After the puppetry, we sat in the train on Friday night at Flinders Street, waiting for the 10:12pm departure (for Sandringham — not my usual line — long story), munching on the banana cake and sipping our hot chocolates from the concourse snack purveyor. Both were, frankly, much better than I expected them to be, and just what was called for on a dark cold night.
A bloke got on with his bicycle, and lifted it to shove the front wheel into the gap behind the door railing. It nudged the intercom alarm button, and the light around the button started silently flashing. Unaware, he sat down.
We watched. Nothing happened. No squads of security personnel, no dramatic entrance of police.
(Tangent: A mate of mine once worked at a Timezone arcade, clearing money out of the video game machines. One day the boss got him to work in an office upstairs in a cash booth, counting money. He saw a button underneath the desk and wondered what it did. He was curious and pressed it. Ten minutes later his boss came in and asked if he pressed the button. “Yes, why?” “Because five police just came in with their guns drawn.”)
Nobody came. Not even a curious Connex employee poking his head round the door. Maybe the driver was having a smoko or something.
10:12 rolled around. Ding. Announcement. Beep-beep-beep. Doors close, we were off, the light still flashing.
Halfway through the tunnel out towards Richmond, a voice came from the intercom. “You have pressed the emergency button! What is your emergency?” All those in the carriage who hadn’t seen the button get pressed looked around bewildered, including the cyclist. The rest wondered what to do.
“Which emergency service do you require?” demanded the driver, sounding more urgent. No way was anybody going to get mugged on his train.
Blank look continues from cyclist. I stood up and went over to the wedged-in bicycle and the intercom. “It’s all right, the button got pressed by mistake.”
The driver replied “Okay, thanks mate.”
The cyclist stood up, having worked out what happened. He looked embarassed, and mumbled “sorry” in direction of the intercom, and unwedged his bike, moving it to the other side where there was no button. Bit late, but oh well, no harm done.
The train kept rolling into the night, thankfully emergency-free.