...five hundred ounds just lying on the floor. FIVE HUNDRED! That was a lot. Carl knew he could do a lot with it. After how he had been treated, yes, he would have no qualms about taking it.
He put some clothes on, packed a few clothes and a toothbrush... and his (yes, his) five hundred pounds.
He set off with a plan in mind. It was a great plan, it was a perfect plan. OK it made no provision for tomorrow, but who cared? It was a plan and it would see him through today.
Carl didn't even glance back at the place he'd been living all these years. He walked along his road until he reached the third on the right. He knew it well. It was the corner where his school was. He ignored that, too, and went along until he hit the second on the left. He knew this place a bit: he was passing the sweet shop he used when his regular one was too crowded. He went along and took the third on the right. Now he was out of his territory. There was no turning back now. He ploughed on and on, taking the third on the right and the second on the left (or, if there were no third on the right he'd go for the second; if there were only one road on the right he'd go for that one and ditto the left - he was flexible).
Eventually he came to a tube station. He was tired so he bought some chocolates and a couple of drinks at the sweet shop before getting on the train to sit down, have a rest and a think. It was going to a place called Cockfosters. He laughed at the funny name. Yes, he'd go all the way to Cockfosters and then carry on his walking pattern.
He ate his chocolates, drank his drink and fell asleep.
He was woken up by a man who'd come to clean the train and who wasn't pleased he was still sitting in it.
Carl got out. He couldn't be bothered with that walking pattern for now. He could see he was so near the edge of London. Why not just keep walking North now? Walk this town out: walk in... well, whatever came after London in.
So Carl walked and he walked and he walked. He got tired again and stopped at another sweet shop and bought some more chocolates and drinks. He sat under a tree to eat and drink his snack.
He got up again and carried on walking. He actually felt something approaching happiness when he saw a sign welcoming him to Potters Bar. He had left London!
He liked the look of the scenery. It made him feel a bit better already.
He soon saw the sign indicating a National Rail station and followed it to the indicated place. He worked out which was North by a process of elimination: if it said anywhere he'd heard of it must be heading back towards London; if the names were unfamiliar it was a good sign.
He got a train to somewhere called Peterborough.
On the train he met a girl a little older than him.
"Running away?" she asked.
"Yeah," said Carl.
"Got a lighter?"
"No, don't smoke," he replied.
"Got any money?" she asked.
"Maybe," he answered.
The girl was very pretty. She told Carl how handsome he was and hugged him and kissed him. She said she felt safe with him. She touched him in an intimate area and it felt good. They went to sleep, him leaning against the window and her with her head affectionately on his tummy.
Carl awoke just before Peterborough station. The girl, who'd said her name was Sara, was already standing up. She said if she had that sort of money, she'd take her friends to a nice hotel but that was because she'd always been too generous with her money - everybody always told her so, apparently. Carl shrugged. He found himself following Sara to a hotel she'd spotted.
She said he'd better hand the money to her to pay for the room as he looked too young to be booking into a hotel.
The reception staff didn't bat an eyelid as Sara asked for a room for them both and handed over the cash. The girl told Carl he deserved the nicest room imaginable as he'd obviously had such a hard life. Sara asked the receptionist for room service.
Carl and Sara went into their room. It was a new world for Carl. Sara looked as though this was all familiar to her.
A man appeared and offered the two of them coffee and wine. Carl had never tried either but, to look grown-up, he said yes to them both. Sara said yes to the wine but declined the coffee, going instead for champagne. She said she would have loved a coffee as well but she was very conscious of Carl's money and didn't want him to have to spend too much. She said she was always considerate that way - everyone thought she was too sensitive, aparently.
She started to ask Carl all sorts of questions: did he masturbate? Had he ever had a girlfriend? Was he gay? Did he fancy her? Everyone did, apparently.
Sara said they should both have a bath after their journey. They got into the bath together. Carl felt nervous at first, silly almost. He'd never been naked in front of a girl before. But she took it all in her stride. After a while he started to find it normal, too.
They got into bed. They were both naked and he could start to feel something happening to him down below.
"Good night," she said, giving him a kiss on the nose. She then turned away from him and fell asleep more quickly than he had ever known anybody to.
In the morning Carl awoke to find himself alone in bed. Presumably Sara was in the loo or something. He got up, got showered, got dressed and cleaned his teeth. He then went to check his money. There was fifty pounds left. He searched and searched. There was definitely only fifty pounds left. He couldn't have spent all the rest, could he? He'd have to tell Sara that they needed to calm all the spending down a bit.
He searched the loo; he went down to the breakfast room; he tried everywhere but Sara was nowhere to be found.
He would have to continue his journey alone. A pity. He thought they'd end up as boyfriend and girlfriend. He'd had a great night, though.
Carl decided to hitch-hike. After an age a lorry stopped.
"Yes? Where to?" asked the grey-haired lorry-driver seriously.
"North," said Carl.
The driver just nodded and they set off.