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A penny fell behind the till and I went looking for it. During the search I found a dust covered sofa, two dogs and a vagrant’s hideout. The customer I’d served used a ladder in her tights to climb into a hole behind the cash drawer and take the coin. It was a daring robbery and the police found no clues. It was the penny that meant our company went into liquidation, assets were sold and I was knocked to the street. I rode the process of grief for years until I was able to leave the house without anxiety. Rebuilding my life was like untangling knots. It was almost four years to the day when I saw her, snuggled around a pint in the Skinny Dog. Her smile offered to buy me the pub. I shook my head and walked away – she was wearing the same tights.
- Benjamin F Jones
Sophia gardens. First day of September. Mist forms droplets on the handles of the buggy. Helicopters spin to the pavement and crackle beneath my feet. A man sits on the bench drinking coffee from a thermos. His cap is pulled down but his leather rucksack smiles when it sees us. It says, ‘How splendid – after the heat and sweat to wake up in mist – throw open the doors to let the cool flood inside the terraces and drain warmth from the pale stone.’ The man pops the mouth of his bag silent and stares at the floor. The wheels are muddy where we went up the mountain. This is our second trip into the city.