2007, The One Stop 24 Hour Shop, High Street, Lincoln
It's Saturday, it's 7 in the morning, and I'm at work, hung over, stood here like a trampled on torn up tampon - of use to absolutely nobody.
Why the fuck I agreed to these shifts is beyond me, normal people at the age of 21 and in their last year of uni are in bed at this time, they'll get up at about 11, maybe 12, watch whatever's on Channel 4 (literally whatever is on that channel), maybe go into town, the idiots will stop by my shop and give a stupidly cheery greeting and be promptly put right back in their place before hopefully leaving swiftly and quietly.
One exchange went something like this:
'It's boiling outside isn't it?'
'Are you taking the piss?'
'Well, I've been stood here for 6 fucking hours the last time I was outside it was dark and you were asleep, alone, probably hoping for the dream you were having to turn a bit dirty'
They'll then maybe think about going to the library for a bit to do a bit of work - that's not going to happen - before going home, having something to eat and watching some more Channel 4 before going out and getting pissed. I hate routines but what a routine to be stuck in!
Beats getting up at whatever fucking time I got up at and standing in this rat infested shit pit (Roland hangs about the store room, he ate all the Kinder Eggs last week, left the toys as well, I thought that was rather nice of him) before going home, falling asleep, and then doing whatever may be on the agenda this Saturday night.
First customer of the day, o.k. it's time to be hospitable and friendly to 'the customer' (the selfish bastard). He opens the door and looks around, he's smacked out of his tits by the way, his question gives it away,
'Are you open'
'I thought you were 24 hour?'
and off he goes, passing back under the giant 'OPEN 24 HOURS' sign he's just walked past.
As the next hour passes I manage to be sick twice into the bin under the till, then get 2 poems and a song written on the back of receipts which will then be folded up, put in my pocket, taken home, put into a bag and be unread by a single soul until one day in 2008 I find them amongst some other old shite when I've a Monday afternoon off and I'm alone and bored shitless ...
A queue begins to build across the road, maybe 10 or 15 blokes, the pub opens at 9, they'll wait as long as they have to. Lucky, sad old bastards. But wait, here comes excitement - a thief!!
'Well you're barred for a start.'
'Fuck off, what have I done?'
'You know what you've done.'
'I haven't fucking done owt.'
With that, the door to the office slams open, along runs Jane (the manager, female, 44, of large build, severe anger issues)
'Oi, you're barred - now piss off.'
'All right I'm fucking going, fat cow.'
'Anorexic actually, recovering. Tosser.' and off she goes back to the office.
The old dear I've been serving through this exchange looks slightly scared.
It goes on like this all day, brightened up by the highs of the lowlife that come in knowing they'll be kicked out, dampened by the lows of the sight of humanity stuck in it's routine and peppered by the little one-off incidents that change your view of someone forever like the time a customer gave me his change out his pocket with a pube in it.
Theres something quite odd about the situation you find yourself in when you can look into the palm of your hand and see a man's pube in it, another man's pube, another man's slightly grey pube, another man's slightly grey curly pube with that bit of skin still at the root.
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