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Shirley Golden, 24 Jul '12

Sam leans against a splinter-framed entrance - an abandoned oddity of the night that remains impervious to the tirade of shoppers. The street is bursting with traffic; bodies of flesh and metal whirr past. A drizzle has coated the roads and the festive sheen of kaleidoscope lights shimmer off black pavements. It's not cold - Christmas in London rarely is nowadays. The weather's gone tepid, like a waning faith.
        
        He follows a couple with his quick saccades; they cling to each other, young and animated, their smug, snug embrace a rebuke to his seclusion. He forages his pockets and pulls out battered cigarettes. The flare of his last match reveals an intelligent face that no one sees. His brief illumination is a speck against the universal, commercial band of sparkling Xmas exhibits.

        A woman in spiky heels leans over a pushchair. She is tugging to release a clip and flip a protective layer across a protesting toddler. Instinctively, Sam steps forward to assist. Then he remembers and shrinks dismally into place; a residue of smoke escapes the hollow, exposing where he waits.

        The jingle of coins cuts through a background chorus of carols. He tilts his head to acknowledge the guilty, suited man who won't make eye-contact with this seasonal charity case. Sam smiles - five glittering coins. Suddenly, he too feels buoyed. Perhaps he will go to the cafe after all. He scoops up his bedding, stamps out his fag end and is swallowed by the ravenous masses.

Comments · 3

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  • Shirley Golden said...

    Hi everyone, a rather unseasonal burst! This is a piece I had published about 4 years ago. I was happy with it at the time but now I can see many things I'd change - removing a few adjectives and the adverb 'dismally', which sticks out like a sore thumb, would be a good start! Anyway, I thought it might be of interest. I could also post a revised version to see what you all think...

    • Posted 5 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    I really want to know more about Sam but I guess I'd if this is 4 years ago I wont get to :(

    It would be great to see a revised version - from my perspective I'd just like to see how a piece this good can be improved.

    • Posted 5 years ago
  • Shirley Golden said...

    Thanks for your feedback, Anthony. You're right, this is all I wrote about Sam - I guess there is huge scope for a backstory here :) I'll see if I can get a revised version posted later today. It's mainly tweaks to the language which I think will improve the flow.

    • Posted 5 years ago