Heroin addict James Sheffield, 37, found himself in difficulty today when he was exactly two dollars short for the train fare to Frankston. The journey, Sheffield explained, was work-related, and of an urgent nature.
“Yeah I got a job interview at 4, right, but they only told me fucken two hours ago. So I’m like – fuck, I gotta get up and get to fucken Frankston,” he said. “It’s bullshit.”
Sheffield, who has been out of work for fifteen months after assaulting his previous employer with a bread knife, encountered problems soon after arriving at Richmond station. “Yeah, well the fucken barriers are manned so I can’t jump em, can I?” Sheffield complained. ‘So I’ve gotta buy a fucking ticket and I only got a dollar seventy on me cause it’s Centrelink tomorrow. And I gotta get a return cause I gotta get back here by six to get to the chemist and collect my prescription.’
Left with no alternative, Sheffield was forced to take the step of asking fellow commuters for help. “So I’m askin, real polite, ‘Mate, can you spare two bucks for the train?’ But so far no-one helped me out,” he recounted. “That last bloke wouldn’t even give me a smoke and he had a full fucken pack. Dunno what’s wrong with these people.”
Dressed in an old tracksuit and constantly scratching the weeping sores around his mouth, the heroin user redoubled his efforts as time ticked away. “D’ya see that cunt? Didn’t even look at me. Yeah, fuck you mate! Fuck you very much.”
Faced with missing his appointment, Sheffield, who was clinically dead for four minutes after an overdose in 2006, began to despair. “That bitch says she hasn’t got any change but I just fucken saw her get some from the fucken news stand, didn’t I?” he muttered, sitting on the station floor and rocking back and forth. “Fucken cow.”
After half an hour and multiple warnings from station staff, a visibly shaking Sheffield was still well short of his two-dollar target. Nevertheless, the one-time methadone recipient remained optimistic. “I found fifty cents in the payphone and half a ciggie in the toilets,” he said. “Cunt was wet but I fucken dried it out with a lighter, didn’t I?'”
Sheffield no longer needs to get to Frankston urgently, but is still accepting donations.