What The Hell ...

Been reflecting on my NYE catastrophe and an idea came to me. Often in life, you glimpse events and occurrences that never get explained. So, I’ve decided that when they happens to me from now on, I’m going to post them here and ask you all to join me in coming up with explanations. It’s a game of sorts, I guess, and an intellectual exercise for writers and story makers. Feel free to add your own events/occurrences as well, and we can exchange ideas.

The event I’m going to start with happened on NYE. It’s not particularly startling but I’m still bugged by it.

On the final leg of our epic train trip home there was a young guy sitting in our carriage. He was trash talking with four or five other young people, teasing them about their religion and and asking if God would forgive them for drinking on NYE. At first I though they were friends, and travelling together but the others got off and left him alone.

He became quite agitated after they’d gone (because, I think, being alone was an issue for him). He got off a few stops later. As he was waiting for the train to stop, he began to unbutton his white shirt. I noticed and wondered what he was doing. He was bare-chested underneath and it wasn’t especially hot in fact it was cooling off quickly.

When the doors opened he leapt out of the train and bolted down the station. When the train started again, we caught up to him. He was heading into the darkened car park and had taken his shirt off altogether and balled it up in his hand. It was after midnight, as I said, not especially warm, and no one was meeting him.

What the hell was he doing? Tell me what you think.


  • Ross H

    His dealer was having a NYE special and he didn’t want to miss out.

  • Marianne

    he was certainly agitated enough to be either speeding or strung out. but why take his shirt off?

  • Julie Gormly

    Yes, I’m thinking strung out too, or possibly mixing meds and alcohol and probably feeling the shirt was too constricting. The religion think is weird though, not knowing what led up to it. Unless the kids were Moslem, what’s God got to do with drinking on NYE, or at any time? NYE’s not exactly a religious event. However, looking as a jumping off point for a story, baring the chest may be a prelude to battle or other confrontation; issue with alcohol and religion may have ceremonial connotations. Mix those two in a modern day setting with the need to make a possibly final connection with other young people might indicate someone on a quest or mission ending in a fight to the death…

  • Cary Lenehan

    I am more generous.

    He was struggling with the superficiality of consumerism and manufactured and socially prompted ‘circuses’ as opposed to the way our ‘official’ religion looked at material things. This led to his critiquing the others.

    The agitation at his ‘aloneness’ stemmed from his angst. ‘No man is an island entire of himself’ and he lacked the reinforcement of his tribal situation and friends whom he had lost earlier in the night.

    When he left he realised even more that he was also disconnected from ‘the real’ – held apart by his own materialism and so he wished to feel the air on his body as a token of his oneness with the planet. The chill (chill? where you live?) only enhanced the experience by being outside the acceptable coccoon of artifical comfort that we surround ourselves with.

  • Marianne

    Julie, I like the dark convoluted thinking here. Cary, I can see you sociological roots. I’m half way. I think he was speeding and his discomfort at being left alone on the train got him so agitated he had a panic reaction. The group he was talking to were very much Christian types.

  • Cels

    Just cause I’m still in the silly season spirit;

    He was running to find a nice quiet place to change into his superhero outfit, everyone knows NYE is usually high on the crime front and he wanted to do his bit and was way behind schedule thanks to the trains being so crowded and running late (he already had the shirt off to buy some time). Since he comes from another planet he was confronting the others about their religious convictions so he had something to report back to the powers that be (Mork style) and let’s face it if he was strung out and tripping this could even be the truth :P

    Captain insaneo out!

  • He was running to a covered place to change into his werewold self. Took his shirt off so he didn’t shred it.

    That or he saw himself in the reflection of the train windows and didn’t like what he saw. He was throwing a Jersey Shore style hissy fit. Running home to cry into his pillow. *hope the mascara didn’t run*


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 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

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