Bus Stop – Chapter 9

He shouldn’t have come to the stop early.  Libby always came around the same time – just a few minutes before his usual bus was due.  Sometimes they barely had time to say hello and he left her sitting in the stop, usually finishing her smoke.  Then there were days when the bus was late and they had a chat and a bit of a laugh.  So, all he had done by coming early today was to give himself longer to wait.  He earned some odd looks from other people who clambered aboard the early number three while he stared at his phone and tried to look as though he had everything under control.

She had to come, she just had to.  It was by no means an everyday occurrence, and he had no idea as what were the deciding factors.  Certainly not the weather, no matter if it was raining or sunny or blowing a hoolie she might turn up.  She was always dressed in her ankle boots, thick black tights, a short skirt and the leather jacket.  Now and again she would have a scarf wound round her neck, or her head or just wherever she had decided to put a bit of colour but that seemed random and unplanned.

His leg jigged up and down and he shuffled and shrugged his shoulders.  Please come, please please come.  And there she was.

“Hiya.”  She swung round the end of the shelter and flopped onto the little yellow seat.  “How are ya?”

“I’m fine, yeah – good thanks.  You?”

“Oh yeah.  So wassup?”

“How do you mean.  Nothing, no it’s fine.  Why should there be anything wrong?”

“Hey chill.  I just meant – well you know – what are you doing – how are things going?”

“Oh yeah, right – ‘course.  Fine, things are fine.”

“It doesn’t look like it – you’re well hyper.”

“No, no I’m not.”

“So what’s with the piston leg thing then?”

He glanced down, pressed a hand on his knee.  She lit up her joint.  “Do you have to do that?”


“Well that.  Don’t you worry?”


“Yes, you know worry that it might affect you.  Make you – oh I don’t know, unreliable?”

She spurted with laughter.  “This?” She waved the skinny spliff in front of him.  “This isn’t going to make me anything.  It has less effect than a couple of glasses of booze.  Don’t be a moron.”

“Well it’s just that every time I see you – here, you’re smoking.”

“Yeah well it’s my morning treat isn’t it.  Anyway I guess it’s none of your business Mr Moody.”

“No, no of course it’s not – I’m sorry.  I’m a bit uptight – you’re right.”

She peered at him.  “You know this is nothing, it’s barely a drug.  If you want something that’s really gonna have an impact you want something more than this weed.”

“Oh, I don’t want anything.”

“No, I know duh brain – all I’m saying is, this is nothing.  I can tell you about stuff that would really give you a reason to worry.  Stuff to get you high, stuff to bring you down and stuff to get you so fried you don’t know whether you’re here or hanging from a kite on Jupiter.   Have you never done stuff?”

“Well, yes of course I have.  I’ve smoked now and again, done some tabs at clubs but I don’t like it.  I don’t like the loss of control.”

“Ha, sometimes it’s not about the loss of control.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh nothing – look things are getting heavy.  Let’s leave it.  I smoke; it’s not your problem.”

“Yes, you’re right.  Sorry.”  She shrugged and inhaled deeply.

This wasn’t the way he expected the morning to go and it wasn’t helping him.

“Look, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

“Oh right – well looks like it’ll have to wait.  Here comes your bus.”  With a quick grin and a wave of her hand she pushed up from the seat and crossed the road.  She didn’t look back and he wasn’t sure whether they were at odds or not.  He needed her on his side.  If there was even the slightest chance that she could help him she really had to be on his side.

Someone came just after I woke.  I have no sense of time but I think it is morning.  It’s dark with the drapes closed and now that my sight is dim it is hard to tell whether or not I know them.  It could be the same one each time but I‘m not sure.  

This one was as always, quick and rough and silent.  There was no conversation.  They cleared away the mess from the night, the stench is less when that has gone but always there is an air of decay and despair.  I wish I could be sure, sure where I am.  Sometimes I think I know but then so many things confuse me and it seems impossible. I don’t know how long it has been like this or when it changed.  I know that my life was other, I remember things that happened so long ago but they sadden me and I can’t bear it. But I don’t remember how I came to this.

I feel so very alone.  Where have they gone the people who loved me? 

They brought a tray with toast and tea and while I sat and ate they changed the sheets.  It is bliss.  I am thankful for such small, small things.  Soon after they had gone my head began to spin and I have been woozy ever since but at least I am lying on a clean sheet.  I am so weak.  I would try to move about just a little but when I stand the room tilts and tips and nausea threatens.  Best to sleep.

