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by Neil Campbell

Working from home was miles better, he’d never get pat and mick. But these colleges, loads of little scrotes running around coughing and sneezing everywhere, and the same on the bus, an hour there, an hour back. They’d tried to improve the buses by having air conditioning on them, but you sat upstairs and you couldn’t hear from the noise it made and it just blew all the germs around the bus.

In the college as well, he had to go in different classrooms, log in on different computers. Can you imagine all the germs on those keys? Every single letter holding a sliver of piss, bacteria on every single key of the keyboard, words spreading germs from fingertip to fingertip. Then you went in the canteen and had a chip butty.

That must have been the process, something along those lines. In the morning he just about held it together. As he waffled on at them about Dracula for the third consecutive year, he could see the vision in the corners of his eyes blurring. He kept drinking from his water bottle, hung on until the end of the class.

He struggled all afternoon, going through language features and structural devices with a bunch of listless fuckers who couldn’t care less about GCSE English. There was one lad. Pissed him off every week, so much so that Peter dreaded that class the night before and didn’t sleep properly. Time after time he told this lad to put his phone away and time after time this lad refused. Every time he said something this lad questioned it. Now in some ways Peter thought this a good thing, tried to go with it, but the lad was just a little twat, there was no getting around it. Just a self-entitled little twat who’d never had to want for anything in his whole life. All on a plate for him. His parents had probably never said a single critical or negative thing to him, so he walked around like he owned the place. Good parenting, people. Peter hated people like that. All confidence and no substance. You could achieve so much as an average person if you did stuff with confidence. Perhaps it was his own lack of confidence that meant this touched a nerve so much.

He walked over to the lad and vomited in his face.

Neil Campbell is from Manchester. His third novel, Lanyards, comes out in September. ncampbellwriter.wixsite.com/website