6.30 every morning
uphill. No bike.
how many papers? fourty-five
how many pounds? fifteen.
How many left? three.
every day after school
while waiting for his bus
he stares at it, raised,
behind the counter, out of reach.
he's been late home lately
due to the daydreams of videogames
he'll miss his bus
just looking at the box
Jordan Bennet's paper boy hustle is his auto pilot.
he's a sixteen year old unwilling to grow up
and feels guilty because
the x-box was his first love
but in the two hours
of playing uncharted two at his mates house
with graphics that had his tongue fall out
the black behemoth with the glossy front
had become all he's been able to think about
when cleaning the kitchen table
he imagines the cloth is on his new home console
and he's carefully removing fingerprints off the top
when watching deal or no deal
he doesn't see contestants go for
two hundred fifty thousand pounds
but 833 playstation threes
he'll skip the morleys lunch
because that'd cut into saving up
The money couldn't come quick enough
pissed off his EMA was cut off and
with mum out of work
he knew asking for a present
was unfair to his parents
so he got a job from a newsagent
to deliver papers but,
make no mistake it was a job he hated-
it was too far from home to go back after
but he finished around seven thirty
so got to school so early
he'd watch the groundskeeper opening the gates,
it led to him constantly sleeping in class
which he says led to him getting ignored by girls
(though his friends say his job didn't change that much)
and when going back home he conjured up thoughts,
thoughts of how he could speed up getting what he wants
as the thoughts became schemes
that he'd dream of acting upon-
his tesco metro
contained a cash dispenser
and every week he'd watch it
be refilled by the worlds
fattest, laziest, helmet-less
security guard laughing out of his armoured car
swinging a black box with no handcuffs
that he knew contained more notes
than he could ever want.
and he hated seeing him
because he would always see him
always getting out, always laughing
like no one would dare touch him
as if the opportunity to take wasn't an option
to just hit him in the back of the head
with his book bag and run with the sums.
it's week nineteen, the nineteenth time
and it got harder every time.
He'd never do it though.
but walking past him was always in slow-mo.
Later that night he waited for the knock on his window
heard his neighbour Max coakley whisper-shout
"Jord, get your hoodie, scarf, gloves,
scarf, hood, gloves, hood, scarf and…. hat and lets go!"
He laughs. He does. Sneaks out. Knows what's up
but has no idea how its going to go down.
Earlier organised at lunch break
His schoolmates gather in his estate
he smiles as, without faces
they do all make convincing thugs
he hears music play from afar
and he thinks in the distance
he can see some people dance
and they're all ready for a laugh
until Foday Marlon smashes the window
of Dean Barton's nans' car.
(Foday Marlon was always a moron
he didn't know he was fucking with Dean Barton
and everyone knew not to fuck with Dean Barton)
Foday got lumps, they joined up with the year above
adrenaline was pumped as they consumed cheap cider-
they ran and became brixton high-street roamers
fitting in with elders and feeling safe with older brothers
danced around burned cars tipped over
he would hear screams coated with laughter
the shouts took over as police came closer
and he watched the law enforcers cower
the way they never did with peaceful protesters
bricks got thrown over them
Max got hit in the face for no reason
and it diverted the crew into different directions
violence descended as he heard someone shout
something about a revolution
but there was no revolution coming from this one,
just new air force ones
and as he watched the footlocker get raided
it came to him
He ran as fast as his legs could take him
and he was in time to see the windows of gamestation cave-in,
everyone ran in like housewives at a sale in debenhams
time was of the essence he didn't want anyone else to take it
it was his no one else could deserve it
he'd had enough of everyone having more than him
for so long he'd taken so much shit and before he knew it
he heard helicopters bellowing and police sirens whaling
as Bennet was halfway home clutching onto his playstation.
a deafening silence.
still in riot-gear dress,
he hadn't moved for hours
the beast was in his bedroom.
In a staring contest with
His stolen accomplishment.
He ran through the reasons;
how the police didn't do anything
how he was caught up in the moment
how someone else would have stolen it
how many times he'd been denied opportunity
how it was okay because before taking this he'd taken so much
how he never hit the tesco metro security guard once
how he'd have to go be a paper boy again in just two hours,
what he had now hadn't changed the fact he had worked hard
But he still couldn't open that box.
it still wasn't right.