In the spot by the bushes, across from the bicycle parking space. Night's early at winter, cold is right on time. Don't need to check the shelter's full. This is a good spot. Will move on to the next in a few hours. Shut eye.
Excuse me, man says, excuse me.
Would you like this?
He has a chunk of pasty in his hand. A small chunk.
Do you have any change, mate?
No. Would you like this?
It's chicken by the way.
Have a safe one.
Chicken pasty. At least it's warm. It's actually fucking hot in the middle. Little bites, nibbles.
Excuse me, do you have any change? Say and say again.
None of you ever do, you coats and shoes. Just holiday cash.
Do you have any change, love?
She's a bit of all right. Bites her lip and disappears.
Nothing's going on for now so just a quick nap. Turn the timer to fifteen. The ticking starts.
Excuse me, man says again, excuse me.
Would you like some of this?
Roast chestnuts in a paper bag. Don't really like chestnuts.
All right. You not going to eat them?
I had a few.
Yeah. All right.
They're a bit chewy. He's still standing there.
Do you have any change now, mate?
Barely. He laughs.
Hold the bag up and smile. He's been waiting for that. He's a merry old fuck.
I'll be on my way.
Okay. Thanks, mate.
Don't mention it.
There's a group of new ones coming from the zebra crossing. They move fast, don't stop. Shoppers. Arseholes. Almost get trampled. Grandma nearly falls flat on the sleeping bag. Can't even hear what she's saying. Fucking foreigners.
That a bobby? Can see a reflector jacket on the other side of the road, ugly bright yellow. No hat though. This is a good spot, not moving for another couple of hours at least.
Sigh. Yes, mate?
I have a drink.
Actually this is for me.
Right, mate. A little change goes a long way, yeah?
Man stares at me and storms off. Am hungry but not some fucking duck in a pond.
Man stops, pulls something out of his pocket. He lobs it, a packet of something. Crisps. Smokey bacon. Quite like these actually.
He's already gone.
Tear it open. Dark red outer, golden brown inner but not even vaguely Christmassy.
At least have had half-decent tonight. Just a little nap after this, fifteen minutes, then move onto one of the tunnels. Could do with a coffee actually.
Excuse me. Do you have any change, mate? Spare anything? Yeah, yeah, Happy Holidays and all that.