Tuesday, 25 May 2010



He can’t be bothered

going to work, to face

the tower of paper

that sits on his desk,

and spend half the day

on the phone to IT

because something

keeps beeping at him.

He wouldn’t be noticed

by anyone all day. They

think he’s too old to

say anything interesting.

But if he doesn’t show up,

his absence will be noticed

and his P45 will land on his

doorstep in tomorrow’s post.


“I’ll get a coffee,” he

says to himself and

he recalls a greasy

spoon nearby.

Nancy’s Cafe. You

take a seat, a lady

takes your order and

the coffee comes to you.

But Nancy’s has turned

into Starbucks – it takes

three people to make a

cup of coffee. Henry sighs.

He dodges pushchairs,

squeezes past tables

and trips over handbags

to join a long queue.

Mochas and Frappachinos,

where is the normal coffee?

Henry just wants a coffee!

Fair Trade? At £3.10 a cup?

A teenager asks for his

order in a monotone voice.

Another takes his money

and counts the change slowly.


Henry goes to the office,

his white shirt stained

with coffee because drinking

from cardboard is new to him.

Five of his colleagues have

pointed and laughed.

He sits down and hides

behind his paper towers.

The highlight of the day

is lunch. His colleagues

go to the pub. Henry is

left alone at his desk.

Henry is happy to eat his

cheese and pickle sandwich,

undisturbed by laughter

and ringing telephones.


The phone never rings,

he thinks the clock is broken,

it’s been half past three

for the last two years.


He walks home while

his colleagues go to the

pub but Henry hasn’t

got the invitation to join.

He can’t be bothered going

home. Most people can’t

wait to get home. But there

is no-where else for him to go.


Henry goes to the shop

on his way home. He buys

the evening paper, bread

and a tin of soup for one.

He gets home and changes

into his dressing gown and

slippers. Both are full of holes

but nobody will ever see them.

His house is empty, just

shelves full of books on

birds and wildlife. Why

would he read about people?

Henry feeds his two canaries,

who sit still on their perches.

They don’t care for Henry, as

he for them. They want food.


He has his soup and bread

sitting on a tray on his lap.

The evening news begins;

a man has been missing

for 20 years and the family

have given up on him. Henry

thinks it’s been so long since

he saw his. Have they given up?

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