I'm sitting on the train on the way home from a pleasant evening in the pub with a friend. I notice the conductor having a discussion with someone a few seats in front of me. It's a bloke in his fifties or so. He's a little inebriated and he can't find his ticket.

After much fumbling he finally produces a tattered, scraggy looking ticket. The conductor frowns at it. I can't hear them talking over the train noise, so I'm watching a kind of mime drama, but I've seen this before, so I know what's happening. It's an old ticket, days old, no longer valid. The conductor goes to check some other people's tickets while the drunk bloke goes through the pointless routine of patting various pockets as if a valid ticket might have been magically bestowed upon him by a benevolent pooka.

By this point I'm pretty sure that he's going to be asked to leave the train at the next stop, but there's a new development. As the conductor comes back after giving him his last chance to produce a ticket, the drunk bloke turns around to the chap sitting behind him, apparantly a friend of his (although not enough of a friend to buy him a ticket). The friend has a cardboard box on his lap marked 'B & R POTATOES'. The box has holes in it and straw coming out. The drunk bloke fumbles with the box for some time, giving me time to wonder what could be in there that will help him. Surely he doesn't expect to find a train ticket? Perhaps he's going to produce a bottle of whiskey and try to bribe the conductor?

Finally, he gets it open, and to my considerable surprise and, I must say, delight, produces a live rabbit. The rabbit is brown, with floppy ears. Despite being rather the worse for drink, the bloke is very very careful with the bunny, cradling it and stroking it while he talks to the conductor. The rabbit, for its part, sits quietly in his arms, apparantly quite at peace with hurtling though the countryside on a train in the middle of the night. Mentally, I name the bunny Harry. It just looks like a Harry.

As he continues to talk to the conductor, it's obvious that the drunk bloke feels that Harry will somehow help his case. I still can't hear, so I imagine the various things he could be saying. Bribery? "Let me stay on the train, and you can have this rabbit." Pity? "You wouldn't throw a man with a rabbit off a train, surely?" Or maybe this is expecting too much of the drunk - perhaps he's just hoping to distract the conductor. "Well, you're right, I don't have a ticket, but LOOK! A BUNNY! Look at the BUNNY!"

Alas, whatever his tactic, it fails. The conductor dismisses his argument, and he is told to leave the train. He carefully returns Harry to its owner, and gets off at the next stop. As the train pulls away, he waves. To Harry, perhaps.