Calvin woke blinking in the weak sunlight that filtered through the dirty window well at least the apartment was warm. For a few minutes he lay there then hunger raised its head. With a small sigh, he stretched, got out of bed dressed then headed for his mother’s room.
‘Mamma’ the boy said shaking her gently.
‘Yes Baby?’ was the sleepy reply.
‘We got something to eat Mamma?’
‘Don’t think so.’
He tried again. ‘I’m hungry, mama.’
‘Don’t keep on I am tired.’ his mother said.
‘But Mamma I need some food.’ His persistent pleas finally brought a reaction.
His mother raised herself and reached for her purse looking in each compartment.
‘Here, go get some chicken and fries.’ She said turning away under the covers.
Calvin put on his grubby parka, it was too big but warm. There were streaks where he wiped his nose on the sleeves. His trainers were split where his feet were growing; his jeans frayed where they dragged along the floor, but they were all he had.
Closing the door of their apartment, he walked along the passageway smelling the cooking of other apartments, cabbage, spicy aromas, and all the normal smells he had grown up with. In the stairwell, rubbish was piled up stinking throughout the building, nothing different here. Outside it was damp, cold and dangerous the world did not seem to like him he had to keep his eyes open and be alert.
‘Hello Calvin.’ He gave a small jump he had not seen the boys
‘Hi,’ said Calvin watching them carefully.
The six teenagers spread out around Calvin, it was too late to run.
‘What are you doing out here Calvin?’ asked the biggest.
‘Just looking around.’ replied Calvin.
‘You don’t just look around Calvin. You stay in the warm, and you only come out when you are going to get something.’ said another of the boys.
‘Got any money Calvin?’ asked the big one. The fear in the boy was real these gangs terrorized him all his life.
‘Look you got to understand.’ he started to say.
‘Calvin, come on, you don’t want us to shake you we might catch a disease or get fleas.’ they said.
‘It’s not fair.’ He started to protest, but they were not interested in his problems.
‘Just hand it over,’ the biggest boy snarled leaning closer.
Kelvin took the two notes from his pocket looking at them, feeling the hunger.
A hand reached out and snatched the money. ‘See you around Calvin.’ they jeered.
He watched as the youths walked towards the sidewalk. The cold and damp was all around him; his world had just ended, tears were running down his face. ‘Where do I go? They know I have got nothing, why take my money?’ Calvin said to no one in particular, there were pains in his stomach, despair filling his being.
‘Don’t cry boy!’ said a voice.
‘They stole my money; I got nothing to eat.’ Calvin wailed.
‘Oh. You want food!’ replied the voice.
‘Yeh!’ Calvin wiped his nose on his sleeve then looked around, no one was there. Calvin stopped
‘No boy I am not your imagination neither can you see me, but I can help. Let’s go down Main Street.’ The voice said.
‘But I ain’t got no money.’ replied Calvin still looking for the person talking, not quite believing what he was told.
‘Never know what’s about’ said the voice.
As they walked a light rain fell and started to putt a shine on the cars, but there was a chill inside the boy. Lights shone out from an eating house, fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza. Calvin could feel the hunger gnawing at him.
‘Let’s go round the back alley.’ Suggested the voice.
Calvin turned through a small gap into an area where deliveries were made. Here dustbins and dumpsters were lined up with cardboard boxes piled high against the walls.
‘You want food?’ the Voice asked again.
‘Yeh man’. Replied Calvin looking around again.
‘Knock on one of the doors and ask if they have any work.’ The Voice suggested.
Calvin walked up to a big metal door, with water running down it.
A hesitation, Calvin looked over his shoulder not certain if this was a good idea.
‘Go on!’ ordered the Voice.
Calvin banged on the door, and stood there waiting:
‘Do it again.’ said the Voice.
He hit the door harder.
The door had flown open, and a man stood there.
‘Got any work?’ Calvin asked.
The man looked at the scrawny, dirty boy.
‘Get outa here.’ he growled and the door slammed shut.
Calvin stood frozen to the spot.
‘Try next door.’ ordered the Voice.
‘Ok.’ Calvin replied.
A similar scenario developed with matching consequences.
‘This ain’t going to work.’ Sighed Calvin.
‘Yes it will.’ asserted the Voice ‘try again.’
Another metal door, it looked daunting.
‘Knock!’ the Voice ordered.
‘Yeh, Yeh, Ok give me a break.’ Calvin replied not really believing the words and feeling it wasn’t going to work.
