A To Z

Entry by: tinyfeet&bluebirds

5th January 2018
The a- z of Windsor’s streets is stitched and inked into his skin, an odd criss-cross of scars and tattoos. Fist fights and knife fights, late nights and early mornings spent in A&E. He’s not proud of it. Not like his dragon, she’s a beauty, curls round his shoulders like she was born there. Her tail lightly swinging, her long tongue like a lick of hot fire. Got that on Prince Andrew Street when he was nineteen, muscled and handsome.

He has L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E on his knuckles, a cliché he knows but it had made sense at the time, when Anna had left him again and he really didn’t know if he wanted her back or not. Some days he puts on his fingerless gloves to cover it up, scared the punters it did as they dipped down to slip him their change. They prefer it if you seem weak and repentant, down on your luck. Not like a sinner who might just take a swing at them if the mood takes him and definitely not like the type who’ll be spending that quid in the Eagle and Child as soon as the sound of their clickety clacks has faded. Not that he would but Mr and Mrs High and mighty don’t know that and they just want to be sure they’re not financing any bad habits.

And bad habits he’s had plenty. That’s probably what got him here in the first place. That and an unhealthy relationship to authority or so his social worker, Sharon tells him. He’d just wanted to feel that freedom he’d get when he was drunk or high just a little bit longer. Let him see where it’d take him. It had to be better than a concrete council flat in the wrong part of the borough. Of course all great flights end with a fall if you’re like Icarus and fly too close to the sun. Oh does that shock you, that he’s well read? That he might know a Greek myth when he sees one? Don’t be fooled. Libraries, if your town still has one, are one of the only free places to go when it’s cold or raining. And when in Rome…

Sometimes he gets a place in a shelter, but there are always too many of them and they don’t like his dogs. He has to leave them chained up somewhere and then he spends the night worrying the pound will get them. He loves those dogs, they’re good company. He can’t go home. The old crowd are still around, some of them are still peddling those bad habits he’s lost and he’s not sure he’d be able to resist. And even if that weren’t the case he hasn’t seen his mum in three years and he wouldn’t know how to look her in the eye now. It makes his blood boil all the burned bridges. Just because at one time in his life he made some bad choices he shouldn’t have to pay for it forever.

Still it’s not all shit. He’s been working recently, thanks to Sharon. She got him a job with a delivery outfit. They were impressed by how well he knew the street names, asked him if he’d ever thought of being a courier or a taxi driver. It’s not much and it’s not reliable, they get him in when they need him. It was good before Christmas but it’s slowed right down now. Still it had felt good to have a place to turn up to again. Sharon says he should think about training, but how can you think about training when you’ve no fixed address, it had been hard enough to get this job. It only worked because he passed by the offices two or three times a week to see if they needed him. Sharon had him on a housing list but he wasn’t stupid. Single. Male. Ex Addict.

Today he’s back at his spot, x marks it and all that. It’s his patch if you like, where he sets up shop with his dogs and his stuff. Sometimes he plays his harmonica. It makes him feel he’s not asking for something for nothing. It’s tough today though. Apparently there’s some ruckus going down about a royal wedding. Some Tory wanker has been mouthing off about needing to clear the streets, how the likes of him are a disgrace, detritus or something. Yeah, yeah, yeah he thinks. Never bloody notice us normally do they? It’s not really a surprise, they’ve never wanted the likes of him on York Avenue. Wouldn’t want his kind sullying the streets for Sir Elton or Prince Harry now would they. They’d rather keep them all over in Oldfield, where they belong. Now if that’s not a ghetto, his middle name ain’t Charlie.