The Tramp – By Daryl Baldwin

Bill looked like a circus clown; walking with a short stoop and slow shuffle in those oversize shoes made children laugh. Layers of clothes and the Columbo style coat hid his small frame from the world.

I remember the first time I ever saw him. I came out of school; running to the gate where my mum stood waiting. It was a ritual to go straight to the sweetshop for a quarter of pink coloured bonbons. As we came out of the shop and travelled home we passed a bench at the bottom of the road. There was Bill. I held my mum’s hand real close. He was so smelly and dirty I put my hand over my mouth and nose.

“Hello Bill,” mum said, as if he was a family friend.

I looked at her as she said it but just managed to catch the toothless smile from Bill’s face. Under the dirt and grime was a person. There was a story. I watched as he nodded and smiled at her.

“Mummy, who’s that?”
“That’s Bill,” she said
“Why is he dirty?”
“Because he hasn’t got a home and nowhere to wash.”
“Why hasn’t he got a home?”
“He can’t live inside houses.”

I put a sweet in my mouth. I kept wondering about him. He didn’t look like one mum’s friends.

“Because he was tortured during the war.”

I looked back at Bill and he smiled at me. The bonbons and the world lost their flavour.

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Daryl was born in Gloucester, England. He still lives there today. He is married and has three children and 1 dog. He works in a local company making products for aircraft and other vehicles. In his spare time he likes to write screenplays and micro fiction. Reading has played a large part of his life. His love of films inspired him to start his first screenplay 2 years ago. This has progressed into trying his hand at prose and lately, micro fiction. He is a parent governor at the school his children attend. He believes that his input can be invaluable to his children as well as others.

  1. Even the least of us has a story; thank you for sharing this one in such a wide-eyed, wondering, wonderful way.

  2. Thanks for reading. It was a pleasure sharing about him. He always had a smile despite his hardships. A real paradox – bill was a sad yet cheerful person.

  3. The way you captured him with so few words made me suspect this was based on a real person. Well done.


  4. hi grace,

    it was indeed based on a real person. he was a lovely guy too but suffered from the horrors of war.

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