Change. Short Story.

Hope everyone’s week is going well. Had an ok week. Went out for my friends birthday, it was quite nice and she enjoyed it (I hope!) had a great time chatting with everyone. Tomorrow is the launch of my courses anthology, which should be interesting! I’m quite looking forward to it, hopefully it’ll be a good night!

On with the show!


One more drink then home. Just one more. He stood at the bar, waiting for someone, anyone to notice him. “Can I-” the barman’s eyes scanned over him to the person beside him “What can I get ya?” he sighed and waited. He was patient. He wasn’t in any kind of rush. The barman cleared the bar then started again at the beginning. He’d be served now. “yea-” eyes passed over him again. Christ. He stood a little straighter, that’s what it was. He waited and waited and waited. Finally. “Yeah, can I’ve a Jack Daniels and Coke?” The barman nodded and turned. A moment later the glass sat in front of him, condensation dribbling down the side. He paid, took his change and drink, then left the bar. When he got back to his seat it was taken. Two women, laughing together. “Sorry, can I just get my coat?” The ignored him. “Sorry, my jacket?” Again, nothing. He reached out, one of them paused mid-sentence and looked him up and down, then scowled and went back to her conversation. This was ridiculous. He looked at his drink, then after a moment’s pause, downed it in one long gulp. “Get off my fucking jacket you cunt.” The woman stopped talking, turned at stared at him. “Yes. I’m fucking talking to you you inconsiderate bitch.” She didn’t move. He leaned forward, grabbed the cuff of his jacket and pulled. “Move your fat ass.” The jacket slid from underneath her. “Have a fucking awesome night.” He turned away, “bitch.”

He walked from the bar, standing straight shoulders back, feeling better than he had in a long, long time. He wasn’t going to take it anymore, no one else’s shit. He was going to be his own man, live for himself. No more waiting, no more needless politeness. No. He was his own man now. Fuck everyone else, fuck all those people who just got in his way and screwed everything up for everyone else. He was free. Finally, after all these years. He no longer cared what anyone thought, he just didn’t give a fuck. It wasn’t even the alcohol. Sometimes he felt like this when drinking, but by that stage he was already drunk, barely able to walk drunk. Now he was only two drinks in and he felt amazing. He took a deep breath of the cold air. It felt good, throwing it all off, now he’d live for himself, do what he wanted and when he wanted. Someone approached him, a beggar, dirty clothes, old cup, “sorry bud, any spare change?” “No, sorry I’ve none.” He kept walking, smiling to himself. Normally he’d give some change, he was always a soft touch, no matter what people said to him. He saw that they were poor, they looked cold, hungry, so he gave them money. Friends told him he was stupid, that they were raking it in, that they were spending it on drugs, but he just couldn’t help himself, he just had to give them change. Food. That’s what he wanted now, something to eat, help clear the head a little more. He hadn’t drank much but he felt slightly tipsy. Some food would do him good and it was still early so that there would be no queues. He went into the chipper and ordered a bag of chips. The lights were almost too bright, everything was made of garishly coloured plastic, the place smelt of chips and just beneath that, old grease. A moment later a brown paper bag was passed to him, piping hot and smelling delicious, just what he needed. He opened the bag and took out a chip, almost too hot to eat, he ate it anyway. He walked slowly, enjoying his food. It tasted so unbelievably good, the best chips he had possibly ever tasted. It really was what he needed. He smiled, then had another chip. It was the first meal of the rest of his life. Tomorrow morning, first thing, he’d ring work and tell them to go fuck themselves. They’d been taking advantage of him for too long and no amount of money would convince him to stay working for the pricks. The conditions were terrible, him in one tiny, sweltering room for twelve hours a day, no light but the glow of the computer screen and a single, crappy, flickering light bulb. It was inhuman. They didn’t care about him, they took him for granted. He’d have no bother getting a job anywhere else, especially with his experience and skills. He’d be able to name any price. They didn’t even deserve notice. There was nothing in his contract about notice. He’d checked. Every time he felt like quitting he would scan his contract, looking for a way out. He practically had the damn thing memorised now. No matter. He’d get a job somewhere else, somewhere better and he’d be paid a decent wage. He’d start exercising too. Not that fake oh, I’ll exercise tomorrow or the day after, but properly. He’d get out, maybe go running at some stage, but walks at the very least. He wasn’t fat, but he was on his way, a few years later and he’d be there. He finished off his chips and threw the bag in the bin, everything seemed brighter, better. He would make a change. This wasn’t a flight of fancy, it wasn’t him having vague ideas. Things were changing now, there was no stopping them. Something had snapped tonight and there would be no going back for him. He wouldn’t even tell people about it. He didn’t want to deal with all that negativity, friends and family would tell him to rethink leaving his job, tell him to wait, get another lined up. He knew if he waited he wouldn’t leave. They’d mean well, they really would, but he’d just end up where he had been before and he couldn’t stand that idea. He couldn’t go back to how he was before. He just couldn’t.  He turned the corner, almost home now. One of the benefits of living in town, sure it was slightly expensive and the place wasn’t amazing, but it was central and he was able to go pretty much anywhere from here. Someone turned the corner behind him, he paid no attention. The road ahead of him was empty of people, still a bit early, most people would still be out drinking, poor fuckers. He was different from them now. He changed. He stopped at his door. The whole house was his, at least for the moment. There were three rooms and the other two hadn’t been rented out yet. His roommates had moved out a month ago and the landlord was having trouble filling them. The house wasn’t too bad, but once he had a better job he’d move somewhere better, somewhere decent. He  opened the door and stepped inside.

Someone barrelled in after him, forcing the door open, pushing him to the ground, warm heat in the centre of his back, almost pleasant. The air was driven from his body, he couldn’t catch his breath. There was pressure, force on his back, like someone was punching him. He tried to turn, but he felt weak, his shirt was wet. Whoever had tackled him stood and moved past him, deepening into the house, a knife clattered to the ground, the blade was stained red. His breathing became shallow, he tried to move, tried to stand but he couldn’t. he could hear whoever it was ransacking the rooms, looking for things to steal. He started to pray, just let them take whatever and go, just let him get out of it alive, that was all he wanted. The person paused before leaving, they looked at his body and mumbled, “all I wanted was some fucking change.”


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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