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[audio:https://killauthor.com/audio/issuethirteen/alexander_allison.mp3|titles=Seat Reserved|artists=Alexander J. Allison]

Male, mid-forties. Balding, impotent. Referred to in some circles as ‘Mr. Consternation’/familiarly known only as ‘Darling.’ Owner of three suits, one hoodie [present of Christmas 2008 – unworn], one summer jacket, one dinner jacket, two waistcoats, fourteen ties, etc. Emotions range mostly from ‘unhappy’ through to a high of ‘content’; can be caught seemingly ‘visibly depressed’ on chance occasion; smiles awkwardly under the eye of senior management. Presently seated in Coach C, business class, London to York. Occupies self with mid-90s Pop Rock, delivered through headphones connected to branded, engraved [~£180] MP3 player (a birthday present from estranged, 5.5/10 [drunk 7] concubine) [simulating the bizarre effect of making his varicose-streaked-ears seem to ‘flower’] and poker simulation on handheld gaming device [~£150 new], whilst wearing a serious facial expression. Consciously affirms choice to feign upmost concentration on a sustained interest in handheld gaming device [lightly scratched on lid from a fumbling incident ~5 weeks prior to present journey]. Allows mind to flicker onto pressing considerations of what Jessica Alba’s vagina is presently occupied by; maintain serious facial expression.

Slight feeling of weariness washes up from inside-thighs to pelvis to lower back, causing a harsh forward inclined slouch over polyethene-compound compact table-top. The word ‘satisfied’ buzzes through his head at a high frequency. The handheld device is not muted, and other passengers exchange glances of sincere disapproval at the mechanical tweets, which are generated through each stage of each hand. The extent of his awareness over both the tweets and stares is unclear. Loosens tie with jerk-like motions, vaguely directed towards his slightly stubbled, clearly rashed top three layers of neck folds.

A single bead of sweat works its way from the precipice of his left temple (just where the hairline begins to fade out), flatly against the swollen dermic layer of his face, occasionally catching on hair ends and dead cells to simulate something akin to the determinism of a pinball machine. These physical evidences of his (self-perceived) complex emotional anxieties are, in part, a product of the seriousness with which the man has always taken losing. Were the man to word associate from initial terms including ‘loser’, ‘loss’, ‘failure’ and ‘pathetic’, it seems likely that first-person pronouns would be the dominant resultant product. When pitted against mere machine he, the representative for all humanity, has a categorical moral responsibility to succeed. The word ‘conspiracy’ buzzes through his head at a high frequency.

Contrary to present outward appearances, the man self-identifies his capacity for imagination as one of his most significant redemptive traits. During the course of the present journey, he has already characterised his fellow passengers as an obscure identity parade: seated adjacent is a lady, internationally noted for her semi-professional level talent in breast based weightlifting. Behind him sit a retired taxidermist and Kent County’s junior river-dancer of the year, 1984. Seated opposite are an illegitimate descendent of Lord Leighton and a gentleman unknowingly carrying a chestnut-shaped tumour in his left lung; etc.

A red light in the top right hand corner of the gaming device indicates a stuttering of power resources. Midway through the simulation ‘high-stake’ tournament, the man shuts the handheld gaming device, replaces it in his [80% leather, 20% polystyrene] satchel and sits with hands in his lap, fingers steepled in a self-important manner, as he continues thundering through thecountrythecountrythecountry.