‘Taking people’s emotional baggage on board is nerve-rackingly unpredictable,’ says handler Vic Smythe. ‘That’s why this strike is justified. Although a lot of us are terrified of the outcome. Terrified I tell you!’
Mr Smythe has been in the job five years. He explains: ‘This is a job that requires you to be genuinely sensitive to people, not like nursing, social work or being minister for disabled people. A new Samsonite his ‘n hers means a honeymoon, and your heart just melts.’
‘The journey started pleasantly enough’, said Darren. ‘People were reading copies of Librarian Monthly or working on spreadsheets. I hadn’t even realised I was in the Quiet Coach until it all kicked off.’
‘It wasn’t even much of a call, just my wife phoning to ask what I wanted for my tea. When I looked up, all these people had risen from their seats. Some were wearing bandanas, and an accountant from Preston was stripping to the waist and smearing camouflage paint on his cheeks. They didn’t make a sound, just used hand signals like in films.’
A high level police enquiry has noted that most crimes these days seem to be committed whenever a haunting musical accompaniment is playing in the background, leading them to warn the public to be vigilant whenever they hear long, low bass notes or the sound of multiple staccato string instruments in their daily lives.
Military chiefs are warning that a reduction in the army’s budget means that more British soldiers are now dying in foreign conflicts without the benefit of slow motion and haunting ethnic music playing over the scene.