by Harry Wilding
strong tea with cow's milk and two sugars
Bloody government. Geoff turns off the radio, his anger bubbling and seething and searching. We promise this we promise that. Free fucking wifi? Fuck sake. He’d worked his arse off all his life—forty years nearly in the factory, since leaving school—yet some young scrounger or some guy who’s been in the country five minutes gets everything handed to him on a plate! Healthcare; benefits; free housing; fucking wifi; and a job, of course. Careful not to step on us British people at the front of the queue too hard, eh?
Geoff limps towards the local shops. His back pain is particularly bad today. Still, he can’t afford to miss work. The fucking state of his surroundings: the litter and the overgrown gardens, the dilapidated playground and the broken windows. Bloody government. Empty shops and food banks and tramps everywhere. NHS at breaking point. Kids leaving for university and never moving back. It’s just got worse, worse in the last decade.
The Daily Mail is tucked under his arm as he exits the newsagents and lights a cigarette. Geoff routes around in his pocket for change and hands a homeless guy a couple of 50 pence pieces. He’s sure there didn’t used to be so many people on the street, not even ten years back. Bloody government.
Geoff pauses outside the polling station to finish his cigarette, distracted by the torn Union Jack caught in the old branches of a leafless tree. It flaps violently in the cold wind.
He drops his cigarette and stubs it out with his foot.
Let’s get this done.
Alongside the rose sits Geoff’s current MP: Labour. Bloody government. His pencil moves down to the Conservative box and he makes his mark alongside the tree.
Things’ll be better now.