He banged on the door, then again.
‘What do you want?’ the man asked.
‘Got any work?’ Calvin asked.
The man stood considering, looking at this dirty ragamuffin of a boy.
‘I just want some food.’ stated Calvin.
The man came to a decision ‘Ok, empty these rubbish cans outside into the containers.’
‘Yes sir.’ Calvin said with surprise and excitement.
Inside the back door Calvin found six large cans which he dragged outside one at a time and then emptied. It was hard work and they were heavy for him, but it was soon done then he went inside.
‘Take your coat off.’ The man said.
He pulled a box towards the sink ‘Here stand on this box, wash these trays.’ He said.
‘Yes sir.’ Replied Calvin it was like.
Calvin stood on the box and started washing the trays, up to his elbows in hot soapy water. Pieces of food were attached to the tins which Calvin scraped off and ate before plunging them into the water. He was so hungry he would have licked the trays clean if nobody had been around, but what food he got from them tasted good.
The grime from his hands and arms was soon washed away as he scraped and scrubbed, two hours later the cooking utensils were all washed and put away.
‘Here you are kid, sit here.’ The man said.
‘Thank you sir.’ said a grateful Calvin.
A huge plate of food was placed before him, where to start? It was probably all the left over’s from the day but he set his mind and started eating, munching his way thru with a large cup of coffee to wash it all down, this was a delight.
‘Excuse me sir.’ He said when he had finished.
‘Could I do some work tomorrow?’ asked Calvin.
‘Well, to be honest you smell a mite,’ came the reply.
‘Oh!’ this was a setback, the disappointment was huge.
‘Well we shall see.’ the man relented.
‘Yes sir.’ Calvin brightened a little.
He turned and walked out of the rear door. ‘Night!’ he called
‘Yeh,’ the reply followed him out.
The door slammed, he heard the heavy bolts going across.
‘Did you eat?’ it was the Voice again
‘Yeh I am so full I could explode.’ he replied.
‘Good.’ it said.
‘Going back tomorrow?’ the Voice enquired.
‘I asked, but he said I smelled bad.’ Calvin replied.
‘Do you?’ the Voice asked.
‘Suppose so.’ Calvin replied thoughtfully.
‘When did you have a bath last?’ mused the Voice.
‘A bath.’ Calvin was so surprised there was a pause ‘Don’t know.’ he replied.
‘Right when you get home run a bath.’ The voice instructed.
‘You have clean clothes?’ another question.
‘No, haven’t had any for a while’
‘Right, when you run the bath put all your clothes into it.’ more instructions.
‘Not my jacket!’ this was a shock question.
‘Yes jacket and trainers.’ the Voice said.
‘Ok but what do I wear?’ Calvin asked bemused.
‘Are the radiators on?’ enquired the Voice.
‘Right put your clothes on the radiators they should be dry by morning.’ It said ‘you must have a bath every couple of days.’
‘Every couple of days!’ Calvin was really surprised
‘Yes and wash your clothes.’ Replied the Voice
Calvin trudged home, his stomach hurt, he couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten this amount.
Why did he have to get in the bath? The apartment was empty nothing unusual in that, his mother went out late for work and her medicine. There was music from downstairs, somewhere a couple were arguing, just background noise.
He stood looking at the bath remembering the good food, work, and the words ‘Oh well,’ he thought. He put the plug in and then turned on a flow of water, soap, have we got any, no, none here, the kitchen, what have we got, washing powder I suppose that will do.
He sprinkled powder into the filling bath, putting his hand in. Ouch! That was hot, turn that tap off turn on the other. Calvin took off his clothes and checked the pockets, nothing.
‘Oh well can’t just look at it.’ He thought
Into the bath went his clothes, all of them, everything that was laying around in his room and the two pairs of trainers. Ok now to test the water not too hot. He stood there looking.
‘I’ll get a cold standing here,’ he thought so he climbed in, turning off the cold water, pushing the clothes under, bubbles had appeared in large numbers:
Dunking his head underwater he surfaced again it felt nice and warm, he began pushing the clothes around the tub. The water was getting darker as the soap suds and hot water started to have an effect, first on Calvin then his clothes. He moved up and down the bath acting like a rotator on the clothes, squeezing and rubbing just like his mother sometimes did with her clothes.
