Little Penny Vultures by Paul Tristram

Twenty five years on The Force
and I’ve never encountered anything like it.
We only stumbled upon them by chance,
after finding a 12 year old kid,
with his dirty, ripped jeans rolled up,
wading in the water fountain
outside the Council Offices.
Picking up the pennies
that idiots have thrown in there
like it’s a wishing well
rather than an ornamental water feature.
I was about to ‘Caution’ the little tyke,
make him throw the money back in
and send him packing.
When I spied a little girl,
which turns out to be his 11 year old sister,
absolutely filthy and scraggily,
long hair like a bird’s nest,
foraging in a litter bin close by.
With them being ‘Minors’
and the grimy state of the pair,
we needed to speak to the ‘Parents’ or ‘Guardians’…
and that is where the true Horror began.
We got the both of them into the back of the car
and after much crying and blubbering
they directed us to a Small Holding
by the side of Owl-Innocence Woods,
the nearest end, half mile away or so.
The property had belonged to their late Grandparents.
Anyway, the Mother had left a couple of years ago,
run-off to Tiger Bay in Cardiff
to ply her trade as a Street Corner Prostitute.
She’s in Eastwood Park, as we speak,
serving a ‘Drug Mule’ sentence.
The Father, a chronic alcoholic,
had finally finished drinking himself to death
around 3 months ago,
we’re still waiting for the actual date
to come back from the Coroner.
The electric and gas were on payment meters
and that soon ran out.
After a week, the smell from their Father’s corpse
had gotten so bad
that the children had moved over to the barn
and were sleeping in a make-shift bedsheet fort.
It’s horrific, they’ve been following the Milkman around
and stealing whatever he leaves on doorsteps,
scavenging litter bins and shoplifting all over Town.
I even found a half-eaten box of dry dog biscuits
by the little girl’s blankets.
They’re not old enough to understand ‘Begging’,
nor of where to go to get any ‘Official Help’
with their sad and pitiful predicament.
Their ‘Old Man’ absolutely detested the Police,
so the instilled dread of the Law
stopped them from coming knocking upon our door.
I don’t know, it’s really done-me-in, this one…
it’s bloody heart-breaking, completely.
Poor little buggers…
I guess they’ll be shipped-off to that big Care Home
with the wire-meshed windows and locked doors now…
God Help Them… out of the frying pan and into the fire.

paul smoking - Copy

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at You can also read his poems and stories here!

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