We sat for about an hour that day. That was about as much as I could handle. He had the curtains drawn in the flat. The smoke sat thick, hovering above our heads. The light in the corner of the room gave a warm little glow.
“So this job. You selling stuff?” he asked after a long period of silence. He didn’t look away from the TV as he asked me. There was something dire on. It was that lull before the kids TV started.
“Nah, customer service. Fixing people’s problems.” I kept looking at the Bob Marley poster above his head.
“Right. Sounds shit man.”
“Yup, but I’m skint. So I need to work more.”
“Can’t you get something doing…eh…” he squinted at the crack in the curtains, at the light seeping through, “in….what did you study again?”
“Chemical Engineering” I said.
“Yeah, that’s it. Can’t you do something involving chemicals?”
“There’s nothing out there brother. Just call centers and debt collectors.”
He pulled his knees up to his chest and shook his head.
“Yeah man, fuck bein’ a debt collector. Knowing my luck I’d get sent round to my own house!”
He smiled and laughed a little. He shook his head.
“Education, education, education eh?” he said, giving me a wink.
“Fucking Blair mate. The country’s fucked. You go to high school. You go to uni. You get the degree. And now what? A Chemical Engineer working in a fucking call center. They fucked you mate” He passed the joint back to me.
I looked at him. He was still wearing his pajamas. It was 2.40 in the afternoon. The Bob Marley poster over his head read ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ . I wondered if they fucked him too. It didn’t seem like it. I didn’t have an Xbox. I didn’t have ketchup.
“Nah I’m alright man.”
He shrugged and sat back with the rest of the joint. I saw a little smile come over his face as he put the joint back up to his lips. We sat in silence for a minute or so, the TV buzzing in the background.
“So how much are you after?” he asked me, dropping the last of the joint into the cup of moldy tea.
“Just a half ounce this time” I said, wishing I had just made this a social call. Aye right. A social call to the Mood Hoover. That would be right.