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Same Day Round

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Nicole's coughing woke Nigel and Ian. It was half seven in the morning and in a way, it was just as well that the three friends were awake. The owner of the shop doorway they had been sleeping in would be arriving soon to open for about eight and he has a severe dislike of the idea that his premises are being used in the manner that the three waking friends are using it.

The coughing though, this is what was really worrying; Nigel noticed some blood in the handkerchief Nicole coughed into.

The morning papers had been dropped close by. It's Tuesday 16th February 2010 and quite a cold morning at that too. The three friends pack up their blankets into Ian's sports bag and move on before the shop owner’s arrival. Avoiding any and all kinds of disdain is definitely the way to go.

So far it was a dry morning, Nigel, being the human weather detector that he is, felt it may rain sometime real soon. Nicole moved out along the street, her coughing once again taking control of her. A street cleaning vehicle was approaching, but Nicole was coughing so hard it was preventing her from getting out of the way. Ian went over, took Nicole by the arm, and helped her move, the disgruntled street cleaning vehicle driver beeped a get outta the way horn, and Ian waved an apologetic wave.

They moved to a nearby park where the three shared a sandwich they had gotten the day before.

'I am worried about Nicole,' whispered Ian to Nigel.

'I know' replied Nigel, 'I am worried about her as well and it looks like it'll rain soon too.'

There was a rather large tree in the center of the park so they moved there and sat under it. Ian had long since come to trust Nigel’s weather predictions and as it would prove, their timing was excellent for as soon as they sat under the protection of that rather large tree a light hazy rain began to fall.

Umbrellas went up and rain jackets went on all around the friends as the morning hustle and bustle began to become a bit livelier. The breeze was a cold one and came right at the three friends as the tree they were under stands in a wide-open space in the park though here is where they stayed for a couple of hours or so.

At twelve noon the friends made their way to a soup kitchen, a place working out of a rather large hall, where they received soup and sandwiches. Nicole's coughing continued and others close by moved away from her in fear that whatever she may have could be or would be contagious.

About half-past one Nigel, Ian, and Nicole were back outside and not far from the shop from which they began their day. Ian could see the shop owner looking out at them so he thought they should move on before the store owner could come outside to berate them in some manner or other.

The day had brightened up somewhat, there was heat in the sun but that chill in the breeze was still very evident. Every once in a while, the clouds would take away the sun temporally; it felt so nice each time the sun made its return. Minutes were passing by quickly. Nicole seemed to become more and more pale as the day indeed went on. Nigel noticed two men coming out of a near-by book maker’s shop.

'Can you believe it?' one says to the other, 'a horse called Horace wins the first at forty to one.'

'I know,' replies the other man, 'the name alone should have led me to put something on it, ah well that's the way it goes.'

These two go about their business while Nigel just looks on.

Early evening, a little after half seven and Nicole had become quite weak. Ian went to get some soup to help try to keep her warm. Nicole and Nigel wait close by their usual sleeping place, close enough that they don't have far to go and far enough away so the shop owner can't see them. The shop usually closes most evenings soon after eight.

On his way back to his friends Ian was knocked over by a passer-by causing him to also drop the soup he bought for Nicole.

'Watch where you're going', rudely spoke the passerby.

'You did that on purpose, didn't you?' shouted Ian while being annoyed with having lost Nicole's soup.

Before Ian could properly get up off the ground he was pushed back over by the same passer-by, believing his actions to be hilariously funny. Along with his companion, the passer-by began to laugh sickeningly before turning around and continuing along his way.

Fuming with anger Ian got up, ran after his abuser, and knocked him over and almost immediately receives a punch to the face from the man's companion. Nigel could see from where he was what was going on with Ian, but Nicole's heavy coughing prevented him from leaving her alone. During Ian's scuffle, Nicole collapsed.

'Someone ... I need help' Nigel speaks out as he kneels down to hold onto his friend but, no one was listening or paying attention to the fact that a homeless lady had collapsed.

Ian was arrested by passing police after being accused of attacking the two men who claimed that they had done nothing to provoke him.

'Somebody', Nigel called out all the louder but was still going unnoticed.

Having noticed Nicole on the ground, Ian began to fight being placed into the back of a police car, he only wanted to get to her but the struggle was something that wasn't helping his cause at all.