The skin on his fingers started to go wrinkly from washing-up in the restaurant and now being in the bath. He climbed out dripping on the floor and stood looking at the clothes then he reached in and pulled the plug.
Where’s the towel? he went to look for one. None in this room, what’s in his mother’s room, no, ah, some in this draw, he stood rubbing himself all over then with the towel wrapped around him, he realized he didn’t have any clothes to wear.
Back into the bathroom, the bath had emptied but clothes were still draining. He lifted up the two pairs of trainers and wedged them over the taps, water ran from them. Next he lifted the parka it was really heavy, water poured from it.
‘What do I do?’ he thought. ‘Get a coat hanger. Yes now where, of course mother’s room, here we are.’
Calvin returned to the bathroom with a coat hanger, he put his parka on it where to hang it? God this heavy but he managed to lift it up and hang it on the window handle. The water was running into the bath, good.
Now to squeeze out the socks, didn’t know I had so many, spread these over a radiator. The rest of the clothes were squeezed out removed then laid around the remaining hot pipes and radiators, making a hot fog which filled the rooms. Well, tomorrow they will be dry, hopefully.
He opened his eyes to find the windows were covered in condensation.
Reaching down, he scratched his legs. Bed bugs, they get everywhere, he got up and began walking about checking his clothes. Some socks are dry, that’s good, pants and vest, yes! Some clean clothes.
The trainers are still damp, so he put two on to the radiator. He wondered if he should open a window no, someone will break in.
‘Mamma, mamma!’ he called heading for her room, but the bed was empty.
Into the kitchen, nothing in the bread bin, no cereals, milk, fridge empty.
Calvin heard the front door open and went into the hall.
‘Baby, I am really tired baby.’ His mother said.
‘Mamma got any food.’
‘Food baby, food?’ his mother asked in a vague way.
‘No baby, mamma didn’t make much money and I had to buy my medicine. You know I need my medicine baby.’
An air of disappointment filled him.
‘And I gotta have my cigarettes baby.’
‘Phew, what is this damp, open a window!’
‘What have you been up to child?’ his mother asked looking around.
Clothes were everywhere.
‘Tidy this room up, the bathrooms a mess. I am so tired, going to bed.’
He started to collect his clothes, take them to his room. One pair of trainers were dry, his jacket was still damp so he put it on the radiator, then splashed some water around the bath, that’s better.
He wondered what to do, he could not go out without a jacket it was too cold oh well he’d just have to wait.
Walking down the stairs a rat ran across his path, just a rat. He took a look around outside no threats were about so he set off. Out in daylight, the place was just a grubby mess, even the graffiti not very good. Rubbish bins overflowing, abandoned cars with wheels missing.
‘Don’t you go to school?’ it was the Voice again.
‘Sometimes.’ Calvin replied he had got used to him now and stopped looking for a person.
‘Not today?’ the Voice continued.
‘They make me sit at the back of the classroom, on my own.’ replied Calvin slightly sullenly.
‘But you had a bath, and have clean clothes?’
‘Some didn’t dry and Mamma wasn’t home till this morning.’ They walked along the dirty grey street in silence.
After a while the Voice asked ‘Had breakfast?’
‘No, and I’m hungry.’ Calvin admitted.
‘Let’s go back to the restaurant.’ Suggested the Voice ‘Let’s see what happens now you are clean and don’t smell.’
A few streets away, found them in the back alley, as they walked towards the restaurant Calvin saw that the man began dragging rubbish out.
‘Hey mister!’ Calvin called
The Man looked up ‘Yes kid?’
‘It’s me.’ Calvin said as he got nearer.
‘Oh Yeh, well you see…’ Began the man.
‘I’ve had a bath and washed my clothes.’ Calvin continued.
‘Have you?’ the man sounded surprised and moved towards Calvin, sniffing as he approached.
‘Yeh you have.’ He smiled and nodded.
‘Ok kid, get this rubbish out.’
Calvin dragged at the bins, lifting them was really difficult. One bin had a large piece of meat on top which caught Calvin’s eye.
He lifted the meat to his mouth.
‘What are you doing kid?’ the man asked.
Calvin looked at the meat ‘It’s just a piece of meat.’
‘Rubbish, have you eaten?’
The man disappeared into the kitchen returning a few moments later with a plate of food and a mug of milk.
‘Here eat this then you can start working.’
‘Thank you sir.’ Calvin replied between mouthfuls.
