25th March


I was scraping a living in those days. I had a job in a warehouse, on the back shift. The wage covered my rent and a few drinks, that was it. I don’t remember eating much. I was thin as a whip, strong, hungry. My whole life fitted into four plastic bags.

There were eight of us in a three-bedroom flat. My room was the kitchen. When everyone else had gone to bed I put a mattress on the floor and that was me. In the morning people stepped around the mattress to get their breakfasts. It wasn’t ideal.

Then someone left and I moved into one of the bedrooms. It cost an extra fiver a week but for that I got a bed I could go to when I liked. I was sharing with a guy called Craig.

Craig was a lump of lard. He was supposed to be at college but all he did was watch TV and eat junk food. I certainly never caught him reading a book.

The first morning, Craig’s alarm went off. It played ‘Yankee Doodle’ on repeat. The third time through I advised him to hit it, before I hit him. After that, nothing happened.

It was still dark.

‘What time is it, Craig?’

‘Six o’clock.’

‘What are you getting up now for?’

‘I’m not.’

‘So why did your alarm go off ?’

‘I like to wake up early.’

‘What for?’

‘So I can think.’

‘What about?’

‘Stuff. What I’m going to do today.’

‘That’ll be fuck all then.’ I thumped the pillow, turned over.

Craig started snoring. He’d been doing it all night.

I got out of bed, crossed the room and ripped the covers off him. ‘Get the fuck out of there,’ I said.

He went into the foetal position. ‘It’s cold,’ he whined.

‘I’m going to count to three.’

He rolled off the bed, grabbed the duvet and fled.

I lay for another hour, but it was hopeless. I got up and made a coffee. When I went into the living-room Craig was on the sofa under his duvet, snoring again.

I moved out a week later. It was either that or the jail for murder.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Harmonium: Kit Downes
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