A monologue by James Horscroft

The Loner is found sitting alone on a street corner. They just stare at the audience for a moment, not alarmed in the slightest.

…Alright?

So, ‘ere I am on the corner. Again. Where else would I be?

To the bog-standard individual, with a life t’go to, this street has had no particular ‘ighlight of change over the past day.

Or the day before that, for that mat’er.

I could, of course, say “or the day before that” over and over again for the sake of dramatic repetition, but, honestly, I can’t be fucked.

Sure you’ve already grasped the idea, this street has changed as much as a pebble over the past consecutive series of days.

Weeks.

Months.

‘owever, being as out of touch with the world as a hermit forced into their lifestyle would be, I know that this street has changed in a bigger way than a passing glance would ever deduce.

Be fair, not a popular hobby; spendin’ y’days staring at a small section of a ‘ardly original street.

There’s, what, six shops and two lampposts.

But, y’see, I ‘ave no days to spend and so, ul’a’mately, I have nothin’ else to do.

May not sound exac’ly aspirational, in terms of “goin’ out there an’ achievin’ me life goals”: but it’s pret’y difficult to score a goal when you’re not even on the pitch.

Despite this solemn little factor, it takes an involuntary curmudgeon, like myself, to notice these things: how growin’ up ain’t the only example of change being so slow a process, you don’t even recognise it’s happening.

Summin’ as bland as a pissin’ street also behaves like an organism; it changes and adapts within its climate.

I’ve seen this happen, right before me, just over a period of just four months.

Four months and two weeks, at that.

Four months, two weeks and five days…

First shop across the road that is closest from where I’m sat, that one there (points into audience), half-obscured by the lamppost that is angled a few degrees more obtuse, thanks to the storm of one month, one week and six days ago.

That’s the everyday geeza’s newsagent.

Same twin ice cream freezers – secretly ‘olding same stock from three months, two weeks and four days ago; I haven’t seen any delivery since – proudly placed right at the front of the store.

My son always used to fall for that little trick, which was something I used to love him for, in all his fantastic daftness.

…Hard to laugh at that now, course.

That consumerist sorcery is partially responsible for my inability to talk to him again.

Not even one last time.

Whether he’s the reason why they now leave traffic cones by the road outside, I’m not sure; I don’t see how it helps – it stops vehicles from parking, not moving…

He ain’t missing much though.

Business is so poor that they keep the stock concealed in their accommodation upstairs.

Judging by the sizeable quantity of microbes feasting on the windows alone, any customer there don’t want to know what ‘orrors they’re obliviously sending into their mouths.

The germs only multiply on par with the owner’s misery, though.

Lost both his wife and half of the store’s annual profit following her affair with some wealthy but not so ‘there’ (points to head) post-graduate carryin’ her away to the Bahamas.

You may ‘ave guessed, eavesdroppin’ soon followed the street-watching with great speed.

He got to keep the son.

But. Bein’ the only financially viable employee now, he’s already working after school until nine o’clock on weekday, with full-shift weekends, at twelve years. No child’ood, that.

Morally, this knowledge is, quite honestly, wrong.

But, end of the day, they needn’t threat over their secrets flowing into the ears of a silenced voice.

Neither do the workers of the pizza delivery service, Crust and Base, as much as it would benefit the local authorities.

What I mean is, to put it implicitly, (mock-whispering) parmesan cheese ain’t the only powdered substance coming out that place.

I was initially surprised too, when I first uncovered the truth about those extra toppings.

Charming place: the familiar logo always welcoming both a smile and a growl of the stomach.

Great guy there, too.

Whenever I was too worn out to cook m’self and walked into that place, requesting a king-sized pizza for four, he would always make sure I get the extra side.

Regarding this… non-pizza substance, though, took me was a week to notice.

First , the majority of the people collecting “extra” consistently twitched like a mouse’s nozzle with arthritis would.

Almost all of them were as thin as Crust and Base’s ‘Crispy-Italian’ crust too: except for the marvellously obese character of three weeks and four days ago.

Quite a flawed dieting plan when whatever weight he loses from the substance, he immediately regains from the order placed with it (laughs)…

That car, passing by now, has driven along this road two-hundred and sixty times since I first saw it.

Other than two months and three days ago, that’s everyday.

No idea what kind of work drives someone into the centre of town seven days a week but he certainly must be passionate for it, considering he hasn’t—

It’s him.

Just passing our favourite close-to-bankrupt newsagent now; where it all went down.

The man I have to thank for all this knowledge of the world from where I’m sat.

Without him, none of this would be possible

So kudos to him and his prime-condition car, which ‘as been lovin’ly refurbished to look as though it’s never killed a fucking thing.

True, it didn’t end up hitting my son so at least his death hasn’t been wiped off the face of the vehicle.

Me, on the other ‘and…

END.

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