Raging, absolutely raging, did you see your man, the state of him, who the feck does he thing he is, sitting outside the shop. Feckin’ raging, had to get really angry to get him to move, call security like. I’m telling ya, I’m raging.

Ya, it’s pure shite what you have to put up with, it not like they are paying you for it.

I know, and the stink of him, you’d think he have a wash, he has a choice, bloody filthy bum.

So, coffee?

Definitely need it after the day I’ve had.

Sitting at the edge of the bridge nearby the shopping centre he had been unceremoniously removed from, Murphy watched as the world passed him by. He was ok with what people thought about him. Yes, he was a little dishevelled, and homeless, and useless, and all of the things he had been called on a daily basis. He didn’t want to be, he really didn’t want to be, it just happened.

First the job went, then the house, he had worked most of his life, yet somehow, everything just slipped. Slipped so very slowly away. He didn’t do or think the way he was expected to, he never had many friends, too awkward; he could see it in their eyes. He never really fitted in.

There was always the rage, usually directed towards him, even when he was in.

At some point, everything loses its point, and maybe the only choice left is to give in to the inevitable. When you are outside, even when inside, you may just be better off being on the outside.

Looking down at the reflection of the leaves dancing on the water, speckles of green combining with the dark blue swirls creating momentary patterns he watches in silence, unnoticed by the people who walk on by.

Suddenly a dog, running ahead of its owner, tall and slightly chubby with a golden coat plops itself down next to him, laying the weight of its body against his bony leg.

Hey there guy.

Petting him on the head, the dog looks into his eyes. The dog sees him as he is and nuzzles his nose into his hand.

From a distance the owner, out of breath and slightly overweight too, shouts.

Here Chuck, here boy…

He shouts again keeping his distance, finally Chuck responds, but only because Murphy whispers in his ear he should go.

As they walk away, the owner’s whispers carry on the air.

Don’t do that again Chuck, you’d never know what you could catch.

Murphy swallows, shoulders concaving even deeper, his brain hurts, hurts so much. He is tired, so very tired, not emotional any more, just numb and tired.

Gazing back towards the water, breaking the river’s folds, a small grey ball of fur struggles. Walking to the side of the canal, Murphy kneels and hangs the top part of his body over the side; the ball of fur turns out to be a small mouse. Reaching forward he scoops the mouse out of the water and places him on the grass bank next to him.

Expecting the mouse to run away, he is surprised when the mouse stands still and looks up.

Thank you.

You’re welcome.

I’ve seen you before. You sit outside that shopping centre or here most days.

I do.

Why?

I have nowhere else to go.

I don’t understand.

I have no home.

But, you’re human.

Yes.

All humans have everything they need.

Why would you think that?

I see how much food you throw it away, I see how many clothes you throw away, you have so much, you can it all throw away.

Yes, but!

Have they thrown you away?

Maybe.

I see the people. I hear what they say.

I do too.

And you save me?

I do.

The mouse stops to ponder for a minute. Murphy sits back down on the bank of the canal and they both look at the river in silence. It is just reaching noon and the church bells ring out, the sun’s rays spread like ripples across the river and the leaves continue dancing with their reflections.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a giant boot come crashing down on the mouse, killing him outright, his last squeal pushed from his body as he is kicked back into the river.

That will be you next ya fucking bum.

Before turning away and shouting to his friends.

Hold up.

Murphy remains silent. Standing, he walks to the top of the bridge. No one is looking.

He leans forward and falls over the side; the rushing water takes his unresisting body down the river towards the bay.

As he floats away, the mouse swimming beside him, crawls onto his shoulder and into the top pocket of his tattered jacket. Whispering –

You’re not alone I’m here…

Jez did you hear about your man?

Who?

That feckin’ eejit I had to get booted away.

No.

He was found out on the bay, filthy fecker had mice in his pockets.

Ah no.

Well sure look at the state of him anyway, what else would you expect?

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