The beating he gave me this morning was simply a reminder, not a punishment. A punishment normally involves broken bones and broken skin. Sometimes a bit of branding so you never forget. If he’s really angry, it’ll be internal damage – organs and that sort of thing. And then it’s up to the relatives – yer mum, yer bruv – to make things good. To cough up.

The system works and the big boys – and girls – think Little Sarah in Benton Towers – all get paid in the end and the money goes round and the money goes round. Which is simply good economics. John Maynard would have been dead proud of some of the players on this patch.

This time it was all superficial. Bruising, yes. Some blood, yes. Fear, yes. A lot. But no real damage. Simply a reminder. These things pass.

I guess that in this world, this underworld, in which some of us live, this is the norm – you miss out on a payment or you rob somebody’s stash, there is retribution. A jury made up from twelve people from this street wouldn’t say otherwise. Unanimous, yer honour.

I was late with my payments. Not my fault, but then not his either. I have to have the readies by tomorrow morning. Otherwise bones will be broken, blood will spill. Mine. It’s the unwritten law, the law of the lost.

He wants cash, I need a fix. And I need to avoid getting hurt. So tonight it’ll be the filling-station at the edge of town. I hope the geezer behind the counter is sensible. I hope there’s a decent amount of cash in the till. I hope I’m not caught.

I hate this life. No reminder necessary.

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10 Responses to Reminder

  1. Patrick says:

    Hi Sarah. Thanks for reading. It is all a bit grim for them. I too don’t hold out much hope for them.

  2. I enjoyed how down to earth this is, in contrast to a really horrible situation. I have a lot of respect for this narrator (I agree the drug use seems a bit out of place – I think I automatically imagined him needing some other kind of fix, perhaps something totally bizarre). I’d like to think he gets himself out of this situation somehow, he seems like a practical guy, though going by what life has taught me rather than movies, I don’t have much hope for the poor guy, or his neighbours.

  3. Elaine McKay says:

    Yes, you show that this a way of life for him and for those in his world.

  4. Great voice, and I like the casual (although in the end not so much) way the narrator shrugs off the violence.

  5. Elaine Peters says:

    I think he sounds too rational to be a druggie, and I’d have finished it at ‘I hope I’m not caught.’ Apart from that I like the style, it’s very gritty and an uncomfortable look into some people’s way of life.

  6. beccaaudra says:

    Brutal, the reminder acting as a refrain that brings you back to the first recognition of pain.

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