He felt really good all the rubbish had gone and now he was at the sink scraping the cooking trays, knives and forks were shining, but more important, for two days running he had eaten. The afternoon rush had eased off in the restaurant and they had a machine for plates and cups so Calvin could have a rest.
‘You hungry kid?’ the man asked.
‘Here you go.’ He placed a large plate of food in front of Calvin who looked at it not knowing whether to eat it or just look at it. ‘Thank you Sir.’ He said and tucked in.
The man watched him boy could young people put food away. When Calvin had finished he smiled ‘Can you come back at eight?’
‘See you then.’ This was heaven for Calvin food every day twice a day sometimes.
Friday night came along, Calvin had worked three evenings in the restaurant, a good feeling filled his body, a full stomach was a wonderful feeling and some hard work was good for his body. He was just putting his coat on to go home when the man spoke.
‘Here you are kid.’ He was holding out some money.
Calvin looked at the ten dollars. ‘What’s that for?’
‘You’ve worked hard, you deserve it.’ The man pushed it towards Calvin.
He took it still not quite believing his luck ‘Thank you sir.’
‘There’s a job here for you if you want it.’
‘Sure, yes sir!’ grinned Calvin.
He was in a good mood walking home, ten dollars in his pocket. He was busy thinking of buying some food for home, he did not notice the gang.
The youths had him surrounded.
‘What have you got Calvin?’
They closed in towards him.
‘You boys!’ shouted a voice.
They turned facing the noise and Calvin was running, he had relaxed his guard and nearly paid the price. He could hear feet pounding on the sidewalk behind him. On he ran, nearly at the apartments up the steps in thru the door, climb the stairs quickly, here’s the door, in safe. He stood panting with his back against the door.
‘Mamma.’ She had made him jump he had not expected her to be home.
‘Why are you running?’
‘Some boys they chased me.’ He replied.
‘What for?’ his mother asked.
‘They try to steal from me.’ He replied already wishing he had said nothing.
‘You got some money, baby?’ his mother asked her eyes lighting up.
‘Just a little Mamma, thought I would buy some food Mamma and milk.’ He said.
‘But baby you know I gotta go out to work. If I have a little medicine I look really good, I feel good, get more Johns, turn more tricks we will have some real money baby.’ She whined.
‘But Mamma.’ Calvin pleaded.
‘Please baby you know I need it.’
He sighed ‘Yes Mamma.’ Dipping into his pocket he handed over the ten dollars.
‘Oh baby you saved my life.’ His mother said as she put the money in her bag.
‘Yes Mamma.’ Was all Calvin could reply.
Each day he went into work, at least he was eating. He felt better in himself, and then came Friday, some money, twenty dollars. A fortune he had never seen so much money, he asked for it to be split into fives, just in case, one note in four pockets, into the grocery store some bread, milk and jam a little something. Then home, his mother had left for work, it was very late, safer at that time. Every morning he had some food to start the day, with food in his stomach, he began putting on some weight this felt good.
A tin box he had found was ideal for hiding some money in under the floor boards. Occasionally his mother had a good night bringing in food and enough to pay some back rent, but there was always money owing.
‘You been to school Calvin?’ his mother asked one morning.
He looked at the floor.
‘Calvin! You been to school?’ she repeated.
‘Well Mamma.’ Calvin mumbled ‘No.’
‘You gotta go some time or they come and take you.’ She stated.
‘Yes Mamma.’ He answered.
He had been dreading this moment, his job was good. Regular food and money, keeping himself clean, the man insisted on that, lots of hard work it was good for him lifting those trash cans, why school!
He was walking to work along those same dirty grey streets head bowed disheartened.
‘What are you worried about.’ Asked the Voice, Calvin had not spoken to him for ages.
‘Mamma says I gotta go to school.’ He replied sulkily.
‘Seems right.’ Mused the Voice.
‘They will come and get me if I don’t.’ he stated.
‘Yep, that’s true.’ The Voice affirmed. Silence as they walked on, both thinking about school.
Suddenly the Voice said ‘Why don’t you, you know, go there Calvin? I thought perhaps a couple of hours in the morning, then work.’
‘It might work, tomorrow, yes that will do!’ Calvin brightened up.
‘Good idea, see you can solve it.’ replied the Voice.
A smile returned to his face, so simple once registered the day was his own.
It was difficult opening his locker it had been hit and kicked so many times but he got it open, books, what use were they, still, keep quiet.
