Book 1, Chapter 1

Just book the fucking ticket.

The rest should take care of itself.


My moment came when I was taking an ultra-extended, double-lunch-break from my job.

No one will notice I'm gone. If they do they'll think I'm at a meeting...

I’m out of the skyprison and walking through the Supreme Court Gardens. I never come here; it’s too far away from work. My feet have aimlessly dragged me out here anyway - with eyes glazed over. In fact, I’m not even sure that these are the Supreme Court gardens...

Anyway. It’s a glorious day; there’s just the right amount of fluffy cloud in the sky, the grass is green, so too are the trees. The lake is blue. There are ducks. It’s all quite picturesque.

There is, however, a thorn sitting in amongst the roses, standing out like dogs balls, crapping on my oil painting.

A scruffy looking homeless lad on a park bench.

He’s just chillin', taking the air.

He’s got a big, fat backpack sitting beside him that looks like it’s had a hard life and is well and truly on the way out.

He’s too ragged to be a traveller, but not quite clapped-out enough to be homeless...

He’s an odd goldilocks between backpacking and hobo; like an intrepid destitute.

Which is he? I can’t cog it...

And it bugs me. I need to know.

I want to go and ask him, but I figure that in either case it’d be a little offensive.

Plus, he seems to be quietly at peace, and I don’t want to kill his vibe...

Then it hits me - right between the eyes - and makes my face scrunch up.

Not the smell...

A thought...

Again, I can’t cog it... Here’s me, in my ironed shirt and fancy pants and shiny shoes, and over there is Marco Polo's arsehole. And he’s having a better day than I am.

I’m bloody sure of it.

Just look at him... He's got two fifths of sweet-fuck-all, and I’m deadset certain that he’s enjoying himself, out here, in the sunshine, on his park bench, contemplating various duck oddities, more than I am, crunching numbers back at 'The Bad Place'...

Then it hits me again, like a fucking freight train: I’d swap places with the guy.

I’d do it.

I’d do it right now; He can go back to 'The Dream Job', and I’ll hang out here and watch the ducks...


I pass the second half of the double-lunch-break on the park bench over from Marco. I've been trying to do what he does... Pretty simple.

My hobo-cum-traveller decides to lie down and take an afternoon kip...

So yeah, he’s probably a hobo... And I’m not sure I can take the copycat routine that far...

But it doesn’t matter. The damage is done. The seed is planted.

I walk back to the chain-gang with a sense of purpose, and do something entirely irrational.

Ticket: booked.

Booked for an insane length of time into the future, but it's booked. Done.


Blink.

The 'insane length of time into the future' is now.

It went that fast.

I blinked, I nearly missed it...

I've taken enough jenga pieces out of the tower of my life to bring the whole fucking thing crashing down. A messy pile.

But now I can start a new game...

In the blink of an eye the girlfriend got dumped, the job got quit, the rent got canned, the car got cubed, freshly obsolete stuff got sold in a fire-sale, mildly sentimental stuff got dumped at my parent's place, a bag was packed, the bank was informed, drinks were drunk and that was it.


Waiting in line to board the plane, the mad head-rush of excitement from the last few days washes off, and all that's left is the thought of how easy that was.

Seriously, a cakewalk. It all just dissolved.

Dissolved...

Fuck...

I’ve just dissolved my life...

Shit...

Shit!

This is a mistake.

Fuck. This is a massive mistake!

What am I doing??!

As I completely shit my pants, the lovely air hostess with the big smile and overly red lipstick takes my ticket and welcomes me aboard.

I must look like I'm fucking insane...

But it’s all too late to undo...

Even after the duck pondering it was already too late; there was no going back.

The whole thing has dragged me along by my bootstraps to seat 33A.

Buckle your seatbelts...

We’re fucking off.

Oblivious | Luke Gelmi