"Look at them. Scum the lot of them."
"Tom, that's not fair." Ben snapped back. He stared out of his cab window at the hundreds of people rushing past. Not one of them had a decent coat for the rain that was thundering down, and looking closely he realised not one of them was over weight.
"What's not?" Tom asked back. "Ben, you need to face reality. They are here because there either dumb or lazy. It's a dog eat dog world."
Ben shook his head, but didn't say anything. As much as he loved Tom, his best mate, he didn't half get on his nerves. Face reality? More like the other way round. Was Tom really that naive to think that the poverty that flooded this neighbour hood was all down the the people themselves?
Yes, maybe one or two was not all that bright. And okay maybe a few were lazy. But when it came down to it, it was opportunities. If your born to a rich family, your always rich. If your born into a poor family. Well lets just say, it's hard to reach the top.
"What are we doing her Ben?" Tom asked. His hands were twitching in his lap, and Ben smiled to himself as he realised Tom was nervous.
"I've come to show you a friend of mine." Ben answered without looking at him.
"A friend? In this area?" Tom asked. "I think you need to choose your friends more wisely."
Ben turned round, and raised his eyebrows.
"With comments like that, I wonder why I'm your friend at all." Ben muttered.
Tom laughed. "Maybe all those times I stuck up for you in college helps."
Ben looked up at his driver, and nodded as he realised he was here.
"Thank you Sam, we'll be ten minutes max."
He got out quickly, with Tom following him closely. Out of all the houses that they had passed, this looked one of the worst. The top windows were boarded up, and the bricks looked ready to turn to dust. Slates were missing from the roof, and graffiti covered the door. Ben grimaced as the door rattled, when he knocked on.
"Ben.." Tom started but he stopped suddenly as the door opened.
A young boy, with dirty blonde hair stared up at them dressed in a matted, red top and a drooping nappy. He grinned as he spotted Ben, and hugged his leg tightly.
"Benhamin, Benhamin!" He yelled happily.
"Nice to see you too." Ben laughed, picking him up. "Where's your mummy?"
"In the livin' room." He said, his arms wrapped round his neck.
"This way, Tom. Wipe your feet before you come in." Ben said, as he entered the house. Tom looked at the dirty carpet incredulously, but wiped his feet anyway. He shut the door after him, and followed the noise.
Ben smiled as he saw the woman he'd come to see. Her ginger hair was pulled up in a messy bun, and there were dark patches under her eyes, but Ben couldn't help but see the beauty in her.
"Benjamin. It's been too long." She said quietly. She sat up straighter, and waved her hands for them to sit. "And you've brought a friend."
"Hi, I'm Tom King." Tom said formally, holding out his hand. The woman looking him up and down, grinned but didn't move. Awkwardly, Tom dropped his arm and sat down.
"Nice to see you Tom. I'm Sarah, if Ben hasn't already told you." She said, grinning.
"Enough of the introductions, where is he?" Ben asked her.
"Oh, so it's not my company you've come for. He's been in the world for less then a week and already he's more interesting than me." She laughed. "Mary! Bring Benny here will ya'."
Seconds later a young girl, around fifteen, dressed in a green dress came in. Ginger curls also framed her young face. In her arms lay a bundle of blankets. She gasped as she saw Ben.
"Ma'! You didn't tell me we had company!" She said. She placed the blankets in her mothers arms and then quickly still left the room.
"Bless her. Still got the hots for you." Sarah laughed, looking at Ben. She stood up, and slowly placed the bundle into his arms.
"My god, he's beautiful." Ben muttered, as he glanced down at the small face looking up at him. "Got your mad hair, hasn't he."
"Sure has." Sarah said, sitting back down. Small patches were slowly forming on her breasts.
He looked round to glance at Tom. He noted the worried expression on his face. Then realisation hist him.
"Oh god no. These aren't mine. Don't worry." Ben said, laughing. "I met Sarah a few years ago, when she came in labour with little Max. I drove her to the hospital, well Sam did."
Tom blushed as Sarah burst out laughing.
"I didn't.. I..That's not.." Tom muttered, trying to save himself, but soon gave up as he couldn't be heard over the mixture of Ben's laughs and Sarah's.
"It's okay Tom. I should have said." Ben said, wiping his tears.
"I didn't think that." Tom tried to say, but Ben just shook his head.
"Sometimes I wish he was." Sarah muttered. "Better dad he would be than their real one."
"Where is he?" Tom asked.
"Out drinking his wages, probably." Sarah said, a dark expression covering her face.
"I wish you'd let me help out." Ben muttered, looking at the baby. "I mean look at this place Sarah. It's no place to raise five kids. It looks like it's about to fall apart. I could get you-"
"No." Sarah interrupted. "I don't want your charity, Benjamin. I told you, and I'll tell you again. I'm not begging for nothing."
"It's not begging. It's letting a friend help out. Think about your children Sarah. They deserve better than the scraps from their fathers wages. In fact think of yourself. You deserve better."
"So Tom. Where did you meet Ben?" Sarah asked suddenly.
"I erm, I met him at college." Tom stuttered.
"No Tom, don't let her change the subject." Ben said, handing the baby back. "Sarah, just think about it okay. Promise me that much."
She looked up at him, then after a few seconds sighed.
"You won't take any other answer. Yes. I'll think about it. But that's all I'm promising mind!" She said.
"Right. Good. It's all I can ask for. Got to go, Sarah. It's nice meeting the little one though. Benny. Good name that." he said, grinning.
"Named after the best. See you later, and close the door on your way out." She said, stroking her sons face lightly.
When they were in the car, driving away slowly, Tom turned to Ben.
"Why did you take me there?" He asked. Ben looked at him closely.
"To show you how wrong you are. Did she seem dumb to you? Did she seem lazy? Did the kids seem dumb or lazy? No. Circumstances have been cruel on them. She was born into poverty, and society has forced her to stay there.
"She had to marry into poverty because heaven forbid her marry any one with money. I mean, did you see your reaction when you thought the children were mine? I needed to go visit her anyway, and I thought while I was at it I'd teach you a life lesson."
They spent the rest of the journey in silence.