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Nirvana anyone?

 
 
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#16 | Posted: 26 Oct 2020 09:26 
Nothing clears the head more than distress of the sort Bartholomew now faced. He was hungry - thirsty, cold. The basics of life were making their presence felt. He could have just gone home. A reverse charge phone call was all it would have taken, but the contemplation of such an action didn't even enter his head. Resigned to his new life for now he ploughed on in the pursuit of sustenance. His mind felt clearer than it had for years. What did anything matter if you were hungry? It sharpened his intellect if anything. No longer an onlooker but a participator, looking to strike a deal, to strike a bargain, to take advantage, to compete. His reservation had not gone completely out the window by this stage but it was about to. What the hell could be do? He had to eat.
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Author Admin
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#17 | Posted: 26 Oct 2020 09:49 | Edited by: Admin 
He wandered on, away from his previous route. He felt the need to see new places and not face repetition or to reside in the old. It was a big city and there was plenty to see. People were once again scurrying about, all with a purpose in mind - or so it seemed. Many though, seemed oblivious of everything around them, purposely blanking it all off if anything. With their eyes staring ahead or down, and with headphones on they bulldozed their way forward as if wading through a herd of wild animals, where to come into eye contact with any obviously hostile native species was just asking for trouble. At least the cold air had warmed up some, enough for Bartholomew to take off his jacket. As he did so he became aware of his own bodily excretions making their mark - sweaty armpits were now his constant companion. Such a stink would deepen in time to surround him with a disagreeable pungency that others would step away from. Tools of the trade though to any itinerant. What better way to separate yourself from the rest of humanity than by appearing so disheveled and smelling so offensive. It was part and parcel of the way of life now facing him. Taking a break whilst sitting down on the pavement he was astonished that a sound of tinkling money appeared to his side. Someone had cast some change into his jacket! Did he really appear so down and out already? A night spent under the bushes had left its calling card - a few calling cards, in fact. Bartholomew's hair was tangled, his face was smeared with dirt, his eyes somewhat lackluster and his trousers were marked at the knee. A man down on his luck is how he appeared to be. Such deterioration in so short a time was alarming, even to Bartholomew himself. Still, a few coins were a few coins after all. A cup of coffee - a sandwich! Lifesaving. But such a turn of events hadn't gone unnoticed. Bartholomew was stepping on someone's turf!
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Author Admin
Admin


#18 | Posted: 26 Oct 2020 10:36 | Edited by: Admin 
The underclass - the underground of a city, is not the province of the well balanced. It is inhabited by some very damaged people who are not known for their reticence to give vent to their feelings. Bartholomew had inadvertently opened the door to rubbing shoulders with human failure, in effect, by stepping into their world. They might all have a story to tell - who doesn't? But these stories were anything but uplifting. Some were not really stories at all, but crazed monologues, literally.

To think competition doesn't exist among those who exist on so little is wrong, very wrong. Those who have very little place high value on next to nothing as a result and woe betide should anything or anyone attempt to take it from them, as Bartholomew was seemingly attempting to do. The next thing he knew was being punched in the side of the head and having to face a true-life maniac, one who was quite capable of ending Bartholomew's short life there and then. It was more than a sobering experience. No-one had ever laid a finger on him before. He was lucky in a way his boyhood greenness was very apparent to his attacker as it was this disarming quality that saved him from greater harm, but even so, the ranting and raving continued. Bartholomew picked up his belongings and ran for it, leaving the money behind.

Life in the concrete jungle is fraught with danger. You don't escape it by attempting to live underneath it or by attempting to ignore it. Such danger follows you wherever you go, be you rich or poor. Already Bartholomew's romantic vision of such a lifestyle was heavily tarnished. But credit where credit is due, he soldiered on rather than call for help at this point. He might have had a sore head but he was still hungry. He so very nearly had the wherewithal to satisfy his cravings too - it was within his grasp. For the first time in his life he felt anger towards another human being. Running from such a man? Running from someone much smaller than himself? He felt a rising gall in the pit of his stomach and a tightening of his skull around his temples. Looking back he could still see the man in the distance. He was intelligent enough to know he could never challenge his assailant, not now, but he had a sneaking suspicion he would some time in the future should he keep on this same path for very much longer.

