27 March 2015
I almost walked out of work before even starting, waiting like a moron for my boss to open his door so I could ask why I hadn’t been paid. I called him two days ago and he said he’d get back to me.
In his office he said he would call the pay people on Monday and let me know. He asked me if I was struggling and without hesitation I told him I was. He said he’d lend me £100 out of his own pocket and that I could pay him back later. Until that moment I was indifferent towards him but this changed things. We shared a hint of a smile and I asked where he’d like me to work figuring I’d see him later about the loan.
I went out to the busy beer garden and got on clearing tables of glasses and plates, scanning any horizontal surface for lost valuables. I can’t look at the patrons because my hair sucks and I don’t know what to say when they talk to me.
Chris is behind the bar. He’s not worried about his hair, neither am I really. He always smiles and doesn’t get weird. His girlfriend is best with the bosses girlfriend. We talk about Italian shirts and I squirrel wedges from customers plates. I’m doing my best believe me. I realised a drinker had been watching me wedge and a jolt went right up me as I continued stacking glasses and refusing to look up.
I found a packet of unfinished cigarettes and as Charlie walked past with two towers of glasses I tucked them into his top pocket your the man!
There was a brown paper bag under one of the tables and I took it. There was a half eaten steak and a pair of orange Ray Bans.
A rugged looking new employee brought some glasses up as I was stacking the dishwasher and asked if I was Australian. He didn’t seem to notice I was weird and we cleaned up the beer garden together in the dark singing Tomorrow by Silver Chair. I found a gold pound in the stone floor crack marvelling at it in my fingers. I added it to the other 85p I’d already found and shifted the ray bans from my bulging jeans pocket into my shirt. If anyone came asking for them I’d give them back but they’d only be looted from lost property and sold for 20 quid.
I’m aware my morals are sliding but being poor makes it ok. If it weren’t for cashing someones’s oyster card I found in the dunny I wouldn’t have been able to get to work today or buy a chocolate orange from Poundland.
I was relieved about that loan though and could finally buy my girlfriend and I some food. But it felt like cheating because I wanted to be in this position out there broke in London. Making it up minute by minute not knowing later, in the jacket alone in the grey, pecking at the path, not knowing about the nits. Carry on only luggage euphoria and no alzheimers.
At the end of shift I realised the boss had gone home early without a loan and the Ray Ban’s had fallen out of my pocket so any relief would have to wait til tomorrow.