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Finding Daniel has been renamed, polished and smoothed and is now living in Kindle land



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Bus Stop – Chapter 8

“Come in Jed, sit down.  Have you had your coffee or would you like one?”

“No, thanks I’m fine Mr Bailey.”

“Excellent.  Well this shouldn’t take too long. Mr Herriot is out of the office today so it’s just going to be us two.”

“Oh – right.”  He was struggling to keep his hands still, they wanted to wring together.  His palms were damp.  He tried to appear relaxed but had perched too far forward on the chair and now didn’t know how to slide backwards without looking as though he were fidgeting. His throat prickled, he tried to clear it quietly.  Simon Bailey raised his eyes from the folder he was reading and glanced across the gleaming wood of his desk.

“”Would you like some water?”

“Erm, no hmm.  Well, yes please. “

“Help yourself.”  The older man waved a hand in the direction of the side table.  There was juice and sparkling water in bottles and a thermos of coffee.  Jed leaned to the jug of still water and poured a small amount into a tumbler.  His hand shook as he poured.  He sipped.  Normally the partners were friendly and approachable but there was something in the air today, something that made his stomach churn and his neck itch under the stiff collar.

When he sat back down he slid a little further back on the leather seat, damn it they were uncomfortable chairs.  In the corner of the office was a group of small settees around a low coffee table, the area for informal chats with clients and where the staff gathered for drinks at closing time on Christmas Eve.  This though, this was formal and intimidating and he wanted it over.  He wanted to know if he’d still have a job at the end of the month and if he did, just what it was going to be leading to, if anything.

His boss laid a hand on the file and looked up, he smiled.  “How are your parents Jed?”

“Fine, they’re fine thank you.”

“Good, excellent.  I played a round with your father a couple of weeks ago, he beat me again.”  A quiet laugh followed, but it didn’t hide the message.  I am friendly with your father, he and I go back a long way and I gave you this job because he put your name forward.

“Right, yes – he said he’d seen you.” Jed found himself nodding and felt like a stuffed puppy in the back window of a car, he had to stop.  He nodded a couple more times, when he raised his eyes it was to find Mr Bailey watching him, his eyebrows raised quizzically.

“Now then.  I see you have finished at the college yes?”

“Yes sir.”

“Oh now come on Jed, no need for formality.  You know we don’t expect that sort of thing from our team.”

“No sir, well sorry s.. erm yes. I’ve finished yes.”

“How did it go?”

“I think it went okay thank you.  I have a good projected result.  I have been in the top five percentile all the way through.”

“Excellent.  Well, I look forward to hearing those when they come through.  And, in the office, how do you think things are going downstairs.”

“Oh okay, yes I think it’s all going fine.  Steven seems happy enough.”

“Yes – I’ve spoken to Steven of course.”  He lowered his gaze and turned over a couple of pages.  He nodded.  He frowned.

“I don’t think there are any problems.  If there are he hasn’t said anything.”

“Quite, quite, yes well there we are.  Have you given any thought to what you are going to do next?”


“Yes, now that your exams are over what are your plans.”

“Well, I erm.  I thought maybe I would give it a few more years, get some more experience before I decide whether to erm well, maybe specialise in some way.”

“I see.  Nothing more concrete?”

“Naturally I would like to handle more prestigious properties.  Up to now I have only had the smaller, less valuable listings.  Of course I realise that everyone has to do that.  I’m not complaining, it’s just that I do feel that I’m ready to move up a gear.”

“Oh, I see.  I assume you realise that the property market is still very difficult.”

“Oh yes, I read the trade magazines of course though things are looking up aren’t they.”

“In some areas.”

God this was awful .  He was getting no real feedback, no indication of how it was going or, even yet an idea of what he had been called in to hear.

Mr Bailey linked his fingers together on the desk in front of him.  He raised his eyes to meet Jed’s.  Oh here it comes.

“As you know Jed we are very fully staffed.”

“Yes sir.”

“We have been quite satisfied with your performance, to an extent.  We’ve had no complaints as such.  I’m going to be honest with you though Jed.”  He leaned away from the desk, smiled a little, sugar with the medicine.  “You haven’t sparkled.  I was rather hoping for something more from you, more flair – do you understand?”

