A man has his hand thrust down the front of his jeans. He is shouting the word ‘violence’ amongst others whilst ferreting and thumping behind the zip of his jeans. He is not masturbating: there is nothing sexual about his actions. It is all about aggression and energy and violence.
The man is stood on the corner of a backstreet by the delivery entrance to Primark in Gloucester. I think the metal of his zip has cut his knuckles. Later, when his mum makes him wash his hands before dinner, it will sting. It will feel to him like love, desire, and misery all at once.
. . .
I can smell the sickly peaks of the energy drink before I see him. I can hear his over-revved burring before I can smell the energy drink.
“Well, it’s his loss. He don’t know what he’s missing.
It’s the first interview I ever had when I didn’t get the job.
His loss, anyways. His loss.
You know, there is no such thing as being over-qualified. I was too good if anything. Too good.
The smell of Happyshopper Energy drink diffuses from his mouth and the open can like an expensive perfume.
I see him now. It all becomes clear. He looks like a Chuckle Brother on a meth bender – all frizzy, curly spaniel hair, a tracksuit dotted with stains. I’m not sure what the job was, but I know now that over-qualification was not the issue.