(This piece was submitted for my Creative Writing coursework. Dialogue-driven; two boys walk home after a night out.)
“Shall we get a taxi?” Jordan asked,
“I don’t have any change,” said Adam.
Jordan patted his pockets. “Yeah, me neither.”
“You could do with the fresh air anyway.”
“I’m not even –” he started, nearly walking into a lamppost before swerving around it, “ – drunk.”
“Really?” said Adam.
He looked back. “What? Because of that lamppost business you think I’m –? That could happen to anyone. They’re everywhere. You’re just walking down the street and they come out of nowhere. Swear down, they’re a safety haz-za-, err, hazard.”
“Get a little tongue-tied there?”
“Ah shit!” he whispered. “Homeless person.”
Adam glimpsed over. “Just ignore him.”
“I looked too long and made eye contact. I’m gonna feel like such a dick.”
“Any spare change?” asked the homeless man, sat in the doorway of a small restaurant.
“Sorry, man. We’re skint as well.” They kept walking.
“Poor guy,” said Adam. “You went and got his hopes up.”
“Puts things into perspective really?”
“We come out every week, spend a shit-ton on booze, just to get drunk – or in my case, to not – and we leave to see these guys sleeping rough. Right?”
“Right,” said Adam, raising an eyebrow.
“You know what, I’m gonna change from now on. Next week, I’m gonna spend like £10 instead and I’ll give anything I have left to any of the homeless people I see.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. You spent about twenty quid tonight and—”
“Exactly. I always take out twenty quid – sometimes thirty, and I spend it all. Next week, I’ll spend less and have more for the homeless.”
“You’re talking out your arse. You’re gonna forget you even said any of this.”
“No, no, no.” Jordan took out his mobile phone. “I’m gonna make a note so I don’t forget.”
“If you’re as sober as you say you are, you wouldn’t need to make a note.”
“Dude, it’s 3 A.M. I’m tired. Forgetting is a… a natural effect of… of being tired. Now.” He began tapping onto the screen. “Give… money… to homeless. There.”
“How moral of you.”
“Gandhi’s like my role model, man.”
He laughed. “Bollocks.”
“I’ve a miniature statue in my room.”
“That’s a Buddha.”
“Same thing, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, yeah. Buddha and Gandhi are exactly the same thing.” He shook his head. “Oh my days, you’re an idiot.”
“Hey, man. Don’t be so patronising!” He thumped Adam in the shoulder. “I know my shit, right. I just say shit to make you look clever.”
“Ouch,” he said, putting a hand to his chest. “That really hurt”
Jordan had gone quiet.
“What’s this really about,” asked Adam. “Something’s going on, right? Come on, dude. You can talk to me.”
“Nah, it doesn’t matter.”
“Talking helps. I promise you, it does.”
“Fine, let’s… We should probably sit down for this.”
They sat at a bus stop opposite the nearby church.
Jordan started. “There was a guy I knew from back home. Well, I say I knew him, but we only really talked a couple of times. He was a nice guy, but a bit reckless. He dropped out of sixth form, went into some dead-end job. Anyway, I found out he died yesterday. Motorbike accident.”
“Shit. I’m sorry, man.”
“I don’t even know why it’s getting to me. Like I said, didn’t know him that well.” He shook his head, laughed a little – it was a nervous laugh. “I guess it’s just… he didn’t do anything with his life and now he’s dead. I feel like I haven’t done anything yet with my life. If I died, who’d notice?”
Adam breathed out. “You shouldn’t think like that. I mean I get it. You’re just scared of your independence. Uni does that. I doubt you’re the only one that feels like this.”