“Flair, right.  Well I don’t really know – I mean – it’s been difficult only handling the small places and there are so many agents and only so much property available.”  As he said it he knew he was digging a great big hole and jumping in with both feet and a shovel.

“Yes, exactly.  In times such as these, we need everyone to put in that extra effort.  Do you understand?  Good isn’t enough, we need excellent.”

“Yes, sir of course and now my exams are out of the way I’m ready to throw myself right into it.”

The boss simply tipped his head to one side.  The silence grew – and grew.

“I’m sorry you’ve been disappointed with my work.”

“Not disappointed Jed.  Not so much disappointed as well, what shall I say?  Under-impressed, yes.  We have had a chat Simon, Steven and myself and we think that maybe you’ve allowed yourself to coast a little, perhaps assume advantages that weren’t really there.  Family associations and so on.”

“Well the exams recently and erm.”

“Yes, but they’re only a part of the whole picture aren’t they?”  Jed could only nod.  His heart was on the floor, he was about to be left with no choice wasn’t  he?  He was going to have to leap before he was pushed, he wasn’t ready to resign.  He had nowhere to go.


“Actually, I am really glad we have had this opportunity to talk sir.”

“Oh” The older man was thrown for a moment, hadn’t expected to have the ball snatched from his hand.  He waited.

“Yes, I’ve been intending to come and speak to you.  I don’t want to go over Steven’s head with this but I just thought that it might be something I should speak to, well someone more senior about.”


“Yes.  The Willows.”

“The estate by the river?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“Well, what about it?”

“I have heard, from a reliable source.” What was he doing?  A reliable source! “It may be available shortly.”

“Really?”  Simon leaned forward, a spark in his eye that hadn’t been there moments before.

“Yes, and this person, erm this source has access to the family.  Well, not to put too fine a point on it I think it may be possible that they will be happy for me to act for them – when the time comes that is.”

“Well now that is interesting.  Very interesting indeed.  Right.  Well for the time being let’s keep this quiet.  I’m sure you are aware of how the jungle drums can spoil a deal.  Keep me informed and we’ll see how we go.  That is very interesting news indeed.  A place like that.  Well I don’t need to tell you what sort of figures we’re talking about – right.  Well, do let me know about your results when they come in now won’t you.  Best to your parents.  Thanks for coming in for this chat.”

Jed sat at his desk , his head in his hands.  The others left him alone believing  they knew what had happened.  They were already planning the whip round for his leaving present.  Right at that moment, a whip round and a leaving present would have been the most welcome thing he could think of.  He couldn’t believe what he had just done, what an idiot he had just made of himself.

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Bus Stop – Chapter 7

“You’re miles away, you’ll miss your bus if you don’t watch out.”

“Hello Libby. Yeah I’ve got an interview today with the partners.  An assessment and what they called a “chat” about my future development.”

“Oh cool.”

“Well not really.  I’m a bit worried they’re going to tell me I’m out.”

“How do you mean out?”

“Out you know, sacked.”

“No shit, can they do that?”

“Yes of course they can.  It’s their business.  They can do what they like and to be honest, with the way things are in the property market at the moment we are probably over-staffed.”

“Yeah but why you, you just took your exams and everything didn’t you?”

“Yes, but that doesn’t matter. It’s all about the bottom line, bringing in the money and I’m not.”

“I thought you sold that house last week?”

“Oh I did, I am selling bits and pieces but it’s all just small potatoes.”

“Oh so you sell veg as well?”

“Ha ha aren’t you the witty one this morning.” He leaned and gave  her a little push.  Her jacket sleeve wrinkled up her forearm revealing red wheals and scratches.”

“Shit, what did you do?”

“What?”  She glanced down.  “Oh that, it’s nothing, just stuff from work.”

“Blimey, you should get danger money.”

“Yeah, bloody right.  Anyway what about you and your assessment?  What would make a difference?”

“Oh nothing that I can do much about right now.  I need to move things up a notch or two.  Get some good stuff.  I’ve tried, I went to a thing with my dad, hob nobbed with some of the money but you just have to be in the right place at the right time.”

“Like when someone has a place to sell?”

“Yeah that’s it.  Oh listen it might all be okay.  I don’t know, maybe it is just what they said it is a chat about my future.”

“Well, if it’s not – if they do give you the push, what will you do then?”

Jed shrugged, shook his head.  “I don’t know.  I suppose I’d have to move away.  Go up to London if I could find work there or just re-think the whole damn thing.  Shit.”

