Our 60 Minute Challenge certainly got the creative juices flowing. We gave the writers the challenge of writing 500 words or less using the theme – ‘Journey to..’ for inspiration. As always we had some wonderful submissions but here are the deserving winners.
1st Prize: £150.00 Chris Mason
2nd Prize: £100.00 Vanessa Mansfield
3rd Prize: £75.00 T. Cutter
Journey to Exclusivity
by Chris Mason
Jerome felt disorientated. He looked around but recognized no-one. He was just one man standing amidst a sea of busy commuters and didn’t even recognize the landmarks. He had woken bleary-eyed on a park bench, sprawled under a newspaper and had staggered out of the park onto a busy pavement. Throngs of people walked by him but no-one made full eye-contact, seemingly oblivious.
He swallowed hard. He was badly dehydrated. Worse, he was ravenous. A deep gnawing hunger growled away inside demanding to be fed. He staggered along the pavement, noticing how those walking towards him moved out of his way. Did he smell? Jerome sniffed the air discreetly. He didn’t think so but he had slept in his clothes. How long did it take for human odor to become revolting? He needed a coffee, something strong and black. He hoped it would get rid of the horrible taste in his mouth – when had he last cleaned his teeth?
He rummaged in his coat pocket for some money and pulled out a half empty bottle of whisky. No wonder his head hurt. He quickly stuffed it back in and knew that others had seen the evidence of shame. But no-one offered him money for a drink. They would let him drown his sorrows even this early in the morning.
“Please, do you have money for a coffee?” He looked left and right as the crowds dispersed quickly around him. He held out his hands pleadingly. “I need a drink, please, do you have any change?” Jerome noticed his fingernails deeply ingrained with dirt and knew he must look dreadful. Several hours had passed by. He staggered up and down the street, his thirst now raging. He had never realized that begging could be such hard work. Finally someone thrust a handful of coins at him. He counted quickly, desperately, yes, enough for a coffee. He looked up to thank his benefactor but whoever it was had gone, blending into the crowds quickly.
He could at least satiate his thirst now. The queue was long but the coffee was like nectar. It had never tasted so good. He drained every drop, wondering how long it would be before someone would give him enough money for some food.
“Filming is done Jerome.” Harold tapped him on the shoulder. “You can stop now.”
Jerome sighed with relief. “Thank god, this was no fun at all.”
Harold shoved some money in his direction. “It wasn’t meant to be fun. It’s to show people just how hard the homeless have it. This documentary will be a real eye-opener.” He smiled, showing perfect white teeth. “Grab some food, you’ve earned it. I’ll see you later, oh and Jerome, go and have a shower man, you reek.”
Jerome swore softly. Next time, Harold would be the one roughing it for their fly on the wall documentary. Now what could he get him to do…..