MR TOM

A kettle boiled as Mr Tom sat at his small kitchen table weaving a packet of Polo Mints between his fingers. His fingers were long, thin and despite their seventy years service for the stubborn old bastard, surprisingly youthful. The skin had remained taught and bore not a single mark, other than a curious dry cracking where the right index finger met the palm. As the kettle clicked off and the squeak and pop of its bubbling began to wane, Mr Tom stood and made himself a coffee. As he stirred the granules into the circling water, the sound of traffic suddenly bolted in through the open door next to him. London's traffic was yet again notching up a gear for another day of labours. 

Mr Tom returned to the table with his coffee and took his seat as an old wrist watch, that laid next to the abandoned mints, struck six o'clock. Mr Tom raised out his chin and listened in the direction of the balcony, that protruded out from the open door and floated three floors above a small courtyard. Nothing. Mr Tom slowly yet with haste, as only he could conjure, opened the mints and one by one placed four into his mouth. He paused, listened, then

champed the sweets before taking a gulp of his coffee. This methodical consumption continued until all the mints were finished and the last mouthful of coffee was drunk. As the congealed matter of peppermint and caffeine worked their way into his tired old gut, he sat motionless waiting. 

The solitude of the courtyard below was suddenly disturbed by the pacing of feet. Mr Tom reacted and manoeuvred towards the door, silently and with ease raising phlegm from his lower airways. Mr Tom had found with the hasty consumption of Polo Mints, phlegm didn't take as much drawing and always induced a good thick substance. He stepped out onto the balcony phlegm in mouth and with a quick glance over the metal railing located the courtyards occupant. Silently Mr Tom stepped out of sight and arching his body back, tilting his head to the heavens, drew a large breath and then like a discharging catapult, flung forward releasing the phlegm into the morning air. It rolled, expanded and catching the breeze momentarily hovered, then contorted and plummeted. 

 

SLAP! The phlegm found its way onto the scalp of a young man. At first the man cowered and then raising his hand as though to seek out the gunk, faltered, he withdrew his hand from entertaining the phlegm and turned to quiz the overhanging apartments. Prepared, he pulled out a fresh tissue from his pocket and masterfully gathered the goo from his tightly trimmed head of hair. He smirked to himself and scrunching the tissue into a ball threw it into a neighbouring bush. The tissue bobbed its way through the flowering branches and came to rest at the foot, alongside a host of other soiled tissues. 

'Every fucking day' The footsteps headed out of the courtyard. Mr Tom stood back on his balcony and waited for them to disappear and for the clank of the courtyards security gate. As the gate clung too, Mr Tom stepped out onto the balcony and satisfied. He stood tall over the courtyard and imaging himself like Clint Eastward, set a gaze across what little of London he could see.