Some old lady with a scarf wrapped around her head stands beneath a tree wrestling with her umbrella. As she does so, more not-so-old people pour from a care home into a waiting minivan, no doubt off to play card games in the local community centre, wherever that is. It’s raining. It always rains here. Not the good shit that helps ease the pain of an aching soul, no, it’s the stuff that falls in drips and drabs. A complete waste of time for all involved. Nearby, two lovers holding hands walk without talking. Maybe they’ve argued. Maybe they’re content. It’s difficult to say. They pass a group of youths with bad haircuts and clothes adorned with big Nike ticks. The youths live on the nearby council estate and make noises at the lovers and do their best to appear threatening but it doesn’t seem to have much of an effect and when the moment passes they go back to leaning against their favourite wall. They’ll stay that way until it gets dark at which point they’ll roam the backstreets of town kicking in bus shelters and throwing plant pots in the road. Maybe it’s a lack of education. Maybe it’s boredom. Probably it’s both. Not too far away, I’m heading into my local Chinese takeaway called Wok Express. Not long before, I knocked one out looking at substandard porn. Wasn’t fussy. It did the job. Didn’t bother washing my hands after, either, and as a result, I smell dirty. Like a dog blanket, or a slab of mouldy cheese. Stood in line waiting to order, I wonder if those around me know of my shame. Sniffing my grubby fingers, I picture flesh and smile. As the smile spreads across my seedy lips, X pulls into her drive and rushes inside almost tripping over her feet. Running up the stairs using her hands to help pull herself up, she flings herself into the bathroom and pukes. The relief is enough to almost make her cry, but she’s all out of tears, so she just kneels, head bowed and silent. After a time, she falls asleep and stays that way until late evening. When she wakes, she finds herself clutching the cistern while outside the pack of youths make their way to the local supermarket to buy beer before they launch their campaign of trivial misdemeanours. They’ll go for the cans of cheap, no name lager, whereas I tend to choose the bottles adorned with the image of a tiger. Got a touch of class about me, you see.