Outside the supermarket

There is a guy sits every day outside the supermarket below the office where I work. Every Friday, when I am there, I fetch him a doughnut from the in-store bakery. The last Friday of the month, payday, I gift him a doughnut and a bottle of orange juice, full of Vitamin C.

“Here’s your doughnut, pal.” He acknowledges me by lifting his hand to take it. “Happy Friday!” I say. “And a juice! It’s payday!”

Then, the last Friday of last month, instead of just reaching up with his other hand as he always does, he looks up, his screwed-up eyes red, and says, quietly, “Go away. Just go away and leave me alone”.

And I put the juice down next to him, next to the flat cap he has laid on the pavement, the one with two silver coins and lots of coppers in it and go back into my building, my supermarket sandwich and mango slices in my carrier bag.

The next Friday I take the lift down to the basement and go out to the supermarket through the underground car park. I pick up a doughnut and put it down again.

The supermarket security guy

The supermarket security guy smokes a sneaky cigarillo, his sweater tucked into his belt. A pile of school kids tumble out of the shop, flushed, clutching crisps and bottles. They see the security guy and sober, walking a little too quickly, stiff-leggedly, around the corner. Passersby imagine the sound of running feet. The security guy hears his name being called from inside the supermarket, stubs out his cigarillo and goes back in. The world breathes and calms.