Calvin sat at his place at the back of the classroom, as far away from other pupils as possible.
‘Good morning Calvin.’
‘It is nice to see you.’
‘Why haven’t you been here?’
‘Mamma’s not been well.’
‘His Mamma’s a hooker.’ A boy taunted.
‘Silence!’ The teacher barked out.
‘Hey Calvin you don’t stink.’ Called out another boy!
‘Silence! One more outburst….’
A quiet descended on the room.
They pick on me if I smell , they pick on me if I don’t smell, why can’t they leave me alone. He felt lonely and afraid.
The lesson started. Who wants to know about Greek people living on mountains and stuff, if they were immortal why ain’t they still here, just stories:
Then arithmetic, he kept getting the sums wrong, how many men want to dig a hole. Who cares! Now was the time, off to work, the real world, he sneaked out of school, still plenty of time.
‘You go to school?’
‘I been, this morning.’
‘You need some learning, how to count your wages.’
‘They talk about Greek guys.’
The man laughed.
‘Yeh I didn’t get that Greek stuff, but you gotta learn some things or you get taken, people steal from you.’
‘Take the rubbish out.’
Calvin picked up the two cans, when he had started he could barely drag one out at a time and lifting them had been agony. But now he was filling out, his parka which had been more like an overcoat fitted like a jacket now, he was growing this was healthy.
Each Friday he hid some money in his tin under the floor boards. He had kept his guard up, making sure he avoided the groups of youths who scavenged for prey. Calvin felt life was pretty good.
‘Baby, you got any money?’ his mother asked.
‘Why is that Mamma?’ he asked.
‘I, I haven’t had any medicine for a while.’ She answered in a shaking voice.
‘Mamma, you an addict?’ Calvin asked her.
‘No baby, no, I can stop any time.’ She said it, but she knew she couldn’t.
He reached out and touched her arms, they were skeletal, just skin and bones.
‘Are you eating Mamma?’ Calvin asked watching his mother as she shifted restlessly.
‘Yeh, sure baby, I just need some stuff.’ Her reply was matter-of-fact but he knew she was lying.
His head slumped forward. From one pocket he took a five and then another.
‘Is this enough?’ he asked.
‘Thank you baby, you’re a life saver.’ His mother said as she came alive, her eyes were bright.
‘I’ll get dressed now.’
‘Yes mamma.’ Replied Calvin.
He watched as she disappeared into her room to dress she was wasting away suddenly a great sadness surrounded him.
Calvin walked along the pavement head down deep in thought. ‘You have got the cares of the world.’ said the Voice.
‘Mamma is an addict.’ Calvin stated.
‘Nothing you can do.’ The Voice replied.
‘She’s goanna die.’ said Calvin in a sad tone.
‘Not right away.’ the Voice said.
‘No, but she is ill. She is wasting away, not eating properly.’ Calvin sniffed
‘Some things you can change, some you can’t.’ the Voice informed him.
‘Suppose so.’ he sighed. The Voice was right there was nothing he could do for her.
‘Sorry.’ said the Voice there was compassion in its tone.
‘Yeh,’ replied a dejected Calvin.
He carried on to work. School wasn’t too bad he began learning a little, some things were fun like reading funny stories, much better than that Greek stuff. Even arithmetic was getting so he understood some of it.
Calvin arrived at work and began to clear up and was taking out the bins when the man called him.
‘I got an inspector coming round next week, Wednesday and Thursday, so don’t come in, you are under age.’
‘Yes sir.’ Calvin replied a little down.
‘Don’t look so worried Calvin, Friday is fine, come to work then.’
‘Thank you sir’ he replied not a little relieved.
‘You work hard, that’s good.’ The man said.
Calvin walked home his eyes looking all around, watching, there is danger everywhere when you are a victim I need some new trainers, he thought, doing a lot more walking, school, work, home. Yeh home get my money, all clear, no gangs here:
Calvin entered the building and climbed the stairs. His feet crunched on the cockroaches they are all over the place but he continued up the stairs into the apartment:
‘Mamma! Mamma!’ he called to his mother.
‘Strange she is normally in. Mamma!’ he called again.
Getting no reply he wandered through the apartment looking for her. Not in her room perhaps the Kitchen! He stopped by his room, heart pounding, no, please no. Calvin slowly opened the door.
The tin was laying upside down, a piece of floorboard beside it.
‘No Mamma!’ He pleaded to an empty room the anger deep inside:
‘How could you do it?’ he asked.
