by Ruida Ding
Four past twelve. ‘Forty-two seconds left to make it to the Exam
Schools’; I took in a last eyeful of the resplendent Oxonian
architecture and let out a deep long sigh, ‘My sincerest gratitude,
dearest punctual lecturer.’ A swarm of students made the beeline for the
Bodleian transport booths and I swiftly buzzed along. Bearing witness to
a seemingly incessant stream of farewells, my Bod card was then
promptly pressed (or, more accurately, slammed) onto the reader, for an
equally uncomfortable and contrived contact. Starkly juxtaposed with the
sparks of technological modernity in the transport centre, antiqued
paintings sat snugly on-top marbled walls, evidently unrepresentative of
this frantic predicament I have found myself in.
Beep. Blink. Nope. Nada. That vexing red light. That bloody red light. A
metallic thud reverberated through the facility, resonating with my
frustration. Another thud, this time an intimate contact of my foot with
the now firmly shut booth door.
Though long accustomed to such streaks of bad luck, I found the
slight misfortune rather peculiar. Did the Bodleian Transport System
breakdown? Were there some cryptic Terms & Conditions I had hastily given consent to? No way… Those were outlawed way back in 3218…
Five past twelve. Et tu, BTS? I would have already arrived by now!
No more time to pause and ponder: clock’s ticking, time’s slipping. And
then there is light. All-engulfing light.
Destination: Extermination. We have arrived.