There’s a shop just opened on High Street where you can buy wasted time. The owners must have secured a last minute deal for the premises because nothing’s organised and the fixtures and fittings are yellowed, left over from the last tenants who went bust trying to sell sporting memories.
A group of us went in after school. The others were smoking and the girl behind the counter asked us to leave but there was just one of her and half dozen of us and some of us were big and had facial hair. The girl ended up saying we could stay, just put out the fags and don’t steal anything. We decided to do as she asked, so she went back to looking bored.
The others had no money and just wanted to hang out until the bus came.
I played along but really I was a little bit interested. Ok, more than a little bit. I didn’t mind the girl either but she was older and I didn’t have facial hair.
I wandered to the back. The shelves were uneven, where there were shelves at all, and the wasted time was stacked one on the other like nobody cared. Some were labelled and I could see why nobody cared. Who’d want to buy stuff like a whole term wasted reading a novel with no last page? Or a train journey sat next to someone who stank?
The girl was looking at me all funny. My friends stepped outside for another smoke but I didn’t follow because it looked like I was nicking something and I’m not like that so I grabbed the nearest bit of wasted time and placed it on the counter. The girl didn’t stop looking bored. She glanced down at what I wanted to buy and then looked back at me. You can’t afford that, she told me. Just go. It’s all right, she smiled.
I left, leaving behind a life of no regrets.