A Christmas Carol

loan shark with children

A Christmas Carol

Christmas begins in summer.

Carol sees the first signs,

the cards and wrap and tat

that appear every year

in furtive corners of shops.

She sees sly little toys play

on the TV and,

soon after halloween,

they are all over

the screen and seen

by the bairns.

And now the toys

play with all their hearts.

The must-have one,

the toy of the year,

every one of them

more than the rent.

More than she has.

“It’s only a few quid,”

Carol tells herself.

“It’s only a few quid,”

says the lending friend,

who is anything but,

until the day

Carol has to pay,

when the few quid she owes,

plus their unhealthy interest,

is more

than all that she owns.

When the friend has taken

what is due,

and anything else they want

from her,

she still owes the friend.

And now the friend

owns Carol.

‘I borrowed £50 and we ended up homeless’

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