Car 7

Miss Mary Sherratt

Outward appearance

Woman, late 20s. Stretch cord slacks, pointy lace-up boots, enormous fluffy blue hat, matching blue scarf, art nouveau broach. Hair short, black, in a feather cut.

Inside information

Works part-time for the National Dysphasia and Dysgraphia Society, an under-funded room in the ex-nursery of a housing estate behind Westminster Bridge Road. An accident prompted a small stroke: Mary is dysgraphic. She cannot turn speech into writing. She also has a slight dysphasic speech impediment. She's good at accounts, fashion, make up and shoplifting. She knows precisely how pretty she is, and how much of the prettiness is contrived. Part of her feels even the prettiness is false.

What she is doing or thinking

Trying to solve the mystery of what the man next to her is doing. What it must be like to read and write. What on earth can he find to write about on a train? Is it for work? He must have to work very hard. She feels sorry for him and wonders if being dysgraphic means she has escaped some hardships.

Suddenly the man snaps the book shut and bloats like an angry bullfrog. She wants to tell him: it's all right, I couldn't read anything. He flounces off; she looks around for something to do... and hears a merry wheezing sound.

A Chinese lady is blowing a party favour. A bottle full of brown fluid flashes between people along with plastic cups. Who needs boring old words... and boring old people? There's a party! Mary moves up the carriage to join in.

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