Some shite-covered alleyway in the arse-end of nowhere, a so-far so-good Thursday about to go tits up when a light from a leaning building reveals two notes poking out between dustbins.
I stop and stare, ‘course I do, money is never presented so readily in front of you.
Brando walks on, the dopey prick never one for noticing, but after a few moments he stops whatever bullshit-spouting momentum he had going and does a slow 180, almost flooring himself. He regains his balance and looks at me with drooped eyes of bewilderment.
‘What you looking at?’ He slurs.
I’d given the game away I know I had. Should’ve walked on, noted the place and come back later to collect the Queen’s green on my ones but now he’s plodding over all inquisitive like some shit cartoon detective.
‘Nothing,’ I say, going to get his arm and lead him away but he clocks it in time.
‘Ay!’ He goes, face lighting up as he looks from me to the cash.
I’ve fucked it totally. He smacks his lips and I see the sick desire rising through him and I’m feeling a sweat coming on already because I know what he’s thinking, where his mind is going with the possibility of what forty pound can buy us from the Albern brothers, the place where we’ve gone full body heaven and hell so many times before.
I scald him with my eyes as best I can but he sees the weakness, I know he does. Weakness of four days clean pouring from my whole body just like his. We can smell it on eachother and though I was ready to hold that smell as a reminder to get myself better and move myself up the social ladder we currently can’t even hold, he’s bent on keeping me down in the muck, an excuse to let himself be as dirty as he always has been.
I could’ve done it on my own, thinking of all the genuine goodness that forty pounds could do someone as malnourished as I but this bastard is ruining me now, teasing out my darkest need with such ease.
The wave of excitement I had at the first glimpse of it has turned into a shiver of nervousness.
‘No,’ I say.
‘Yes,’ he says, and you can’t argue against a point so well made as that.
Daniel Paton was born in 1996 in Stratford upon Avon and studied Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. He has had poetry, short fiction and articles published, and also writes screenplays and stage plays, one of which was performed at a Stroud Theatre Festival 2018. He currently lives in Belfast, continuing his studies at Masters level at Queen’s University, looking to develop his Screenwriting skills and complete his debut novel.