“The Struggle” – Part Five

by Mark Essem

Part One at http://southerngothiccreations.com/the-struggle-part-one/.

Part Two at http://southerngothiccreations.com/the-struggle-part-two/.

Part Three at http://southerngothiccreations.com/the-struggle-part-three/.

Part Four at http://southerngothiccreations.com/the-struggle-part-four/.


(Jack sits down to speak to the person who signs him on.)

Jack: Look, I’m going on the sick. I’ve done à lot of drugs. I’m suicidal and feel like going on a rampage.

(The worker sits there, gob smacked, not knowing what to say. Jack gets up and leaves the Jobcentre)


(Weeks have passed. Jack hasn’t left the flat. It’s a mess, with empty bottles all about. He’s sat on the ripped up sofa, watching TV, drinking vodka. On the table, there’s his letters that he hasn’t opened. He picks them up, opens them. There are rent arrears and eviction notices. Then, the electric goes off. He has ran out and no money for any. He throws the letters down and starts drinking.)


(Jack wakes up rough and pours the last bit of vodka and coke, and starts drinking. He goes to the kitchen, looks in the cupboard, and grabs the box of cereal and pours it into a bowl. There’s a handful. He then opens the fridge. It’s empty; he slams the door and starts kicking it in anger. He throws everything that’s on the sides onto the floor, and then starts punching the cupboard doors and then starts searching the flat for money. He finds a handful of change – about £10. He grabs his jacket, puts his hood up and leaves the flat.)


(Jack is walking back from the shop with a bottle of vodka and sees some men putting his stuff outside the flat.)

Jack: What the fuck you doing?

Worker: Landlord is kicking you out. We’ve bagged your stuff up and were changing the locks. You’ll be getting a bill for the damage, as well.

(Jack knows there’s nothing he can do so he grabs his bags of clothes and blanket and leaves.)


(Jack walks into the hostel and goes to the reception>)

Jack: I’m homeless. I need some were to sleep.

Worker: You need to fill out this form.

(Jack fills in the form.)

Jack: Now what.

Worker: You wait for us to contact you.

Jack: What am I meant is what do I do till then?

Worker: I don’t know. I just work here; I don’t make the rules.

(Jack storms out.)


(Jack sits on a bench, drunk, drinking vodka out of the bottle. He finishes the bottle and smashes it. He then picks up a piece of glass and starts cutting himself.)


(Jack walks into the hostel.)

Jack: I need somewhere to sleep. I’m wet, cold. and hungry.

Worker: It doesn’t work like that. There’s a waiting list. If you don’t leave, I’ll have to call the police.

Jack: Well, do what you have to do. I’ll have to get arrested, then. so I’ll have somewhere to sleep.

Worker: Let me speak to my manager, to see if there’s anything that can be done. Getting arrested isn’t the best solution.

(The worker goes and speaks to her manager, then comes back.)

Worker: I’ve spoken to my manager. We’re going to give you a chance; if you mess up, that’s it.

Jack: Thanks, I appreciate it.

Worker: Right. I’ll show you around, then do some paperwork.

(The worker shows Jack around the hostel and shows him his room.)

Worker: This is your room. Here’s your key. If you want to get changed and leave your stuff here, then we’ll have a chat and sort the paperwork.

(The worker goes back to the reception. while jack gets changed. Jack then goes to the reception and they go to a room to talk.)

Worker: Ok, Jack, there’s rules while you are staying here. No violence and abuse to anyone, no drugs and alcohol to be brought in, and you can’t come in while on drugs or drink. There are activity groups you have to go to to help with socializing and moving forward, getting back into work, and getting your own place. You’ll have to pay rent and food is included with it. Any questions?

Jack: Can I owe for today’s meal. I’m starving. I just want to eat, have a hot shower, and go to bed. Last night was freezing.

Worker: Yes, that’ll be fine.

(The worker takes Jack to where they keep the food.)

Worker: Will beans and toast be o.k.?

Jack: That’s fine; anything will do.

Worker: O.k., you know where the kitchen is. Everything you need is there. Just make sure you clean up after yourself.

Jack: No worries; thanks.

(Jack goes to the kitchen and makes beans on toast, eats it, cleans up, has a shower, then goes to bed.)