“Oh come on, don’t be glum.  Hey, what if you could tell them you might have a big deal coming up soon.  You know make em think that they have to keep you on because there is something brewing?”

“Well yes, but I haven’t that’s the problem.”

“Do you know The Willows?”

“That great big place over by the river, yeah.”

“Well that’s where I work.”

“Oh right.”

“Thing is I heard that they might be selling that.”

“Who might?”

“Well – duh the owners.”

“Bloody hell really.  Who owns it now?”

“Oh some posh family.  Anyway, I could sort of put your name in with them couldn’t I, the family?”

He didn’t want to piss on her chips but as she sat there in front of him, her nails chipped and bitten and her hair in need of a wash the thought that she could put his name forward to anyone of consequence was laughable.  He was kind though, “Well, yeah that’d be brilliant.  Really great, yeah, I appreciate that.”

The answering smile was bright and genuine and the morning was a little better.

My arms hurt and my face is sore.  Something has hurt me.  I can’t remember.  Was there a conflict of some sort? a struggle? and my hair  – I have been shaved.  When  I rub my hand across my skull there is a stubble, short and stark.  It is shocking, though in truth now that the knots and tangles have gone I feel cleaner.  I am the shorn lamb.  How can this have happened? How can my world, so warm and blessed have become so dark and hateful?  What did I do wrong?  I have bruises on my hands; I can see them in the dim light, dark roses blooming against the snow.  My head is throbbing.  At least I have juice to drink.  It’s sweet but the aftertaste is bitter, maybe it is grapefruit, or some artificial concoction. 

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Bus Stop – Chapter 6

At last the exams were over.  Jed had enjoyed the course, it was interesting and played to his strengths, and the day to day experience in the agency had added another dimension.  He was happy with that side of things.

Work was still a trudge though and now there was the constant niggle of what to do about his future.  While he was at college he could tell himself he was moving forward, now it was over he had been swept by the realisation that he was stuck.

“Hey gloomy, wassup?”

“Hi Libby.” After the evening at the pub they met often in the mornings.  She would plonk down on the seat beside him, light up a spliff and sit and chat until his bus came.  He looked forward to it.  “No, nothing really.  Just thinking you know, about the future.  I’ve finished at the college and I need to start to move along.  I need to start earning some serious money.”

“How are you gonna do that then?”  She grinned and raised her eyebrows, tipped her head to one side the question implicit in her actions.

“Important properties, that’s the way.  I need to start handling some really good properties.  Big houses, estates, that sort of thing!”

“Well, you work in an estate agents, what’s the problem.”

“Ha, yeah.  You have to prove yourself.  You have to show em that you can move them along.”


“So, first of all you have to get them and you can’t do that until you prove yourself.  It’s a vicious circle. You need people who want you personally to do the work for them.  Networking, that’s the key.  You have to meet the right people and make the right impression.”

“Can’t you do that then?  You said your mum and dad are pretty rich.”

“Did I?”

“Yeah in the pub.  You said your dad was on the committee at the golf club and your mum was minted.”

“I did not.”  He nudged her with his arm, that mischievous glint in her eye delighted him. “I said my mum didn’t work.”

“Well, same thing innit?”

He couldn’t deny it.  His family were well off with money on both sides, and his dad had a successful career as an accountant and tax advisor.

“Well I suppose.  It takes time though, to build up your contacts.”

“They should help you, your mum and dad. Why don’t they?”

“Well, I don’t know – well no.  I have to do it myself don’t I?  I mean they looked after me when I was a kid, paid for school, all that stuff.  I’m on my own now.  That’s right isn’t it?  I still live there yeah but only until I get sorted.”

She shrugged, “Seems odd to me but then – well – I never knew my mum and dad much.”

She had told him nothing about her life, past or present.  He had asked about her work but she would say only that she worked as ‘a sort of caretaker and cleaner.’

“Anyway, what about you?  You busy?”

“Oh same old stuff you know.  Just moving dust and weeding paths.”

“Do you fancy a drink later, after work?”

“No, not today – I can’t.  Tomorrow though, tomorrow – I’ll meet you by your office.”

“Oh okay.”

I am disoriented again, the room spins and tips.  I can’t keep awake.  I have slept I know and while I slept they have cleaned.  My pretence of a toilet has been emptied.  Thank God, I can lift it now and use it without spilling.  I don’t know who comes, but it is when I am asleep and I sleep so much. 

