He sat spaced out on the pavement.
His feet hanging over the edge.
“Over the edge.”
That summed up his life: his everyday survival.
Ebbing into the doldrums, going with the current was easy. It was just hard to keep afloat.
It wasn’t like this before, when he was on top of the world.
Two belts glittering around his toned midriff; the crowd chanting his name as the swollen eyes and bloodied lips were forgotten in victorious euphoria, light middleweight and middleweight champion of the world.
He had it all to lose.
And lose it he did.
Women, drugs and booze, combined with a delusional belief that he was untouchable culminated in a drunken car crash which left his body crushed like a beer can on the side of the road.
He was never the same thereafter.
People walked by without a second glance, kids on bicycles and mothers pushing their battering rams on wheels harbouring their precious genetic bundles within. Displaying them like a qualification of normality, a trophy to validate a desperate plea of acceptance. They scurried on, frantic with their busy lives, empty of content, filled with duty. The corner shop was their goldfish bowl. They looked out at him with disdain and he stared back with defiance.
This was his spot.
He sat here every day and he was not for moving.
“I noticed the store manager had pulsating veins on each side of his forehead. A large toad-like bulbous face looking down at me, spitting saliva as he ranted about my presence, hideously disproportionate from my angle below.
I casually took another toke of my joint and blew it upwards. Directing it towards the snarling gargoyle. Now the finger was wagging and his jowls were quivering as he predictably delivered his daily “last chance” spiel.
He had never once recognised me as the former world boxing champion that I am. That grated on me. I have changed remarkably since retirement, I would have to admit. That isn’t a bad thing, especially today. In fact, I am thankful he doesn’t.
Today of all days.
In the past, my ex-manager would have been all smiles with his arm draped permanently around my broad shoulders, but now, he has became a spiteful man. He stole my prize money and sponsorship deals which were to be my retirement fund. He was stupid enough to think I wouldn’t find out.
He was wrong.
I agreed with him, passively gesturing surrender. He was in mid-rant and his face changed. Shock resonated behind his bulging bloodshot eyes as I got to my shaky feet and sauntered off. I left him on the pavement standing exactly on my favourite spot, staring at me, puzzlement written large across his toad-face.
It was not long before the bomb went off.
It was never my favourite spot again after that.
The place just was not the same.”
‘Stephen has been published in short story collections and several websites, and has recently completed his first novel. His writing is the result of an urge to cleanse his soul of the dark thoughts permeating his every waking hour and to satisfy his intention of sharing nightmares with unsuspecting readers, solely for the fun of it.
Other than that, he is normally a happy go lucky sort of guy, who enjoys talking to himself in four different languages.’