Thursday, 8 August 2013

Two Tramps, Unknown


There is a park in Paddington that is inhabited by three tramps. One named Harold, another named Barry and the third is unknown. Two of them now sit on a bench over looking the grass sharing a can of bitter; they overlook Barry who is sleeping on the grass at the foot of a tree trunk. One of them gets up and arthritically stamps towards Barry, standing above him he loudly asks,

Harold: Are you going to give us a song Barry?

Harold: Are you going to give us a song today, Barry?

Harold: ARE YOU GONNAGIV’US A SON –

(sharply interrupted)

Barry: You kicked me and I won’t give you no song no.

After a moment

Harold: I didn’t kick ya

Barry: You fuckin did.

Harold: Ah’ch

Harold waves his hand, indignant, and wanders back to the bench. As he is about to sit down for the tenth time today, back to the bench where he always sits with the other, drinking can after can bought with the little change he finds, Harold turns and looks at Barry in disgust. That miserable wretch curled up in sodden red blankets on a dried out lawn in mid-September. How can he live with himself? How can a man with any sense of decency make proper conversation with such a wretched old pile of rags. How can he think?

Harold: You sleep all of day there and the coppers’ll come and nick you again Barry.

Duly ignored, perhaps he doesn’t hear well

Harold: Bet you don’t suspect a thing but I know I know I know what’s in stall for you. They’ll think you been doing drugs and nick ya and take you away, then you won’t have the sun anymore, and you won't want to sing in the daytime just want to cry in the night. For fuck’s sake Barry - are you gonna give us a song - dammit?

Barry pulls himself together and gathers the blankets up around himself, and leans his scabby back against the tree trunk and belches a little. Then he sings

The pigeon flaps his wings around
But ain’t no fucking sound abound
What we want is light and air
But no one wants us here
and no body knows us here
“JOIN IN – it’s a bloody chorus!”
No body wants us here
Oh, no body wants us here

Sirens ring through the city air and Barry and the unknown one claps.