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Feb 2017
Today is Monday, pension day
Tommy is standing in the queue
Behind him is his neighbour
Who everyone calls Nosey Sue

In front of him is Carol
Who works in the general dealers
He saw her in town the other day
In her clapped-out Reliant three-wheeler

The queue is getting longer
And the odour isn't nice
It’s a mixture of sweat and eau de cologne
And some guy is wearing 'old spice'

Carol turns to Tommy and says
“There’s a lot of bills that need paying”
He sees Sue listen attentively
To hear what they are saying

Sue tells them both
“Gas and electric are getting dear”
Carol says “you shouldn’t have been listening” with a sneer
Sue looks put-out and turns her back on them
A heavy smoker at the front coughs
And says his chest is full of phlegm

The  girl behind the counter says “too much information”
The man laughs and discloses he's on the list
For a knee operation
Tommy is tired of waiting
While others stand without a care
He sees a woman further back
Spraying perfume in the air

One of Tommy’s neighbours
Her name is Bernadette
Though attached to an oxygen supply
Says she's gasping for a cigarette
Tommy tells her she should pack them in
But she says with a wry smile
“It’s the smoking that keeps me thin
It wouldn’t be worthwhile”

The queue is getting shorter
Tommy is almost at the front
Heavy smoker spits on the floor
But no-one dares confront

Carol pays her bills
And bids Tommy goodbye
Sue gives her a ***** look
But she has no idea why

Tommy is now at the counter
His pension to collect
The cashier hands him the money
And asks him to check it’s correct

Tommy’s been given a fiver too much
And hands the extra over
Sue comments that if it had happened to her
She'd have been in clover

The cashier thanks Tommy for being honest
Sue says she thinks he's mad
“Honesty's the best policy” Tommy asserts
“It’s a thing of the past and that’s sad”

Sue smirks and says “You’re a fool, Tommy Jones
I'd have kept it without a thought,
Think of all the little treats
That fiver would have bought”

Tommy says to Sue, up-close so she can hear
“I may not have that extra fiver, but my conscience it is clear”
He bids farewell to Bernadette
Still gasping for a smoke
And waves his hand to the rest of the queue
Even though they've never spoke

Sue says “I’ll see you again next week
Or maybe some other time
And I hope the cashier makes a mistake
Then that fiver will be mine”

Tommy smiles at her and thinks
‘Will she ever learn?”
He hopes the cashier doesn't slip up
When it is Sue's turn
Written by
jenny linsel  Hartlepool
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