Escape from the Unit

I gave Hettie her cigarette, and decided to go out for ten minutes of fresh air. The short walk to the high street was hypothermic rather than bracing, but a change was as good as a rest and I strode on toward the cash point of a nearby bank. A man stood immobile in front of the machine, his arms slightly bowed away from his body and his legs well spread like a western gunslinger. After a minute or so it became obvious that this was not the usual convenience banking inconvenience, but instead an episode of temporary Parkinson’s paralysis. I waited, and eventually he moved forward with a coarse tremor, struggled painfully with the auto bank buttons, and removed a large wad of twenty-pound notes from the dispenser. He then returned to his Rover, used the wing of a new Mazda RX8 as a handy doorstop and drove away in warp drive, while his large putty-faced wife stared ahead and ignored the protests of an old man in tired boots. This was a fairly typical scene in our retirement town, and I wondered if 20 years of rigger mortis and the startling polarisation of pensioner wealth was really the accomplishment our welfare state claimed. A scruffy man-boy ambled by with his index finger inserted half way into his ear, apparently playing a medley of hip-hop tunes with the wax. The pavement was a casino of old chewing gum and spat phlegm; stick or twist. That was your choice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: