Loose Change

One pence, two pence, five pence, ten. These are the coins that you never pick up, they are best left for someone who really needs them, after-all. But twenty pence, pick that off the floor whilst no-one’s looking. Fifty pence, it doesn’t matter if anyone’s looking. And a pound… well, you scramble. That’s what I did when I saw the coin sparkling from the sun on the concrete ground, as if winking at me. I dropped to its level, and crawled up to it before anyone else could claim it. A homeless man watched me scoop it up, too slow.

It was from this pound that I began to see them, more frequent, more alluring than the last. Pound coins under chairs, pound coins hanging from the stairs, pound coins somewhere over there. Each one would shine brighter than the last, and each time I’d charge and make them mine. The strange thing is, I also started to see more of something else. I witnessed a young man keel over in the street after finding a pound lodged in gum, getting the cherry flavoured gunk stuck in my coat pocket as my eyes watched him fall and die.

Under a vending machine I found one, by the vending machine a teenager flew from his bike, his neck snapping as he crashed into the machine, chocolate bars tumbling to the bottom. A businessman approached me as I picked one from an open bin, laughing at my expense, cutting open his stomach with a pair of scissors to bleed out onto the pavement at his. A woman fell in the road as I tried to save one from rolling into a drain. The bus didn’t stop in time to save her, though I saved mine. I figured coincidence, I feared nonchalance.

I dreamt of my pregnant wife lying on the sofa. I approached her, waiting for her to notice me, leaning over the sofa to reach out and stroke her tangled hair, to make her see me, but she did not see me, she carried on watching the static on the television. I peered over to examine her bloated belly, and saw only her skin peeled away, revealing dozens of pound coins in place of her innards, her child. And rather than wake up in a thick sweat, I tried to pick all the change from inside her. She watched me.

I tried to stop after that dream, but the pound coins seemed to grow more frequent, falling out of pedestrian pockets, rolling down hills, and even tumbling from the sky. Each pound shone brighter than the last, and as they scattered across the floor, I saw the crowd of people nearby and each individuals worth.

I returned home exhausted, my wife sound asleep. I reheated my slow-cooked tea, sitting at the table to consume it, savouring every tasteless morsel. What little energy it provided would be essential, for it would take some time to count my new stack of loose change.

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