A man of no consequence

The stranger loomed up out of the gloom. In the dank air of the alley, Price could feel the dampness of the River Thames. The cobblestones shone wetly and the gas streetlight gave out a golden halo in the smog; a deceptive illusion of warmth.

The man looked him up and down. ‘I ain’t never heard a man of no conserkence call himself no such thing. What’s yer business?’

Price turned and looked at the wooden cart he pulled behind.

‘I sell tulips. To the rich.’


‘Yes. From Holland.’

The man stared.

‘For their gardens.’

‘Do I look rich to you? Do I look like I have a bleedin’ garden? Do you see any gardens round ‘ere?’

‘Actually I was hoping I might find accommodation in your establishment for the night.’

‘Three shillings an’ sixpence.’

Price sighed, rummaged in his coat pockets and dropped the coins into his host’s grimy hand. The man grinned, displaying one missing and one gold tooth in his wide, malodorous mouth. He signalled for Price to follow. 

‘No conserkence, indeed!’ His laughter echoed ahead and he shook his head as he limped up the alleyway. 'No conserkence!'

Sara Roberts


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