It was Friday again ‘Here you’re kid.’ The man said as Calvin finished his supper, the twenty dollars was proffered.
Calvin looked at it then at the man ‘But I didn’t work two days.’
‘You would’ve done!’ the man said still holding out the money.
‘But you couldn’t!’
‘So it wasn’t your fault.’ With a shrug of his shoulders the man placed the money on the table by Calvin’s plate.
‘Thank you Sir.’ Calvin looked at the money and thought for a minuet ‘Hmm, could you do me a favor sir?’
‘Could you look after five dollars for me?’
‘Sure. I’ll put it in the safe.’
‘Thanks.’ He put the remaining fifteen dollars in his pocket, cleared away his plate and grabbed his coat.
‘Do you know where I can buy some trainers?’
‘This time of night.’
‘Let’s see, two blocks south there’s a mart, they sell all sorts.’
‘Thanks, goodnight sir.’
Hi eyes watching for danger, Calvin walked along the sidewalk looking for the ‘mart’. Must be around here, he thought yes, there it is. He checked the street no one hanging around, any movement in the shadows? No he made a dash to the entrance.
‘Yes kid, what do you want?’ the owner asked as Calvin rushed in.
The man looked at him suspiciously; someone running in suddenly was not always a good sign in these parts.
‘I got money.’ Calvin said and he showed the two fives.
‘What size!’ the man asked.
‘Size, don’t know.’ Calvin replied he had always put on whatever his mother had brought home.
‘Ok take one off.’ Calvin removed one of his shoes and handed it to the man.
‘Six.’ He said looking at the shoe ‘These tight!’ he asked.
‘A seven then, try them.’ His didn’t stink, a bit of a surprise.
‘Enough room?’ in them he asked.
‘Here you go two pairs of socks and the trainers, ten bucks.’
Calvin handed over the money, then he put on the new trainers.
‘Better!’ the man was smiling now.
‘Do you wanna throw them?’ he asked indicating Calvin’s old shoes.
‘Yes sir. Can I have a loaf of bread?’
He had some change in his pocket and still five dollars, paid the man and left.
He looked out into the gloom.
‘We don’t have much trouble here kid’.
He walked out heading into the shadows; it felt good, nice comfortable shoes no pinching.
Some bread and jam, then school. He went into his mother’s room, she was asleep. He looked in her handbag nothing, her purse had some change but it had all gone, plus what she had earned last night. He looked at her sleeping and sighed she was killing herself and he could do nothing.
Time for school:
Walking down the corridor his mind was on his mother, and what if anything could he do for her. He bumped into someone and waited for the normal response.
‘Sorry Calvin.’ Was the reaction.
He walked on. “Sorry Calvin”! that’s not what they normally say.
Times are changing.
‘Do you want the five bucks kid?’
‘No sir, can I leave ten with you.’
‘I might have to charge you bank fees.’
‘Only joking, you Ok kid?’
‘Yes thank you, goodnight sir.’
‘Night kid.’ The man said as he watched Calvin leave.
He strolled home, head down.
‘Not that bad is it surely.’ The voice again.
‘Mamma stole all my money, the rents not paid, we could be thrown out.’ Said Calvin.
‘Could you pay some rent?’ asked the voice.
‘Some.’ he said.
‘I am sure they would settle for some money.’ suggested the voice.
‘Yeh.’ he said not believing it.
‘It’s difficult Calvin.’ the voice thought.
‘Yeh.’ reflected Calvin.
‘You can’t help your mother, only look after yourself, make sure you are Ok.’ asserted the voice.
‘Yeh I suppose so.’ he felt dejected.
‘She is a drug addict, you cannot change her Calvin.’ The voice said
‘No, no you are right.’ replied Calvin.
‘Calvin!’ the boy’s voice jolted him back from his deep concentration.
‘Calvin!’ he said ‘You have got a job. Hand over the money Calvin.’
He had been so lost in his own thoughts, they had appeared from nowhere.
‘Money Calvin!’ the biggest one said ‘Give!’
He grasped Calvin’s coat. ‘Give!’ he repeated.
The fist swung in a fast arc, making contact with the youths head, he was sent flying and now lay sprawled on the floor not moving.
‘You’ve killed him!’ whispered one of the others as they backed off a little.
‘Perhaps I have, perhaps I haven’t.’ he replied.
Then Calvin turned and walked home.