‘Spare some change please?’
There’s a young bloke, maybe twenty-five or so, miserable as fuck, sitting on the pavement under the cash dispenser I want to use. He’s got a piece of cardboard propped up on his equally miserable looking dog-on-a-string proclaiming that he’s hungry. So what? So am I. I’m bloody starving and that’s why I’m at this cash dispenser trying to get some money out so I can take Lucy out to lunch. Spare change. Is he sure? As far as I’m aware, cash dispensers don’t dispense small change. And what does he mean by spare? How do I know if I’ve got any spare money before I’ve spent all that I’ve already got? And believe me, that’s going to be a long time. I ignore him and put my card in the slot.
‘Just a couple of quid for a cup of tea, mate?’
I put my hand in my pocket and jangle some change around, acting as if I’m going to give him something. He looks up at me; I can see the expectancy in his eyes. I pull out an empty hand and the expectancy turns to disappointment. Or contempt. Who cares? My iPhone vibrates. It’s Lucy,
sorry babe, cant make lunch xxx
I don’t want to sit in the restaurant on my own, so I ignore my rumbling stomach and decide to skip lunch and go back to the office. When I get back to my desk, Derek immediately buzzes me and calls me into his office.
‘I’m sorry, Clive, but times are tough these days. The department’s closing and I’m going to have to let you go. I’ll give you a reference, of course.’
Shit. I’ve got a £500,000 mortgage and no savings. Looks like I’ll be joining the young bloke under the cash dispenser.