The drunk that's always in the precinct outside our office never wears shoes. No matter how cold it is.
My manager, Gav, calls him the Beardy Man. He sits out there, Beardy man, not Gav, with his white lightening cider bathing in the stink of his own vomit and occasionally screaming abuse the pigeons. Gav, says Beardy Man doesn't give a shit and is a drain on society and then gives me the afternoon's figures to input and walks away.
Today is Thursday but Beardy man probably doesn't know that because he doesn't give a shit.
I know it's Thursday because Mother put salt and vinegar crisps in my lunch box and that, together with ham and cress sandwiches, is Thursday lunch – taken at my desk staring out the office window at Beardy Man not giving a shit as he raves at the pigeons. Tonight I'll go and see Guido the hairdresser and we'll smile at each other and he'll run his strong hands through my hair give me the same haircut I always have, add pomade and I'll leave smelling of Italy. Or what I imagine Italy smells like anyway.
I had the same thing for lunch one Thursday when I was eight and Mother took me to have my ingrown big toe nail removed. The Dr said it would never grow back.
'For God's sake, Terry,' Mother had said, 'keep it covered up or people will think you're some sort of freak and we don't want that do we?' Then she had laughed in that brittle way she does when something is important, not funny.
I kept my toe covered up all though school. Wore a bandage in games and one day Dan Bensley ripped the bandage off and they all made ugly faces and said I was a freaky and weird. Exactly as Mother said.
Tomorrow is Friday, plain crisps and left over roast chicken and salad sandwiches. While I eat them I'll sit here watching Beardy Man shout at the pigeons.
He doesn't give a shit and he never wears shoes.