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Bus Stop – Chapter 5

“How did it go Jed?”

“Morning Samantha – yes I think it went well.  I did some back checking when I got home and I think I did okay.”

“Great  – when’s the next one?”

“Two days.  Then the final one next week on Wednesday and then the wait.”

“Have you got plans for afterwards?”

“How do you mean?”

“When you get your quals?  What are you going to do?  Are you moving on or hoping for a few more years here?”

“I guess I want to stay here for a bit longer at least.  Get more experience and then… …” he shrugged his shoulders.

“The ships pretty full here just now isn’t it?  There’s not much chance for promotion, not unless someone bumps off Steven, which is not impossible.”  Samantha was grinning at him now but his stomach had tied in knots a bit.  He hadn’t given it enough thought and had known for a while that he should be doing.  What was the point in all the study and the exams if, in the end he would just be coming in every day, sitting at the same desk and handling the same cruddy houses and flats.

He felt depressed and a bit stupid.  He knew that Samantha had a very specific career plan that involved her getting a job in London and although she had made no secret of it the firm had kept her on.  She was too good to let go until she made the decision.  That was what he should be aiming at; making an impression, ensuring that he was noticed.

He fiddled with the pens on his desk and answered a couple of emails.  There was an appointment in the early afternoon and then nothing booked.  It wasn’t very inspiring.  He was marking time wasn’t he?  He looked around the office.  Four other agents in his section and all of them with more properties and more earning potential than he had.  Even Dave, the sixty year old was selling more, bringing more in, and so making more money.  Dave, who openly admitted that after all his years in the business, divorced from his wife and with no children was just coasting until it was time to move to the place he’d bought years ago in the country when property was cheaper.  Then he’d start living on the pension plan he’d paid into for ever, and concentrate on his real love, fishing.

He needed to get himself sorted.  He had to have a plan and start to make waves.  He walked across to the property boards.  The cheap little places were at the far end of the office away from the door.  He went to the Premier section, the houses with swimming pools and paddocks and sweeping driveways.  That was where the money was.  Though none of them were actually “his” that didn’t mean that he couldn’t work on them, see if he could find some interest.  He should go to the golf club with his dad.  The very thought bored him rigid but that was the sort of place to see and be seen. He should start going to some of the events at the Chamber of Commerce.  He needed to start mixing with movers and shakers.  He needed to get his arse into gear and start making some serious money.

“Lusting after a seven bedroom country home eh Jed?”

“Oh hi Steven, just looking you know.  Just keeping up to date.”

“Good man.”

Jed hissed under his breath as his supervisor clapped him on the shoulder and then swaggered off to his teeny, glass walled office, stopping on the way to chat to the secretary.

“Arrogant bugger.”   He’d show him, he’d leave him standing in the dust.

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Bus Stop – Chapter 4

Another frustrating two hours spent showing people round property they never had any intention of buying.  More and more he was becoming convinced that he had made a dreadful error with his choice of career.

He could have done something else, his A levels had been good enough.  It had just seemed so easy.  He’d seen the programmes on the television and watched the glamorous presenters searching out houses for rich clients.  He had seen them travelling to Europe and beyond, all expenses paid to find A Place in France or A Villa in Italy and here he was brewing a cup of instant coffee after trudging round a run-down semi with a cheap kitchen and plastic window frames.

He sighed.

“Do you have any idea how often you do that?”  He spun round to find Samantha leaning against the door frame, grinning at him.

“Do what?”

“That sigh.  Blowing through your nose like that.  Like a pissed off dragon.”

“Heh, right – do I?”

“Yeah.  Make us a cup will you.  I have to go out in quarter of an hour and I don’t think I’ll get another chance.”


“Is everything alright?”  She waved a hand at him, “You know with the big sigh and all.”

“Oh yes, it’s just one of those days I guess.  Nothing seems to be moving and I’m feeling a bit frustrated.  Plus I’ve got my first exam tomorrow.  I’m not really worried but,” he shrugged his shoulders.

“Yeah, I know.  You’ll be fine though.  I’m sure you will.”

