By Neil Campbell
Location: Ashton Old Road and Audenshaw
I’d swept the walkway clear of fag dimps and gray sands of ash but dust was left in shapes of the brush.
‘I thought I’d told you to sweep up?’ said Alan, the foreman. ‘Do it again and show some heart.’
I pushed the shopping trolley with the bin stuck in it back to where I’d started and pressed down hard and dragged the brush across the floor, wiping out the shapes and putting the dust on the shovel and into the metal bin.
The cool of the summer morning gave way to the heat of the sun that shone in under the shutter doors, and I took my jumper off and hung it on the shopping trolley. My head lolled over the brush as I began to leave patterns of dust again.
The radio with the coat hanger stuck in it played what sounded to me like a self-pitying song by the Smiths. We sat in an assortment of discarded armchairs that, when empty, looked like a line of school kids waiting to get picked. The idiot DJ cut in with some tabloid gossip. I’d not had time for breakfast so though it was only morning break I opened my Tupperware box and took out the ham and stand at ease, and washed it down with coffee from the machine.
‘Eh, Baz, are you going to show this lad how to sweep up properly or what?’ said Alan.
‘It’s not complicated is it, really?’
‘It looks like a fucking wave machine down there.’
‘Laziness, Alan. It’s the youth of today, useless.’
‘We’ve fuck all down here so you can give it another try after break,’ said Alan.
I swept the walkway clean of patterns as the radio played Everybody Hurts by REM, Supersonic by Oasis, Girlfriend in a Coma by the Smiths, Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, You’re In The Army Now by Status Quo and others I didn’t recognise or catch the names of in among the DJ’s vacant banter.
We played darts, either 301 or round the board. When Chris hit yet another winning double he jumped up and down and laughed in all our faces.
‘It’s not worth getting giddy about is it?’ said Baz. ‘I mean you’ve not won owt.’
‘Pride, Baz. Pride.’
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