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On Another Planet

Sam Mackay lived in a 1970s estate of boxy white houses. Many of them had by now been extended and looked like bigger white boxes. Every night the streets were crammed with large executive cars, white vans and pick-ups. The buses no longer ran through the estate (and would be lucky to squeeze through if they tried) and virtually everyone who lived there drove to work. In the mornings Sam had a steep uphill walk to the bus shelter on the main road.

Jim Reynolds worked alongside Sam in the office. He often asked Sam why he didn’t learn to drive, and buy a decent second-hand car. Then, Sam would sneer at his dapper colleague’s yellow Pringle jersey and blazer and snort, ‘Because I don’t want tae be like you.’ Then he would pause for a moment before adding, ‘Every morning the bus seems to take longer, all because of big ugly cars with one big ugly driver in them. I think we can do with one less on the road.’

One wild, January morning, as Sam battled his way to the main road through driving rain, a white Transit ploughed through a rainwater-filled pothole, flinging a shower of dirty water over him. When the van paused at the junction, Sam ran to the driver’s window and banged on it. The driver didn’t wind it down; he just stuck two fingers up at Sam and drove off into a gap in the traffic. Sam turned, just in time to see his bus speeding past.

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iScot Magazine November 2017