved of 14-year-old girls – and drops it on the floor. She then writes return notices on a stack of wrongly delivered mail and completes various other minor chores. Towards the end of the journey, she drops a coin on the floor and starts to hunt for it.
Woman: [points] It’s down there.
Litterbug: [picking up the coin] Oh, thanks, that’s great.
Man: Your cartridge is down there as well if you want to get that.
Man: Your cartridge. You dropped it on the floor earlier. I saw you do it.
Litterbug: [defensively] So? People drop things all the time.
Bagelmouse: That doesn’t mean you have to!
Man: You could put it in the bin.
Litterbug: [huffily] Fine, fine. [Picks up the spent cartridge.]
Bagelmouse: Do you want me to take it for you?
Litterbug: [even more huffily] I think I can manage.
Bagelmouse: [bites tongue to stop the remark 'Are you sure?' escaping]
Litterbug: [points to a discarded juice box] Do you want me to take this away as well? Do you?
Bagelmouse: [cannot stop herself dissolving into laughter]