He handed her the mug of coffee and squeezed past her on his way back to his desk.  He glanced up at the window just in time to see the girl turn away.  He peered across the office.  Was it her?  The black jacket looked familiar and the dishevelled fall of dark hair, but he couldn’t be sure.  For a moment he thought about running out into the street, going after her.  It was ridiculous of course.  He turned back to his desk and picked up the phone to make a report on the viewing.  Time to sell some good spin to the hopeful owners of the run down semi.  He sighed and then grinned as Samantha raised her eyebrows at him as she walked by.

“Day off tomorrow Jed?”  Steven paused on the way out of the office.

“Yes, that’s right.  Exam.”

“Yes, well if you get a chance after that we could do with updating the particulars of 15 Old Road and the offices at The Marlins.”

“Oh but, I’ve booked the whole day.  It’s unpaid leave, I thought that was the usual deal.”

“Well, you won’t get on if you don’t put in the time now will you mate.  Up to you of course, but it’d look better if you do some work as well.  You could do it at home and send them in for Molly to print off and upload to the website.”

“Right, right I’ll do that then.”  So that was it, the plan for a trip to see his sister was finished, and by suggesting he do it at home Steven had pretty much guaranteed that the work be unpaid. He grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair and stormed out.  It wasn’t finishing time but he knew anger would get in the way of him doing any more meaningful work.

He stalked to the stop and for once the bus was on time.  He clambered aboard and flung himself into the first empty place.

“Finishing early?”  The girl plonked down on the adjoining seat and grinned at him, brown eyes twinkling and he noticed for the first time the tiny diamond nose stud.


“So, you please yourself then do you?”

“No – well not really it’s just – oh I was pissed off to be honest, with my boss and so I decided to call it a day.”

“Oh right.  Is he a pig then – your boss?”

“Well he’s a bit of a wanker sometimes and he just made me mad.”

“Right – pub then?”


“We should go to the pub – have a drink – slag him off.  It’ll make you feel better.”

“Are you not working?”  As he said it he had the sudden thought that maybe she was out of work and he’d put her on the spot, but she just shook her head.  “I have pretty flexible hours as long as stuff gets done.”

“Oh right. Okay then why not? The Feathers okay with you?”  If they went to the pub near his home he could get smashed if he wanted and it was an easy walk to the house.

“No, let’s go somewhere here, let’s get off at the next stop and go in the first pub we see.”

Someone has been today, someone has been.  The place has been cleaned a little.  I must have been deeply asleep.  How can that be, that they can do all this without me knowing?  My head is hurting again and my vision is blurred.  There is juice though and a small sandwich.  It’s dry and dull but it’s good to eat something.

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Bus Stop – Chapter 3


Jed spun around to see the small, dark girl hanging onto the corner post of the bus stop. She was leaning in and swinging back and forth a little.

“Oh hello.”

“Dry today then.  That make you happier?”  He didn’t answer for a moment, he wasn’t sure how to react, couldn’t decide whether or not she was mocking him.

“Well at least I won’t have to sit in the office in wet socks.”  He grinned, giving her the benefit of the doubt.

“Did you have a good week?”

“Yeah, blimey is it a week since?”

“Since what?”  He could have bitten off his tongue.  He didn’t want her to know he’d thought about her, watched for her every morning.

“Since I saw you?”  It was the only way to answer.

“Yeah – a week.”

“Is it your day off again?”

“No, not today – I’m just going to the newsagents.  I saw you, thought I’d come over and say hello.”

“Ah right.  Do you work locally then?”

She’d slipped into the shelter by now and dragged a small box from her pocket.  She took out a spliff  and lit up.  He had to admit he was impressed at her nerve, her total confidence.  She offered him a toke but he held up his hand, shook his head.  She shrugged and drew on the skinny joint, screwing up her eyes from the smoke.  “Well do you? Work round here?”  He asked again, more to cover the moment than from a real need to know.  He was nervous on her behalf.

“Yeah, oh look here’s your bus.  The number three, right?”

“Yes, yes that’s it.”

“See ya.” And she was gone.  By the time the bus pulled away from the stop she was already out of sight inside the little shop.

She was cute, there was something about her that appealed to him in spite of the marijuana.  She gave the impression of being amused by everything.  Probably what his mother would have called flighty really.  Not like Laura his oh so perfect sister, apple of his parents eyes.  Laura with her degree in biology and her job at the hospital.  Laura with her oh so serious boyfriend Gavin, who worked in the same place.

