Arrive very tired at Waterloo Station on homeward journey, pop into Ladies on concourse. When emerge, become aware of horrible sound, like crowd of people screaming from the Underground. First thought is that commuters are being butchered on the Underground by terrorists. As emerge onto concourse, screaming continues. Realise screaming is actually coming from further up concourse. Walk over concourse, towards where my train normally goes from, only as someone has killed themselves on track between Wimbledon and Surbiton, seething mass of commuters filling concourse awaiting delayed trains.
As progress up concourse, screaming reaches incredible level. Realise entire sound made by one solitary female, screaming unseen up above, on the walkway leading to Waterloo East, space lined with upmarket shops and cafes.
Despite the fact that commuters rock-solid toughies, something about a female screeching her head off like a Bean Sidhe at one’s station, is disturbing to commuter equilibrium. Also intriguing. Commuters curious as cats.
Exchange a glance with a mildly stupefied fellow commuter, sitting on a seat stuffing his face with a burger.
’Please help me, please help me! Someone please help me!’ screech female.
Wonder why female is screaming head off. Not much action from station staff, one solitary bloke in blue tabard approaches, I ask what is happening, he smiles and say he has no idea. Another bloke in a blue tabard, radio in hand, approaches the foot of the escalator up to the walkway, just in time to prevent Post-Traumatic Commuter from being nosey and shooting up the escalator.
Two stately Transport for London police appear and make a stately progress up the escalator.
At their arrival, female redoubles her screaming with heartrending pleas for people to help her. Now piercing every ear drum in vicinity.
A crowd of interested on lookers appear, including middle-class freedom fighters with camera phones ready to capture police brutality and put it on YouTube.
More stately policeman appear and troll up the escalator. Screaming intensifies to pitch at which glass shatters. Start to get worried about glass roof above concourse.
Screaming goes on for about 20 minutes. Several more policemen troll up escalator.
Finally, the one dozen or so of Transport for London’s finest manage to take control of screamer and bring her down the escalator, a cavalcade of policing not seen since the Pope’s last visit. Hear rumour that woman is drunk. Of course, might just be hacked off due to train cancellations. Know how she feels. Have very often felt like screaming myself.
When police deposit woman on concourse, they are immediately accosted by the freedom fighting commuters who rush up to them with camera phones poised high in the air. Police not impressed by freedom fighting commuters and insist on them handing over phone footage. Freedom fighters refuse point blank. Police argue point. Freedom fighters film police arguing point. Surreptitiously feed pigeon friends behind back of police.
Feeling strangely invigorated by traumatic incident, which pass time nicely until trains running again, take train home and reflect on amazing ability of middle class once more to back wrong horse.