Saturday, October 13, 2007
Recycling Jimmy by Andy Tilley
Author: Andy Tilley
In the couple of hours since Jimmy had left Dave outside the pub he had managed to turn his world upside down. Literally, for he was no longer standing but dangling, head first above London Road, connected back to his life on the bridge by only a short length of rusting reinforcement bar that had hooked through his belt when he had fallen. It was his favorite belt too. A strip of battered old leather that he loved but that Wendy hated so much. Only that morning she had given him a crisp ten pound note to replace it but Jimmy had spent five pounds of that on beer and two pounds on lottery tickets. The other three pounds had tumbled from his pocket when he had inverted following his stumble. He could see the coins now, lying on the tarmac 80 feet below his soft, red head.
'Shit' he gasped as another nick in the leather stretched and yielded.
Jimmy knew that he had to do something quickly to take as much of the strain as he could off his belt and so he pushed his arms downwards to dampen his swing. It worked and his swing shrank to a sway.
'Why the hell didn't I do as the bitch had said and buy a belt!' Jimmy screamed.
He took a deep breath and roared once more at the traffic below.
Of course, had Jimmy understood that ultimately his life would depend on him doing as he was told for once then he probably would have bought a new belt. But the belt he had was fine. It held his trousers up perfectly, molded casually to his hips just below the waist band of his Calvins. How the hell was he supposed to know that today (on the very day that he had the money to buy a new one) he would need the belt to function as a safety harness? The belt creaked again and Jimmy slipped a little more. He looked down at the deadly road below and cursed his decision to kill himself.
'So when did I decided that suicide was a good idea? '
Jimmy couldn't remember exactly for it hadn't been a snap decision. All he knew was that the dark depression that had drawn itself around him over the past 6 months had gently coaxed him to it. During this time even the smallest of setbacks ('nails' he had called them) seemed to have had gravity far beyond their size and the unreasonable weight of each had always dragged him deeper into the black. It had been a one way journey too because there never seemed to be a day when something didn't go against him and so there never seemed to be a bright day that presented him with an opportunity to shed some of the ballast and so allow him to rise a little.
Take this week for example:
Monday, the milk man doesn't deliver and there's no bread for toast.
Bam! A nail drives home.
Tuesday, Wendy's working late (again) and he burns his Bench T-shirt trying to iron it. Wednesday, the telly packs up thirty minutes before the away leg of United's Champions League tie with Inter Milan. Thursday, it's pissing down and the bus shelter's closed because some little toe rag has put his foot through the Perspex.
Friday, he's late for work for the third time in two weeks and he smacks his boss in the face when his pay is docked.
Friday, he can't find the keys to the flat so he has to run all the way to Dave's house (who he has just left at the pub) to get the spare.
Friday, he trips over his shoelace at the top of Dave's road and hits the floor hard. Jimmy never ties his shoe laces.
Friday, he turns the corner and sees Wendy and Dave kissing on the doorstep. She's holding him close and as she reluctantly moves away she smiles in a way that Jimmy hasn't seen for 3 years.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
Yeah, Friday was a bad day. Friday was the day that the lid on Jimmy's coffin was finally nailed down.