He sighed, it wasn’t Laura’s fault but she made him feel as though he was failing.  He knew he should stop comparing himself to her, to people at work, to so called celebrities but it all seemed to be taking so much time.  In spite of what he had said it did seem years and years since he’d left school and started working at the office and he was still in college and still earning a skinny wage and living at home.

He wondered briefly where she lived, the thin girl.  She couldn’t live round here surely.  The houses round here were all upwards of half a million, most of them much more and she had looked, well, a bit shabby.  Mind you he lived here, him with his measly salary and his well to do mum and dad so maybe she lived at home as well.  It appealed; he’d have nothing to live up to with her.  They’d be the same.  Yes, it appealed.

He shrugged his shoulders, what was he doing?  He didn’t even know her name.  He’d seen her a couple of times at the bus stop.  Still she had something.  Again he felt his face crease into an un-morning expression.  Smiling on the bus to work, well that’d have to stop; people would think he was a weirdo.

I need to drink but can’t reach the water.  I feel the  useless tears trickle down my cheeks and into my ears.  I disgust myself with the smell of my space.  Crying won’t help but what more can I do.  Except to pray for the end.


Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Bus Stop – Chapter 2

There was no reason to suppose the girl would be there again, she hadn’t ever been there on the countless other mornings.  Even yesterday it seemed that she had merely taken a brief respite from the rain, because she hadn’t waited to catch a bus.  Nevertheless Jed watched out for her, not in an open watchful way but simply scanning the few people out and about and a couple of brief glances back the way that he had seen her leaving the day before.

She didn’t come and he shrugged his shoulders as he climbed onto the number three.

It was a good morning, they took on several new properties and even better they completed on two.   Final and completed and money in the bank.  The downside was that they were neither of them his but, on the other hand they were important properties so there would be drinks at lunch time in the pub.

“So, how’s tricks Jed?”  He’d tried to avoid Steven but now found himself standing at the bar with a Senior Agent who was Supervisor of his section.

“Yeah fine thanks. You?”

“Oh yes, things looking good.  Two viewings this afternoon over at The Park,” he named the prestigious new development they had been commissioned to handle.

“Great.  Big ones are they?”

“Yeah, both on the side near the woods, six beds, five baths.  They’re moving  well.  Of course you haven’t actually got any of them have you?”

“No.” Sod him, he knew full well what was in Jed’s portfolio, “Bit of a coup for Simon – Brestwick Hall.  Lucky him finding that hotel developer.”

“Oh luck has nothing to do with it mate.  It’s all about who you know.  Networking, that’s the key.”

“Right, well anyway better get these drinks over to the table eh, Samantha looks as though she’s spitting feathers.”

“Off you go then Jed.  Oh before you go, any movement on that little place down the High Street?”

“No, afraid not, it’s pretty naff you know.  There’s damp and the wood’s rotten in most of the windows.”

“Ah well, do what you can eh.  Got to go over now and hob nob with Simon and Charles.”  With that he swaggered off with a bottle of Moet and four glasses towards the table where the partners were sitting with the new owner of Brestwick Hall, a huge country pile that was now earmarked for development into a “Bistro” hotel and Spa.  Jed picked up the tray and joined the others in the window.

“You okay Jed, you look like a wet weekend?”

“Yeah I’m fine, just bloody Simon blowing his own trumpet again.”

“Oh don’t take any notice.”

“I know, I know but he’s such a prick.  He knows that place down the High Street is going to hang on and hang on and yet he’s always rubbing it in.  He’s got two more properties over at The Park as well, more high commission work.”

“Hey come on, give it time.  You do okay.”

“I suppose, but sometimes I get sick of handling the crud.”

“Yeah we know how that feels.  Until I went into the Commercial Section I got all the nasty little places as well.  Just bide your time.  Anyway you’ve got exams coming up soon haven’t you?”


“How’s that going then.”

“Okay, I’ve enjoyed the course, I reckon I’ll be okay.  I’ll be glad when it’s all done though.”  The pretty blonde raised her glass and glanced around the table.

“Good luck then, I hope you ace it and then you can set up your own business and we’ll all come and work for you and you can turn down Simon.”  Jed grinned as the little group clinked their glasses.  He glanced over to the partners table.  One day, one day he’d be sitting there.


Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Bus Stop – Chapter 1

Okay this is a bit odd and I don’t know how well it’s working but I’m having a bit of fun with it and as ever I think that’s what counts.


