Monday, 6 August 2012

98: Posh Trash

Jemmy couldn't read street name signs but he knew what kind of area he was in just by the rubbish. Posh places had posh bins. Even how much of it was in the bins and on the floor told him what sort of people lived there.

The big houses up on the hill had the best stuff but it was hard to get to it. Usually the bins were in a store or the gates were locked so he couldn't even get close to the house to see where they were. The night before collection day was a good bet though. The stuff they threw out would feed Jemmy all week if he had somewhere safe to keep it. He usually found a couple of bags and filled them up with food he thought would keep a couple of days.

Those bins had the shiniest containers and the leftovers were often wrapped into little silver foil Christmas presents, not chucked in and left to moulder on the bottom of the bin. Jemmy enjoyed visiting the big houses. He made his way up the hill every evening, not just Thursdays, just in case someone had the days muddled up.

Once he got some stout black boots from up there too. That winter his feet were drier than he could remember them being and he didn't need Tesco bags for stuffing up holes like normal. After that he thought he could try salvaging behind shops on the High Street. Mostly they kept their rubbish in steel containers too tall for Jemmy to get into, but sometimes he was lucky. He found a rusty hammer which was no use to him but he swapped it for a woolly scarf with Northern Tom.

Northern Tom let slip that he'd found it in a bag outside a charity shop, left by some good citizen who didn't realize there wouldn't be any of it left for the shop to sell by morning. After that Jemmy tried to remember to get there at least once a week, just to see what there might be. Usually he was unlucky and the good stuff had gone or the step was empty so he didn't know if it was worth waiting or calling it a night. Rumbling stomach was more likely to keep him awake than not having a new scarf.

After one unusually good night's picking, Jemmy huddled down in a doorway in the blanket he'd just found, belly full of leftover pate and dried falafel. He carefully folded the crunchiest edges back into their silver foil and tossed it into the gutter. Jemmy wondered if anyone was desperate enough to scavenge his leftovers.

No comments:

Post a Comment