***optional paragraph - probably ditched in rewrite***

It was early days and Bartholomew's journey had just began, but already he had begun to change to suit his new environment. Each step he took along the way from here on in would change him all the more, should he survive for long enough, that is.

*****
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Author Admin
Admin


#19 | Posted: 27 Oct 2020 09:24 | Edited by: Admin 
Of course, by this time, Bartholomew's parents were frantic with worry. Had he been robbed, stabbed, murdered! They knew he had walked off into the distance as he was spotted doing so. They also knew he had defaced some of his belongings and dumped them in the bin, and also money had been dropped on the floor, but they didn't know where he had wandered off to since. The trackers were hot on his trail though. One in particular showed a great deal more promise than the motley collection of others. The last thing his parent's wanted was this news to 'get out' so they had hired a private detective rather than call in the police. As luck would have it the detective had not found out about Bartholomew's change of clothes, not yet, but he would in time as the purchases showed on his credit card transactions, the likes of which he would finally gain access to. For now though, he was looking for a young man in a very expensive suit. A temporary reprieve is all it was, but it was enough to put some distance between them - the hunter and the prey. In a world where material possessions were so important to most it was ironic they would betray Bartholomew in this manner. Hadn't he cast them aside? He couldn't exactly walk off down the road stark naked so we can forgive this small digression. A change of clothing was required then. Fate was on Bartholomew's side this bright summer's day in this regard. Nice clothes are appreciated by those from all walks of life as Bartholomew was about to find out to his advantage.
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Author Admin
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#20 | Posted: 30 Oct 2020 12:30 
Pawn shops were scattered here and there, but prior to this day Bartholomew had never considered them for any reason whatsoever. He had already passed a few without knowing or caring what they were, but the gnawing hunger in his belly had opened his eyes to the sights, sounds and smells of human coexistence, the result being such a shop had finally caught his eye. He knew what they stood for and how they operated - ready money for those with something to sell or pawn. What did he have that might be worth something? His jacket for one - his shoes for another. They might have spent the night under a bush but they were still anything but worn - and they had cost a fair few bob too. What did he have to lose? The rumbling in his stomach made its presence felt yet again which gave some impetus to his deliberations and he stepped inside the money pit without further ado.
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Author Admin
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#21 | Posted: 30 Oct 2020 12:30 
It was altogether seedy. Of a sort Bartholomew would never have stepped foot in prior to his now depleted condition. Dark and dingy with oddments scattered here and there. Not exactly awash with valuable antiques or heirlooms other unfortunates of the same station in life had been forced to part with either. No, Playstations, Xboxes, games of all sorts adorned the walls. All sorts of other items that were of no use to Bartholomew in his present state or in any other previous state were scattered around. It spoke to him of human dross, that which inhabits the underbelly of society, a direct connection to the ways and means of people he had never thought about or cared about before. Yet, here he was, no better than they were. Hoping, as they had, to strike the best deal possible. Thankfully, by now, in just a short space of time, Bartholomew had learned a little of life to give some fortitude to his actions, some grit and determination to his dealings with the well-versed money lender. It wasn't as bad as he thought. As expected he was taken advantage of but had walked out with a small sum of money in his pocket nonetheless. Not only this, but the trade included both his jacket and shoes being exchanged for others of a lesser quality and price tag, unknowingly throwing off the pack of hounds on his tail. He now looked like one of many others, effectively merging with them with each step of the way, appearing to be just another inconsequential fish in an overcrowded sea, making his pursuers sniff altogether harder to pick up his now elusive and rapidly diminishing scent. Bartholomew was becoming who he desired to be at a pace that was hard to believe, and still he had little thought of home.
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