Time Waster by Toby Salisbury


Terry was red with the sun and righteous anger. His tattoos were blue and green, and they leached into his skin, spreading the poison: ‘Fuck’ and ‘Hate’, were woven with the swastikas on his vitriolic skin tapestry. He’d taken a shit in the Victoria Tower Garden; he seriously doubted the bitch had left in the time it took him to squat and wipe behind the bushes. Where was she though? He’d been there four hours. She always left from the same door, almost always just gone seven.
Terry paced with misspent tears eroding riverbeds into his lined face. The cops watched on and spat when he met their gaze, although his mouth was quite dry and he could often only muster white froth. Nothing wrong with crying, nothing at all. Not when something this important was on the line.
It was now nine o’clock and Terry was fuming. Fucking bitch, fucking red bitch. He’d torn a business daily from a fat suit’s trotters and read that she’d repeated the claims to a new gaggle of sycophantic press-men. This country is going down the fucking shitter. He was sitting now, on the bench the police had earlier made him vacate. The tattered camping backpack, resplendent with its fine patchwork, was slumped across his knee. He rooted around inside the stinking red canvas, he felt the cool steel as he looked for cold aluminium.
A group of Asian tourists, masked and gloved, glanced at him as they passed by – ‘Fuck off with yer!’ They scattered at his awakening, as the foot-tapping, beer-swilling skinhead rose to challenge. Ten o’clockor so Big fuckin’ Ben tells us, and She had still not left. Terry was cold. His black vest was great for displaying the message of the noble savages, but useless against November’s blowing. The police were back. They watched him rock back and forth to keep warm, watched him stomp his high-laced boots. Fucking pigs.
At eleven o’clock he cut his finger on a tuna can. Terry ate and drank infrequently for fear of missing his opportunity whilst relieving himself. The drunks were now milling past him, through Parliament Square. He ignored their happy laughter, their carefree and state-subsidised whimsy. He took an interest in one, who he watched over his scooping blood-and-fish covered hands. The suit was talking to the statue of Churchill – good man.
The gothic clock told him it was midnight. Terry kicked his tuna can into the road and opened his bag. It was still there, cold and sharp. He’d try again tomorrow. 

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