Show some respect

I’m currently doing the FutureLearn course Start Writing Fiction. As part of the course, we’re regularly asked to write pieces of work that may be too long to share on the FutureLearn site. This is my response to Week 2, Step 17: Ideas for a Story.

When Joe suggested I should get my old job back, my first thought was to punch him. Unemployment had been tough, but going to back to work for those maniacs? Well, I’d have to be mad. Of course, as Joe always said, I probably was. He did have a point though. They should welcome me back now that business was booming. I’d never been the best, even back then, but if business was that good it would be silly to pass me over, considering my skills.

I turned to look at myself in a shop window as I hurried towards the interview. I looked old. No, not just old, tired. True, I’d never been a looker, but now all I saw was my decrepit old dad and he’d had a face like a badger’s arse. My face was creased and my suit was too tight, but it was my hair that made me stop and stare. A crumpled bald man looked back at me from the glass. Here I was about to see those crooks again after all these years and I looked like a man twice my age. Tufts of greying hair clung to my temples, like unkempt borders edging a well worn path. Had I really gone bald and not noticed?

I staggered away from the window and collided with a young woman, who had those white things plugged into her ears. She was walking with her head down, staring at one of those bloody screens. Startled, she looked up at me and I could see she was ready to mouth off, but when she saw my face she gasped and scurried away. I watched her go and sneered an insult, but it lacked my usual venom. Silly cow. She wasn’t worth my choicest words. I’d need to save those for the clients. Assuming I could get my job back, anyway.

I crossed over the road at the next lights and sauntered down the high street. It was the tail end of rush hour and the crowds had thinned. The people I saw walking towards me all looked the same: arrogant, distant, up their own arses. They knew nothing about life. Not the way I did. A young man was jogging down the street and he too was staring at a screen in his hand. He only looked up right before he ran into me.

“Sorry mate.” he said as he stepped back, trying to untangle himself. He smiled but when I smiled back he recoiled and swore at me. Of course I wasn’t going to let him get away with that. I demonstrated why he should show the proper respect to a man of my age and bearing and he soon stopped swearing.

After he fell at my feet, whimpering like they all do, I stamped on that screen which had skidded towards me. Glass crunched beneath my boot and the screen went blank. That was the first time I truly felt like my old self. I kicked the lad just to be sure and started whistling to myself. I may be old and bald, but I still had what it takes. I’d get that job, no problem. And this town would remember me again.