98. Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

April 2018.

Exactly 1 year after I resigned from ACE, the English language school I’d worked at for almost 7 years.

The police drop me at Hounslow.

It’s just about 9am.

I’m in the shopping precinct.

It’s just waking up.

Multi-cultural London.

I haven’t been here since my mum’s funeral 2 years earlier.

I’ve got no money.

I’ve got my Lloyd’s Bank ATM card but no cash.

If I can just contact a friend to put some money in my bank, but how…

I’ve no phone.

No money.

I spot an internet cafe.

£1 for 30 mins.

I sit at a computer.

Log onto Messenger.

See who’s online.

I send begging messages to my friends.

They’re used to my begging messages by now.

I’ve been tapping my friends and family for the last year – ever since my resignation.

Then, in December, I came clean to everyone about my crystal meth addiction, and everyone stopped giving.

Some even stopped responding.

No one gives me money now, either.

I have to tell the shop guy I’ll pay later, after I’ve been to the bank. I’m sorry.

He’s not happy.

I go outside and plonk myself down on the sidewalk to beg.

I sing.

I can’t sing.

But I sing.

Nobody gives.

Everyone just looks at me like I’m nuts.

Fuk you, Mr. Fox, I say in my mind.

Haven’t you got enough footage?

Are you saying I gotta be homeless in London as well?

I see Mr. Fox’s face in my mind’s eye.

Looking at me with that pompous, smarmy grin.

Muthafukka.

Fuk you, Mr. Fox.

I’m James fuken Bond.

Fuk you.

Author: Mark Dark

Actor turned Christian missionary turns his back on his Hollywood dreams to combat sex trafficking in Cambodia – and finds himself tangled up in gang culture and a surreal internal world of drugs psychosis. Based on true events.