held between his ankles, very bright orange t-shirt,
plaid shorts I glance at him from the till.

Don’t know which suits me.

I ask him to wear each pair of sunglasses
and I’ll tell him. He does, I tell him.

Sunglasses cost £3.99. I count it.
Tell him he’s a pound short. Reluctantly,

he hands over the pound. He doesn’t
want a receipt. Ten minutes later he stands

at the bag end of my till.
I had five pounds. You owe me a pound.

I say I don’t. “Bastard.” he growls and leaves.
Next customer says “He had my sympathy,

until he said that.” I process her shopping.

Image credit:zizzybaloobah

Paul Brookes is a shop asst. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. First play performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull.  His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews, book reviews and  challenges. Had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb and, videos of his Self Isolation sonnet sequence featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley. He also does photography commissions. Most recent is a poetry collaboration with artworker Jane Cornwell: "Wonderland in Alice, plus other ways of seeing", (JCStudio Press, 2021) , sonnet collections: "As Folktaleteller",( ImpSpired, 2022), forthcoming "These Random Acts of Wildness, (Glass Head Press, 2022)


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Twitter: @PaulDragonwolf1