“All right, Dave?”
“Rest of us is going Brighton on Saturday. You coming too?”
“No. No money, innit.” Shame. I know Dave likes me and I think he’s fit too. Brighton could be a laugh and I might be able to get him back to my place afterwards….
“Girls can make money easy.”
“What you saying?” Does he think we’d shag anything for a few quid? He’s got a cheek.
He’s still nice though.
“No, not that. There’s this story you can tell people. I’ve heard about it. They’re falling over to give you money when they hear it.”
Maybe I could go to Brighton after all. “Oh yeah? What story?”
“You just go up to someone and tell them you’ve been attacked and need some money to get back home. You don’t want to go on the bus because you’re too scared. They’ll think you’ve been raped and feel sorry for you and hand over the money. It’s easy!”
He’s made it sound very easy. And people falling over to give me money? I like the sound of that. Some people have too much money and it’s not fair. They have everything, get to have new stuff and go on trips whenever they feel like it. Why shouldn’t I?
“So I just….”
“Yeah. Tell them you’ve been attacked, you need money to get home. Here, try it out on me first.”
“What, like, now?”
“Yeah. Go on.”
“Um, excuse me, I’ve been raped…”
“…attacked and I need some money…”
“No, no! You can’t just go straight into it like that. They’ll never believe you. Cry a bit, you know. Pretend you’re too upset to talk about it.”
“I can’t cry just like that!”
“Well, all right then, don’t do it. You said you didn’t have the money for Brighton and I’ve got a way for you to make some. If you don’t want to know, that’s fine with me!”
Shit. He’s cross now.
“No, it’s OK, I’ll do it.” He calms down a bit and I have another go.
“Excuse me? I’m really sorry to bother you but…I’ve been attacked and I haven’t got any money to get home again.” I look down, pretending I’m about to start crying.
“Yeah, that’s quite good, actually,” says Dave. “You’d convince me!”
“I was wondering if you could help me out…”
“Say you’d be so grateful…”
“I’d be so grateful….”
“Yeah, you’re going to be great at this! What are we going to do in Brighton, then?”
He’s on about Brighton now. I’d like to practice a bit more. Now he’s got his arm round me and he’s talking about jellied eels. Saturday’s going to be fun! I might try and get him to buy me a present, or at least a milkshake. I wonder if Gail’s going. Hope not.
When I wake up on Friday, I remember I’ve got to go out and do this rape story thing. To be honest, I don’t want to do it but I do want to go to Brighton, and this seems easier than nicking stuff. I’ve already decided where I’m going to go to do it – I got lost near Covent Garden last time I was up west and found this place called Seven Dials. I’ll go there. The shops are pretty expensive so there’ll be a lot of rich people, but there are a couple of weird vegetarian cafes as well so there’ll probably be a few do-gooders who’ll want to help me. How can they eat that brown rice muck though? Bet they go a lot….
It’s about eleven o’clock by the time I get to Seven Dials. I get lost again! It’s really pretty here: there’s this post thing with all these blue clocks on the top and all these streets going off in different directions, a bit like a star, I suppose. Some of the buildings are quite old and there’s a flower stall (how much for one flower?!).
At first I just stand still, wondering who I should go up to. I feel a bit daft so I start walking around. I see a woman who looks really posh (bet she could give me a tenner and never notice) but she also looks the type that might just ignore me…too late. She’s gone in a shop. I see a man who looks like a bit of a hippie, probably just about to go for lunch in one of those weird cafes. I go up to him and I’m about to start speaking when he suddenly sees someone across the street and goes off to say hello to them. The next person I see, I’m going to ask, I swear. Some kids, I can’t ask them. Right, the next person. He’ll do. Might be a student. Read loads of books, no idea what it’s really like. Here goes:
“Excuse me, sorry to bother you….”
“What? What is it? I’m late, I’m in a rush.”
“Oh. No, it’s nothing. Never mind.”
He’s gone. He caught me out with that being late thing. Mustn’t let that happen again. I’m going to keep going, no matter what they say to me. Here’s someone else, a woman about my age, smiling a bit (what’s she so happy about?), quite nice clothes but big horrible boots on too, she’s looking around and she’s seen me already, which makes it easier I suppose.
“Sorry to bother you but I need some help….”
“Oh. What’s happened?” She sounds sympathetic but I’m not sure.
“I’ve been attacked. I need to get home. Please can you give me some money to help me get home?”
“You’ve been attacked? You need to tell the police then,” says the woman.
“Um, I have. But now I need to get home.”
“Did the police not offer to take you home?” she says. Then her voice changes and she says, “That sounds a bit unlikely to me. They just took your details and sent you back out, wandering around?”
“But I’ve been attacked,” I say again.
“I’m sorry, I’m not going to give you any money.” She walks away.It’s just me, standing there in the street. I don’t know where everyone else has gone. There aren’t even any cars. Dave said the story would work. I tried, I wanted to go to Brighton so I really tried. I can’t go now. I still might see Dave on Sunday. It depends if Gail goes to Brighton too, really.