Throw Him Away and Get a New One

“Dear Lord,” said Angus. “The poor man.”

“I tried to help him, but he wouldn’t have it.” Mason Winthrop stood up and advanced upon Angus. “Why do you think your wife wanted rid of you, Mr Highsmith?”

“None of your damned business!” Angus emptied the last dregs of whisky and let the bottle fall from his grasp. It bounced on the lino with a loud thump. “And you owe me another bottle of scotch.”

Winthrop produced the promised bottle and allowed it to be snatched from his grasp. Without asking if he might, he sat next to Angus on the bed. “You feel better for telling me your story, don’t you?”

Angus opened the bottle and took a bracing swig before answering. “Nobody would listen to me. No sooner had my work colleagues heard about my misfortune than a rumour went around that I’d been involved in domestic violence. At the YMCA they asked me not to come back. Said they didn’t want my type.

“My boss sacked me for the most spurious of reasons. Then the Jobcentre told me I’d engineered my own dismissal and turned me down for benefit.

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