I saw John off at the station. Yvann came up in time for lunch. We went on a jaunt, catching a train to Putney, walking across the river (without getting our feet wet) and taking a very slow bus back. I was called back by the driver because I looked too young for my pass; I’d my black woolly hat on.

Home, we were watching DSI Banks when John came back and went into the bathroom. Yvann left but John did not emerge and I was not pandering to jealousy: “Is this about Yvann?” No, Yvann was my friend. John had had a bad day.

Coming back with Terry from Housing, about Terry’s being housed and John having another bolthole for security against being picked up by the police, he was stopped by the police and sat in the back of a car. He was asked his name. He gave the false one for just such an emergency, Robert. He was asked had he seen any black men acting suspiciously. Then, surprisingly, because usually they divulge nothing, he was told they were questioning everybody in the vicinity – Terry in another car – because two robbers had knocked down a granny who’d had a heart attack and died. It was murder, and murder for John who was shitting himself, if not literally.

Have I said he has OCD? He’d wrapped as is his wont the £10 I’d given him round his travel card (I’d paid for by card) and put it in a deep pocket of his new winter coat (I’d bought him) but, on his using the card to come home, the note had been unwrapped from it and, since the use of the card was continual, had been put in a shallower pocket with the card. You can tell where this is going: he lost the £10 with which he’d been going to buy tobacco and beer. I had on my person another £10 with which he bought the beer and tobacco.

The day did not end there. He couldn’t find the heroin substitute tablets he’d taken three of that morning and which normally he’d return to the same jacket pocket that I knew nothing about before doing anything else. His search was frantic and prolonged. “Look on the bright side,” I said. “The OCD isn’t working.” He’d have to replace the tablets next day, threatening shoplifting if needs be and a return to heroin – I walked off, saying “in that case….” – before saying he never would, if I’d let him finish. “I heard. How much?” If I could give him £20 next day? It so happened I could. He’d get them through Terry who has terminal bowel cancer and calls me Satan for turning John to homosexuality. “Tell him, I’m not but my man might be since though brought up by Xians I’m pagan and Xians, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses, would call my man Satan.”

“Fuck me,” he said. I suggested he’d been quite good at fucking himself but obliged. I needed a pee and, thinking better not inside him, pulled out; the sound was that of a champagne cork popping.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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