The BR Gatekeeper

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The air was as hot and sticky as I felt, rushing to get to the station on time. People chattering all around the building, hustling, rushing to get to their destination, it unnerved me for some reason.
Finally I reached the front of the long queue in the line for tickets with minutes to spare to catch the train, where I was confronted by a woman who actually looked like a witch with her long chin and long very dark hair. “One child ticket and a platform ticket please.” I asked politely. “A platform ticket?” she enquired, looking at me over the top of her thick black framed spectacles. “Yes, I wish to see my son on to the train.” I explained… wondering why I even needed to “Oh, we don’t do platform tickets.” She replied with a wave of her hand as she typed in the ticket required for my son’s journey. I thought this was strange but being in a hurry and not being an avid public transport user, I took it that the wicked witch of the west was telling the truth. I got to the barrier where the gatekeeper was protecting his gate. As you’d expect I was asked for a ticket to get on the platform. This guy was astounded? He just didn’t believe that I was told they don’t sell them them, so who was the liar, me it seemed. With a more than my jobs worth face, he let me through the barrier.

A few weeks went by with similar things happening then…

I was rushing like a mad woman trying to park the car in the short stay car park. (When there are only 8 spaces it is always a challenge.) At the counter I asked the all important question and was informed by a friendly cheerful looking man. “You don’t need a ticket for the platform, and anyway you are a regular.” He chuckled; as I wondered if he had been smoking something other than Marlboro. “Yes but last time they asked to see my ticket,” I replied pointing an offending finger to the gates. “Oh… never mind that just go to Mavis and tell her Bob said its ok.” He advised, like it was the simplest thing in the world and I was making a big deal of it. So not wanting to waste another 5mins arguing with him about it, and so missing the train, I did as he said. Of course Mavis looked baffled as I nodded to Bob telling her what he said, as time ticked away. .”Oh okay then… Hmm, you’d better come back through this gate or they won’t let you out.” She sighed. Finally the gatekeeper of trust let me through just as we saw the train pulling way from the platform. We had to wait for 20mins for the next one. As you can guess on the way back Mavis didn’t remember me at first and we had the whole conversation again.

Still more confrontations along the way until…

I’d arrived early to prevent that whole panic thing that I had adopted lately! There were police swarming everywhere and a bunch of youths glaring at the police seemingly being questioned, it wasn’t the best of places to be. I was determined that I would get a platform ticket; now that I knew that they certainly did sell them and the gate keepers obviously preferred them. I was stunned however when I reached the front of the queue because there before me was the wicked witch of the west dressed up as a man! It was uncanny, he had very long, jet black hair, and he looked very similar to her, I thought if I looked hard enough I might see a black cat any second. Anyway he said nothing about the strangeness of wanting platform ticket, until he asked for the money – and he said, “Well that’s £200.00 for the platform ticket please.” As he cackled into the microphone. “ha-ha gold plated?” I laughed as I passed him the correct money. HA! At least I had a ticket I thought pleased with myself finally.

On arriving at the barrier, there was a little guy who was standing having a laugh and a joke with all of the ladies. I was about to walk through, waving my ticket at him and he stood in front of me and took my hand to see the ticket. “Wait, that’s not a train ticket!?” He stood looking at it for a minute or so. “No it’s a platform ticket.” I said in astonishment. “Ah is it – I see, that’s a shame he said I thought you were going somewhere nice,” scratching his head. I grinned at him weakly speechless as I walked through.

Do you get it? Why so much hassle just to get a ticket. British Rail, they would be the first ones to prosecute me if I didn’t have a ticket but I can’t seem to beg them for one.

I don’t get it!