It's been four nights since I slept in a room. Not that I couldn't afford this normally... it's just that the rents for single rooms are gone sky high. Sky-high – that's a laugh. Around me are multi-storied apartment blocks. Their rooms reach up, blotting out dull clouds. At ground zero, hoardings are lined up, touting their vacancies. I look away. Not for me.
I walk on. My suitcase pulls my shoulder. The weight is uncomfortable. I'd shrug if I could; nothing I can do about that. At least I'm not in a really busy place, being constantly jostled by a milling crowd isn't my idea of fun.
A coffee is called for. I reach into my pocket and pull out a bundle of scrip. After a moments scrutiny, I put it back, deciding it would be less than wise to afford that luxury. Although it isn't everything I own, what was in my hand was pretty close to it.
I toy with going to my locker for the last of my scrip – but decide against it. Down the street, a dingy bank advertises its wares. What would it be like to have a bank account? Way out of my league – a bit like having a home, or a job. This wasn't my kind of city, but what city was? I heft my suitcase again and head down the street. Perhaps I can find a sleep-over being hired out.
The rules on sleep overs are strict. According to the politicians, sleep-overs aren't the problem; rather if too many people do it long term, it reduces the demand for new apartments. So most cities have draconian rules to cut it down. I can't afford to hire a second-hand apartment, let alone a new one, so that argument is lost on me.
As I walk along, I keep a respectable distance from the kerb;