The fortnightly column that puts words in your mouth. This week:
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The Independent Culture
Seventeen stops to go on London's snail-paced Northern line - time enough to grow a beard and write your memoirs, and for company some jilted John complaining about how the bitch treated him like a dog and left him for some snake-hipped monkey man, the cow. Even brought him with her when she came for her things, all dolled up like a show pony with Mr Bee's Knees in his penguin suit grinning like the cat that got the canary.

Thought he'd go ape, she did, but he wasn't going to let her bug him into going cuckoo in front of the stud, not that he was chicken. Soon as she'd finished rabbiting on about some bullshit and had left, he was on the dog and bone to his mate and making a beeline for the pub.

Drank like a fish until closing; got pissed as a newt on snakebite. Completely rat-arsed, he was. Told this mate of his about the skunk who'd gone and pinched his bird; mate said he knew a gorilla who would croak him for a monkey, maybe less.

We'd only gone five stops and he was just hitting his stride. There were no flies on him, he'd play a cat-and-mouse game, not mope around like some pussy-whipped worm. Icing the sow wasn't worth a pony, let alone a monkey. Thought she was the cat's whiskers, but she was just mutton dressed as lamb, foxy on a good day but a bit of a one-trick pony in the sack. Could get really crabby, too - a real shrew.

Now the train was stuck in the station, not moving; maybe they were putting on fresh horses. Used to cling to me like a limpet, he said, now she says I'm a pig and runs off with the turkey. Snake in the grass, that one; used to see him about, bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing, they say.

Three more stops; the beard's coming along nicely. Queer fish, women, he says. Stubborn as mules. Still, water off a duck's back to me. Take more than her to drive me to the bughouse. But what about those sharks that make off with another cat's chick, what do you think of them, he asks. Animals, I say. Worse than.

Louis Palabrota