A random extract from a random work in progress. Just, you know, because I can.
“Hey, lady, are you OK? You don’t look too good.” Sandra turned around. The young boy, no more than twelve, she thought, had a mixture of worry and alarm on his freckled face. A battered baseball cap sat sideways on his head, jaws moved rhythmically up and down, a flash of white gum every now and then between fleshy lips. Sandra waved an unsteady hand at him.
“Yes, I’m fine thank you. I’m just feeling a little tired, that’s all.” Leaning against the wall like she was, long blonde hair sticking to scalp and neck with sweat due to the exceptionally hot day, face pale and eyes baggy from lack of sleep, she could see why he had asked.
The boy stepped forward a pace or two. Lips smacked gum, his hands shoved deep into pants pockets. Dirty grey joggers, with a hole in one knee. She imagined his t-shirt had once been white, but now it was the same dirty grey. An almost matching set. Muted red trainers adorned his feet, grey laces in one, black in the other.
“You pregnant, lady?” Both Sandra and the boy looked at her swollen belly, barely contained by the light summer maternity dress she was wearing. After eight months there was no denying – she was definitely expecting. “Me sister’s preggers. She’s fifteen, an’ she says she gets tired an all. Mum says she’s puttin’ it on like, ‘cos mum’s pregnant too an’ she don’t get knackered, even with runnin’ round after all us lot. Mind you, there’s five of us, she should be used to it.” He spat his gum into the gutter, fished a crumpled and sweaty packet out of his pocket, offered it to her. “Chewie?”
Sandra shook her head. The boy crammed another stick into his mouth, made the packet disappear back into his pocket. A wooden bench sat against a graffitied wall a few steps away. Sandra headed slowly towards it, leaving the bus stop behind. If the bus came now then she’d just have to miss it, she needed to sit down. The boy made as if to help her, then hung back, unsure, choosing instead to shadow the pregnant lady closely. Sandra was unsure what help he’d be if she did take a tumble, but she appreciated the thought.
Her vision blurred and her head swam as she grasped the arm of the bench, lowering herself slowly, gratefully onto the old wooden planks. Thick weeds grew underneath, mixing with broken bottles and empty crisp packets. A large, dried up dog turd sat on a cracked paving slab at the far end. Sandra didn’t care. Right now it was the best seat she’d ever had.
* * * *
“Move your motherfuckin’ piece of garbage out of the goddamned way!” Bob yanked the chain dangling from the roof of his cab, twin air horns blaring loudly from the roof. The driver of the brown UPS delivery van blocking the narrow road flipped him the finger as he made his way back to his own cab. Bob slammed a meaty hand onto his steering wheel, screaming more obscenities. The UPS driver cupped a hand behind his ear and grinned, before clambering in and starting his engine, revving it loudly. Bob revved his truck in return, twin vertical exhausts farting and belching black fumes into the already over polluted air.
“I’ll drive right through that piece of shit if you don’t fuckin’ move it right fuckin’ now! I ain’t got all fuckin’ day!” Bob’s small, piggy eyes bulged. Veins pulsed on his temples. Sweat ran in streams down his fat cheeks. His anger boiled inside him, and he loved every minute of it.
The smaller van pulled away slowly. Bob popped the clutch, his tow truck lurched forward – and stalled. “Jesus H. fucking Christ! What the fuck?!” He twisted the key and the engine spluttered back into life, roaring loudly as Bob stamped on the accelerator. A judder, another lurch, and the truck was finally on its way, trailing choking diesel smoke in its wake. Bob wiped his sweaty face with a greasy rag, grinning widely. The end of another day. He only had to drop this heap of junk off back at the garage, and then he’d hit the bar for a well earned beer or ten.
Back at base, with his tow truck parked safely in the rear yard, Bob locked up the small office and checked the padlock on the gate of the chain link fence. Can’t be too careful, this place is full of thieving little bastards. He eyed a group of passing youths suspiciously. Laughing and joking, they passed by, oblivious to his presence and that of the run down garage. He mopped his face again, stuffed the rag into a rear pocket. The black and red checked shirt he wore was unbuttoned, exposing his vast belly as it hung over the waist of his XXXL sized jeans. Rivers of sweat left clean streaks on his grubby flesh as they ran down his body. Christ it’s hot, and hotter still tomorrow they say. Plenty of ice cold beer is needed. Bob headed across the road to the bar, swearing loudly at a car as it swerved to avoid his lumbering form.