He had gone part-time by choice, and was even considering retirement from the insurance firm, for he was reasonably prosperous, his kids grown up, with the mortgage paid off years ago.
After 35 years loyal service he was also entitled to his company pension, should he take early retirement, before the state pension kicked in at 66.
“Why not?” he thought, his mind ready to leisurely weigh up the pros and cons on the bus ride home.
“Got some spare change, sir?” said a gravelly, slurred voice, interrupting his musings.
“I’m afraid not,” said Barry curtly, looking down at the beggar on the sidewalk.
The man was obviously an alcoholic with the prematurely gray hair of his ilk. He looked old, but was probably only in his forties.
“He’ll never make it to my age,” thought Barry, finding it hard to veil his disgust at the purple-faced, toothless specimen beneath him.
“Well, fuck you!” rasped the beggar, sensing his contempt, as Barry walked on.
The trivial yet rancorous encounter had managed to rattle him, the beggar’s abusive response punctuating his equilibrium.
It had started to pepper with rain so, on a whim, Barry decided to pop into the Starbucks across the road.
He would have a latte there and browse the news on his iPad, while waiting for the rain to stop.
After all, he had all day.
Ensconced in a comfortable armchair, he looked outside.
The rain grew stronger, thoroughly soaking the forlorn beggar, who scrambled off looking for shelter.
Barry smiled, sipping his latte contentedly.