CREATIVE: Using any one of Faulkner’s 15 character voices as a guide, create a paragraph in the voice of a character totally different to yourself. Think about people you might have overheard on the train or bus or someone you might have seen randomly on a street corner. Invent their life, their consciousness in a paragraph. Who knows it might become the start of a larger work!
Note: This is insipired from an occurrence that happened on a Wednesday morning on my way into university.
“Tickets! Checking tickets. Get your Opal and concession cards ready, please!”
The transit officer belched from the back of the carriage, with much more authority than necessary. You’re not a cop mate, relax. The girl in front of me reacted instantaneously; Opal with according concession card at the ready. Goody-goody, that one is. People’s sleep are disrupted as they rummage through wallets, fiddle with their head phones, have mini panic attacks in fear of the $200 fine they’ll receive if they can’t produce this paramount piece of plastic that proves you paid your $4.50 fare.
“Hey mate, can I see your Opal card?” There were two officers who stood over me, utilising their superior standing position over the seated passengers as a power trip. One stood behind, silent, but I feel he washarsh.
“Sorry, I don’t have it. I lost my wallet last night and it was in there.”
“What’s your name?”
“Alex. Alex Debney.”
“You know its a crime to provide a false identity.”
“That’s my name.”
“Any proof of identification?”
“Nah mate, I told you, I lost my wallet.”
The officer was stumped. He paused, then continued to read the laws and regulations regarding Opal cards.
“What station are you getting off at?”
“Alright, we’ll meet you at Granville and discuss this further.”
They left the carriage. I called dad.
“Hey Cameron, why are you bloody calling me this early? What have you bloody done now?”
“Didn’t tap on this morning for the train, so didn’t give ‘em my Opal card. They said they’re going to fine me at Granville.”
“You can’t afford any more fines! You can’t get involved with the jail anymore, mate! Anything else, you’re out. Can’t take it anymore, mate. I’m sick of this.”
His voice was becoming raised and I could see the girl in front of me trying to turn to listen. Bloody goody-goody. Mind your own damn business.
Over the speaker, I could hear the stops being listed: Next station Fairfield, then Yennora, Guildford, Merrylands, Granville…
They can’t take me back to jail. It’s a fine, but I can’t afford the fine. With my record, they’d probably think it’s easier just to shove me away. Why couldn’t they let a poor bloke go? He lost his wallet, probably had to cancel his cards, apply for a new license, risk identify theft and a potential shopping spree from whoever found his cards, draining his bank account. Poor bloke and they couldn’t let him off for not having his Opal card? Without which how is he going to get to work? No paper tickets. Doesn’t have a license to drive. I thought it was a pretty damn good lie, to be honest.
I could see the transit officers in the carriage after us through the windows. As the doors opened on Fairfield station, the officers didn’t take notice. Their minds were on fining the next poor bloke. I quickly got up, and just before the doors closed, bolted through.
What am I going to do in bloody Fairfield?