The lad loitered in the Christmas aisles examining the kinds of calendars you usually find hanging on the wall of a mechanic’s: The Sun Page 3 Girls, one from Nuts magazine, Babes and Bikes 2012.
His girlfriend stood behind him, five-feet tall and buried inside a puffer jacket. Her nose was raw and when she spoke her voice was muffled by snot.
‘What do you like about them?’ she said to his back.
‘Dunno,’ the lad replied, picking up UK’s Hottest Babes.
‘Do you think I look like them?’
The lad didn’t hear. He’d already set off towards the tills.
The bus station was closed for the night. A woman in a red coat sat waiting for a bus that wouldn’t come for another six hours. Her hair was messy, her face streaked with mascara and there was a pink, plastic suitcase at her feet.
A phone kept ringing out in her pocket. The fourth time she answered it and shouted something Polish and aggressive into the receiver before hanging up.
Twenty minutes later a battered Mondeo pulled into the bus bay. The woman grabbed her suitcase and clambered into the front seat without saying a word to the driver.
I’m on a bench in a deserted town centre street. Nearby, there’s a woman with a tight ponytail who’s wearing a baggy white tracksuit. Shifting her weight from foot to foot, she glances at me between drags of her cigarette. This has been going on for ten minutes.
Finally, she walks towards me. ‘Got the time?’ she says.
‘Yeah, ten to midnight’.
The woman turns back and goes over to a shop doorway where a huge man is lurking in the shadows. The two of them huddle close and whisper.
When she approaches me again I get up to leave.