Works as well as any drunk, hooked up to catheters and drips, feeding the others with their supped blood. Vampires, not hardly. Resourceful all the same. Weeks living in the sewers, where the hard "R" lives, and their eyes shun the natural light of torches from high school kids looking to jig. No free drinks here.
You can smell their illicit boozy breaths. The stink of youth and exuberance run amok. Their cackling mouths pouting for the cameras, smacking together fishes and sagging up their cheeks ready to store some golf balls of moth. This is how the young obfuscate their own. Faces behind faces. They can't see beyond the camera phone.
Between the first and last bells, they check their classes. Japanese is taught by a sop, so it's going to be a breeze to just walk out on him. He's an otherwise charming fellow outside of grounds. Deft at the art of linguistics, a tongue warped to inveigle the most stubborn of us. Once he sets foot on the hallow grounds of rote learning, he's nothing more than spitball fodder.
Tuesday it becomes. None among them old enough to pass for their fake IDs, they wave over one of the homeless, he too reeking of his own sort. That's life. Seeped deep into his pores with ammonia and sulphur. Better get that kidney checked. But the doctors they have along the train tracks are on the wrong side. And none of these men of the gutters own a white dress, nor do they own a leather jacket to warm their shoulders. It feels like the eighties, if it's not, that's a hacking cough.
At first it starts with a small group. The old man, (23-in-bones because he found himself betting that move to the city would pan out) shuffles into the bottle-o, lays down the kids' cash and shuffles back out to hand it over. There he stands as they titter and run off, absconding with his promised five dollars. They deceived him. And, as would have it, a few others along the banks along the weeks.
Tuesday again and the kids are looking to knock back a few more. Once more one of the old men takes to the shop and does his shuffle. This time, with their rags at the ready, the other men encircle the children. No running away this week.
This is where we end. The men taking their pubescent haul back to the shadows and shutting them up. It's been a long time between meals. Longer still since a fresh one. A warm fire and heavy plate of meat far easier to chew than cutting up magazines to send ransom notes for.
Save one for the drip. You need something red to go with all that meat.
Written on Friday, 30 August 2013