It was one of those days that was wet before it started.  Before the grey light had leached into the morning it was already sodden.  Jed arrived at the inadequate shelter of the measly two sides of Perspex that made up the bus shelter, soaked.  His short black jacket was shower proof but this wasn’t a shower.  The damp had already wormed through the fabric of his M & S suit and made it as far as his shirt, turning the crisp cotton into a crinkled rag.  His trousers were wet to above the knees and the moisture had soaked into his shoes, chilling his feet and turning his socks into unfriendly wet wraps.  On top of that he knew that when he arrived at the office the heating would be on and he would sit at his desk hoping no-one noticed the gentle cloud of steam rising from his legs.

He swiped aside the water that dripped from his fringe onto his lashes and leant forward to peer into the rain-washed distance.  The number three, often unreliable would no doubt be totally absent today.  He heaved a sigh, blowing air through his nostrils and dragged his mobile from his pocket.  There was a message from Bella, two words, No thanks.  Okay that relationship was a squib as damp as the morning and he might just as well let it go.  In fairness he’d seen it coming and now most of what he felt was a relief of tension.

He perched on the tiny plastic bum support and waited with his elbows on his knees, his chin on his fists and his spirit somewhere down in his damp footwear.

The seat jerked and he cast his eyes to the side.  Black opaque tights and ankle boots rapidly being ruined by the rain.  The short denim skirt was patched with damp, he slid his eyes on upwards.  A black leather jacket, water running in tiny cascades across the front.  Further up still, dark rat’s tails of hair dripping onto narrow shoulders.

She was smiling as he raised his gaze to her face and she lifted her arms towards him and shook them.  Water shot from the sleeve ends and she laughed aloud as he leaned away raising a hand in defence.

“Hey, you’re wet already, a little more won’t make any difference.”

He grinned back at her, “I guess not.  Bloody horrible morning!”

“No, not really.”  He blinked and pulled back his head.  “It’s wet sure but that’s not horrible it’s just wet.”

“Yeah right.”  He turned away now, irritated and chastised by her response.

“You going to work?”

“Yes. You?”

“Uh-hu.  Day off.”

“Day off and you came out in this?”

“Yeah.  Outs good.  Where do you work then?”

“Bailey and Herriot.  Estate agents.”  He waited for the usual reaction, the sarcastic sneer and knowing look but her response surprised him.

“Oh cool, houses and flats?”

“Yes, and some offices.”

“That must be fun, seeing into other people’s places.”  She had thrown him.  He had no illusions, the general public regarded estate agents as just above investment bankers in the dishonest wanker stakes but her eyes were alight with interest.

“Well, it can be.”

It wasn’t, it was mostly frustrating and often disappointing but her eyes asked for fun and he felt compelled to provide it.  “Some of the better houses, you know the bigger houses, that’s fun but we do handle some really grotty places as well.”

“Still, peeking into private lives it’s got to be interesting.”

“Well, I guess so – sometimes anyway.”

“You worked there long?”

“About five years.”

“Oh you must be pretty senior then.” He didn’t answer for a moment, was this friendly teasing or was she being sarcastic?  She was sitting with him in a rain-soaked bus stop at half past eight on a late autumn morning; he was dressed in a cheap suit and a short jacket.  Did she really believe that he was a senior member of staff at one of the most prestigious real Estate Agencies in the town?  He didn’t think so.

“Yeah right.”  He turned away.

“Sorry, did I say something wrong?” when he turned back her expression looked genuinely concerned.  Maybe she wasn’t being derogatory, maybe she really didn’t understand about four-wheel drive cars and bespoke tailoring.

“No, not really.  I’m a junior agent with them.  Five years is not that long you know and I’m still training.”

“Oh sorry.  I didn’t mean anything, I just thought well you know – five years it’s a long time.”

“Not really, and as I say I’m still training. Part time course.  Surveying.  At the college.”


“Anyway, here’s my bus.  Nice to meet you, have a good day.” She grinned at him again and raised a hand, an almost wave.  He climbed into the steamy fug and flashed his travel pass.  By the time he’d reached the seat at the back she had left the bus stop and was walking slowly down the road.  She walked with her head up letting the rain soak her hair and face and as the bus passed she turned and grinned at him again.  He sat for a while with the answering grin on his face.

I’m cold, I’m frightened.  I think it’s morning but it’s always dark so I can’t be sure.  There is no sound.  Am I alone again?  I don’t want to be alone again. I ache.


Filed under Serials