Dan's stories · Fool · March

Beggar’s Belief

by Dan Seavers

GOT any change, mate? Oh, aye. Yous see me. Don’t pretend like. I watch you, walking here every day, with your mochalatte-whatever, thinking yous all like proper and stuff. But I’m here. And I’m watching you. I’s watch everyone like.

Whether that’s you. Or that old woman who looks at me out the corner of her eye, with that look that says, do better for yourself man. Like it’s my fault, innit. Or the kids wot walk past me and laugh at me, like I’s some kind of joke. Wot’s so funny man? I ain’t laughin.

Well, not at me, anways. You’s the funny ones. Yeah, I’ve no shoes for my feet. My beard runs long.   I carry my entire world in a sack. But that makes me free bruv. I ain’t tied to a nine to five job that I hate, a mortgage I can’t pay, a lifestyle I battle to afford and yet can’t afford to enjoy. Like, I could feed maself for a week with the money that Costa coffee cost ya. Yet you’re drinking it like it don’t matter. It’s more a status than a need.

But what d’yous care? What does anyone care? You’re all to blinkered to see the real world, man. So lost in ya dreams of escape, that you don’t see how you’s trapping yourself further. Like a spider wrappin itself in its own web.

Take that guy. Yeah. You might never see him fore, but you know him all right. Flash little suit, sharp tie. You just know he loves himself, even fore he opens his mouth. He’s that type of person, right? Spensive hair, spensive teeth, spensive shoes. Yet you know he can’t afford it, right? He’s just as caught in that trap as the rest of ya, just he hides it betta. Safe unda his branded cloak.

But watch as I reveal the real guy.

“Here, got any change, mate?”

And he stops. And he looks at me. And he pulls ten pence from his spensive coat pocket and tosses it at me. A smirk on his face. A sharpness in his eye.

“Have a drink on me, fool,” he says. Not even looking at me. Not even seeing me for who I am. Another human, mate. Another person just like ‘im.

And that’s it, he’s away. Yet he don’t realise, his wallet fell as he tossed his coin at me. And now it lies at my feet. He don’t see. He’s too lost in his world of lies and money. Tis mine now.

But I ain’t no tief. No way, bro. I won’t take nothin from no one. I ask, I beg. But I dain’t steal. Tis not my way. Life steals too much anyway, so I ain’t joining that ride.

Oh no. I just sits, and wait and watch him as he struts away. He steps into the Costbucks. Straight to the front of the queue. I can sees him through the window, smiling that smileless smile, his phone still wedged to his ear, his distant conversation still way more portant than being there in the moment and showing a bit of respect.

The server nods, and prepares his drink. He waits, watching. I can sense his impatience from here. The roll of his eyes. Checking his Rolex. The snarky smile he gives to the ‘sistant. And then, it’s done, and he pulls out his wallet to pay.

No. No he dain’t. Cause I have it.

Now, now, he puts down the phone. He’s here in the now and fear overtakes him. His precious lifeline is taken from him. The money that keeps the charade goin has been fished away. He pats each pocket, double triple checkin. His smile switches to pleadin, trying to explain what’s missin. His neatness is ruffled, his cheeks flushed. I swear even his finely cut hair falls out of place in disgust.

Yet, the ‘sistant has none of it, right. She grabs him in case he does a runna. The manger comes over. More people are pulled from their own world into this, to watch the tainment happening round them. I just sit and let it happen til nough’s enough.

Then I get up, pick up my own world, bag of bits and cap of change, and walk over. I step into the store, and the eyes swivel to me, judgin’ me in my rags and no shoes. I just walk up to the counta.

“I’m sorry, s…” the manger says, but I cut him off. I place my change on the counter, and look the business fella in the eye.

“Have a drink on me, fool,” I say. “Oh. And here’s ya wallet. You dropped it.” I toss it at his feet, and he bends over to perience my world, sees what’s like to pick up ya money from the floor. Then I walks straight out. I don’t wait for no thanks or percusions or owt. I don’t care. I got ma moment. That’s it.

And I walk away. For another street corner somewhere. For the same old same olds to judge me, as I watch their world go to pot. To wait for someone to see me fore I call them. For someone to see me like a bruva, not a loser.

Til then, you got any change mate?

© Dan Seavers 2016

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