Jack liked his coffee strong and sweet. Just as much as he had a fondness for scratch cards , whisky , rock music and roll ups. It was late at night and the cafe was ghostly empty. He fidgeted with the small cup it was greasy and the coffee had too much milk in it leaving a sour aftertaste in his mouth. He thought by the age of thirty nine he would know life. Like he knew death. Death was like a shadow always there but something we choose to ignore lurking away at the corner of your eye , getting under your skin. And life was cruel and full of despair. He had a hamster once and his father had chucked it in the bin so the cats wouldn’t dig it up. He supposed that’s what happens to us in the end , a whole life dumped in the ground or cremated. Then forgotten forever.
He turned the page of the newspaper he was reading , the black ink sticking to his fingers. It was the same old crap , politics ,murder victims , football scores , advertisements for window cleaners.
“Excuse me sir” someone said over his shoulder. He turned round to face a thin looking waitress with bags under her eyes and acne covered skin looked at him. She was probably in her late teens or early twenties. “Your going to have to leave we’re closing up” she instructed him “Aw right” he grumbled getting up from the chair, putting his crumpled newspaper under his arm.
Jack walked out the warmly lit café Into the dark bitter January night. The damp pavements glittered under the moonlight , and the street was deadly silent. He pulled his coat further around him the cold nipping at his skin. Suddenly someone struck him hard behind his head he fell to the floor in agony. The man was on top of him now their grimy hands around his neck strangling him. The face of the man was chubby his teeth rotten. He was so close Jack could smell his stinking breath “Where’s the money” The man spat. “I haven’t got it” Jack chocked struggling in vain against the man. Jacks legs and arms moving frantically desperate for the man to release him.
The man hit his head against the concrete but Jack barely felt it he was so desperate for air his vision turning black. Suddenly the mans hands were off him , he coughed and gasped filling his lungs savoring the oxygen the way you would savor a steak or a bar of chocolate. The man loomed over him. “Where is it “ he hissed “you spent it all on woman a guy like you always has dirty pleasures you give the faced of an educated man when deep down”… he paused and leaned forward and whispered into Jacks ear “Your dirt” He gave jack a hard blow in the ribs with his leather shoe. “He wants the money by the end of the week or else “ , the man gave Jack a sickly smug smile before getting into his jeep and skidding off.
Jack sat up feeling the back of his head his fingers coated with sticky blood. He felt woozy like he’d had too much the pain was everywhere his head his chest he rolled over in agony. “urg” he spat some blood out of his mouth it tasted metallic.