Coming back from work at 9 p.m. on my bike, I slowed down and waited to cross the road to my local Tesco Express.
' 'Scuse me', said a voice behind me.
I turned round. There was a man, perhaps in his late forties or early fifties, with thinning dirty brown hair, a red face and a walking stick. He was wearing a thick green raincoat and dirty trousers. In one hand he had the remains of a sandwich, and its contents were spread around his mouth in a hungry red smear.
'Got any change mate?' He asked, swaying gently on the spot.
'Sorry mate', I replied, and crossed the road.
I locked my bike up outside the store, then went to the cashpoint. The guy started to walk towards me, stopped, blinked, swayed, then staggered into the shop. I went in shortly afterwards and got myself a bottle of wine. As I was in the queue waiting to pay, I saw him wandering around the same aisle several times, as if searching for a particular item. I paid, then went back to my bike and loaded up. suddenly, the bloke was at my side again.
'What about a fag then?' he asked, hopelessly.
He wandered away, then suddenly bent to pick something up from the floor. As he bent, a large bottle of Smirnoff Ice erupted from his jacket, ending up with a resounding smash on the floor. The man stared at it, then up at the sky, then back at his lost bit of pilfering.
And then he went back into the store as if nothing had happened, in order to steal another.
Now that is someone who really needed a drink.