– You can’t smoke here mate, you’ll have to move.


(Move where? Move around? Do you want me to dance for you big boy? Is that what you’d like?)

–          Yes mate, this is ‘no-smoking’, you’ll have to move to the smoking area.


(Ah, I now I see to the exact spot to which your pudgy little fingers are now pointing. Are you sure you mean that spot? The spot that is identical to this very spot in every way shape and form, a mirror image of the place where I am currently standing?)

–          You’ll have to stand over there. There’s no smoking here.

Ah, there?

(You have mentioned it once or twice, however having failed to provide any justifications for your instructions, I see no benefit to myself, nor to anyone else why I should be forced to transfer from this delightfully sunlit spot, to that dark and dank wall)

–          Yes, mate <sigh> there.

Is it a special place?

(It doesn’t look particularly special and besides it is miles away; it would take me what, ten whole strides to reach that place, by which time my little ciggie would be almost finished, I would be forced to light another just to make the journey worthwhile, and surely that would be to the detriment of my health.)

–          It’s the designated smoking area.

Ah, does it have a special sign?

(Does it have a “do not feed the animals sign” is it a place where us criminals can be corralled and then put on display like lepers in a freak show travelling circus? Will people pass by and throw tomatoes and shake their heads and gaze in disgusted amazement whilst shielding the eyes of their children?)

–          <Getting agitated> It is clearly marked, yes.

Oh I see that sign there. <pointing>

(Does that sign indicate the beginning or the end of the designated smoking arena? Or do I have to stand exactly on that spot in front of it. What are the boundaries we are talking about here are they flexible? If someone joins me at the designated smoking spot will I need to give them a piggy back to facilitate their nasty habit? What affect does the wind have, what if the breeze were travelling in this direction, thus taking the cancerous fumes away from that place and leading them to this spot here, would I be expected to compensate for the atmospheric and weather conditions? Should I exhale in a particular direction? What if a hundred people all wanted a fag at the same time, and I found myself at the periphery of that gathering, would I not be stood right here?)

–          I’m sorry mate, I’m not going to ask you again. <takes deep, chest expanding breath>

Ok, I get you.

(I hoped you weren’t going to ask me again as this conversation was getting a little boring and perhaps we can move onto more fulfilling things now we’ve broken the ice. And may I say how fabulous your lungs work, the inflation of that chest to make your entire upper body appear like a giant capital D is quite intimidating, and puts my weakly tar ridden organs to shame. And the very stylish and flattering ‘Hi-visibility’ vest you are wearing does lend a magnificent aura of authority to your words. I especially like the way it stretches across your breasts like an overinflated neon balloon preparing to burst, whilst simultaneously allowing you the flexibility to poke your stomach out of the bottom, giving us a cheeky peak at your belly button through your un-tucked shirt like the hairy unblinking eye of Horus.)

Shall I go now? I’ve almost finished, it would seem like a wasted journey.

–          <silent stare>

Ah right you are.

(But you know I quite like it here, just outside the gentleman’s toilets, I find the smell of stale urine so invigorating, don’t you? It’s like a little taste of history, the stories of so many rugby fans joining each other for a half time bladder release and a quick word or two on the performance of the referee. Relieving all those overworked prostates. Rugby fans from all walks of life; all class divisions forgotten as they join each other shoulder to shoulder decanting their worries and their pints of overpriced watery lager into the dank and slimy trough before them. It smells like these toilets haven’t been cleaned since the Crimean war, and if it wasn’t for the brightly coloured rugby shirts entering and leaving I would believe for a second that I had indeed travelled back in time to a place where human rights hadn’t been invented yet and heavily armed, under educated soldiers in brightly coloured tunics would patrol the castle grounds looking for undesirables to hassle just for fun.)

–          <Impatient silent stare, shifting of weight from one foot to the other>

It does smell a bit around here, don’t you think?

(Or do you think that the clouds of noxious gasses emitted by this cancer stick smell like Satan’s farts and are thus spoiling the general atmosphere and ambiance of this delightful location?)

–          Look mate I don’t make the rules.

I know, you’re just doing your job

(Perhaps you should stand up for yourself though, take control of your life, you don’t need to be doing this, for there are far more important issues for a man of your size and qualities to be dealing with. Why don’t you get on your walky-talky to the boss and say, “No, I will leave the poor unhealthy coughing and hacking smokers alone and try to tackle some of the bigger issues.” How about anti-social behaviour, why don’t you go into that stand there and talk to all those big shaven headed guys that are swearing and carrying on about violence, chanting aggressive songs towards the opposition players/fans and referee, those chaps that have been drinking since Christmas, the ones that could turn dangerously aggressive at the drop of a hat? Why don’t you go and puff your chest up in front of them)

–          <Impatient sigh, clenching of fingers into fists>

No worries mate I’ve finished it now.

(However as a parting shot, you do realise that we, that is you and I, and everyone else on this planet are nothing but an infinitesimal pin prick in the arse of the Universe, above us is a practical infinity of space.  On a good day, you can see Andromeda with the naked eye which is 2.5 million light years away, and in fact if someone out there in Andromeda was looking at earth through a telescope they’d wouldn’t be seeing us they would be seeing our distant relative homo-habilis trying to keep himself warm whilst battling with some lumbering prehistoric animal. Do you know that the outer reaches of space, the edges of the visible universe, are about 45 million light years away; and really this planet we call our home is so infinitesimally small that statistically speaking it practically doesn’t exist in the grand scheme of things. We are less than a microscopic pixel in the picture that is everything, and my moving a mere 10 feet away from this point is not only tantamount to standing still, it is almost the equivalent of having never existed)

–          Well don’t do it again

Ok, no problem. Are there any ashtrays over there?

–          Nar, just chuck it on the ground

Oh, ok really, makes you think though doesn’t it?

–          What does?

Nothing, don’t worry. Have a good day.

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