I mugged a kid today. S’not the way I normally roll, mind. I’m patient. I sit ‘ere, day after day, wi’ me blanket on’t ground so I’m not gettin’ a wet arse.
This corner’s my spot, see. Right outside the NatWest, opposite ‘little caff there. That’s where I go for me daily cuppa an’ a round o’ toast if the day’s been good to me. Best days is when Shelley’s on. Rest of ‘em that work in there’s a bit iffy over me. Shelley’s alright though; says it must be rotten for me. Even says she’d help me out if she could. Bless her, girl’s got a good heart.
Were jus’ yesterday I were gettin’ up to walk out and she’s up behind me.
‘Off already Max?’ she says. I told her that were me name first I was in. Fake, like.
‘Aye,’ I says, ‘this hat’s not gonna fill itself,’ I says pointing to me woolly warmer on me ‘ead.
Shelley looks down an’ goes ‘hmm’.
She’s lookin’ at the envelope she’s playin’ wi’ in ‘er hands. She’s done this three times now; I know she’s wantin’ to give me it but I’ll not let her. I turn ‘round an’ head for ‘door.
‘See you tomorrow Max,’ she says, an’ I point to me hat again.
I sit outside the bank ‘cause o’ the irony. Most o’ my day is full of askin’ folk if they’ve got any money. Bit hard to deny it when you’ve jus’ walked out a bank.
Most of ‘em ignore me though. A bunch jus’ say ‘no sorry’. A few saints put a penny or two in me hat. Angels throw in a ten p. Once had a bloke give me a quid; told ‘im he’s a good soul but he din’t take no notice.
This cheeky little git come past earlier.
‘Spare anythin’ please, mate?’ I says. I reckon he’ll walk on like most. He stops an’ looks down at me.
‘I’m a student, mate,’ he laughs, ‘I haven’t even got money for myself, let alone you.’
The way he says ‘you’ really fucks me off. He’s laughin’ an’ he’s walkin’ off, nose up high, silver spoon up ‘is arse.
I get up an’ I grab ‘is arm, pull ‘im back to us and I’m right into ‘is face.
‘Don’ you fuckin’ speak t’ me like that, ya little shit,’ I says. I’m never an aggressive soul; somethin’ about this kid jus’ stepped on a nerve.
‘Jesus Christ,’ he says and he’s strugglin’, ‘get the fuck away from me,’ he says an’ chucks a couple o’ coppers from ‘is pocket at me face an’ I let go.
I doesn’t even think about pickin’ ‘money up. I’m jus’ stood there. Folk are lookin’ at me an’ I look over at ‘caff. Shelley’s on’y at ‘window lookin’ out at me. Lookin’ at me wi’ a face like I’m scum, like ‘same way folks do all day.
I’ve still not gone in ‘caff today.
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
'Spare Change' by Jamie Walsh
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