'Somebody' shouted Nigel at the top of his voice.

A nearby woman screamed and for the first-time people were taking notice that a homeless lady had indeed collapsed and was lying in the arms of her homeless friend with blood trickling from her mouth and down her cheek.

One police officer approached Nigel and Nicole while radioing for help as the other police officer waited by the car which had Ian had been placed within. An ambulance soon arrived and took Nicole's lifeless body. Nigel was told he could come see her the next day and arrangements would be made as to what would happen next. The police took an inconsolable Ian away, not that they were interested in offering consolation, and Nigel cried himself to sleep that night in the shop doorway alone, not having either of his best friends with him.

When morning came once again, Nigel went from being lost in one way to being totally lost in another way, but the latter was much more preferable as once again he was awakened by Nicole's coughing.

'What the hell is going on?' he wondered out loud as he noticed the blood that Nicole had coughed up. Not only had he noticed that Nicole was coughing to his right, but Ian was also to his left.

Once again it was half-past seven. The morning newspapers were dropped nearby with the date reading Tuesday 16th February 2010. Nigel tried to get his head around this situation. Was he about to relive the previous day over again? No – this can’t be right … can it?

The morning, just like the day, began dry while looking like it could rain soon and also like the previous day Nicole moved out into the street coughing as a street cleaning vehicle approached. Ian went over to Nicole helping her move out of the way, the street cleaning vehicle beeped just like it had once before, and Ian waved an apologetic wave. To Nigel and apparently only Nigel, it did seem as if they all were living the same day over.

They moved up to the nearby park. Nigel suggested rather than sitting under the large tree that they should head towards the smaller trees by the wall. They were now somewhat protected from the cool breeze and from the light rain which soon began to fall.

'I'm worried about Nicole' whispered Ian to Nigel.

'I think we should let her have the entire sandwich; she'll need to keep up her strength' replied Nigel and Ian agreed.

At twelve noon they made their way to the soup kitchen where they stayed for close to an hour and a half, after which they continued on their way approaching close to where they began their day. Yeah, the day was repeating with the exception of what Nigel had suggested.

It was only at this moment in time when Nigel was hit with the memory of what had happened the first-time round. It was like something from within had just slapped him right on the back of the head telling him to wake up and use it. Nigel asked for the time. Ian replied that it was just after half-past one while also noticing that the shop owner from where they began their day was looking out at them, and as the sun came out from behind the clouds Ian gestured that they should move on somewhat.

Nigel asked his friends to trust him and give him every cent that they had. Both Ian and Nicole were confused but they did what Nigel had asked and what they had between them all came to a whole thirty-one dollars and forty-two cents. Nigel went into the nearby bookmakers, and Ian began to worry. It was all the money they had. Nicole was sick; they could not go the rest of the day without eating. Ian sat Nicole down against a wall and covered her with a blanket then followed Nigel into the bookmakers.

'What are you doing? Nicole is outside, extremely unwell and you are in here about to throw away what little we have.'

'Don't worry; I know what I'm doing,' relied Nigel putting a bet on.

The thirty-one dollars and forty-two cents all went on a horse called Horace. The race began and Horace started very slowly. As the race went on Nigel himself began to worry, hoping the conversation he had heard about a horse called Horace wasn't just two guys joking around.

Three furlongs out and Horace began to move closer to the front. Nicole came into the shop looking worried as well as looking worryingly pale. Horace had made it up alongside the race leader as they both crossed the line almost together. The result would go to a photo and after a few minutes, the decision came back that a horse called Horace had indeed come in as the forty to one winner and Nigel collected a total winning of one thousand two hundred and eighty-eight dollars and twenty-two cent.

Nigel and Ian couldn't control themselves jumping up and down hugging, and it was so good to each of them to see Nicole smiling.

They went shopping. Got some hot food and new clothes, then went to a nearby hotel. Nigel and Ian got cleaned up and Nicole headed straight for a bed. Down at the hotel reception, Nigel asked if a doctor could be sent up to the room to see his sickly friend.

The doctor arrived and almost immediately requested an ambulance and Nicole was taken to hospital accompanied by her friends. Just after eight that evening Nicole passed away. Knowing what he knew Nigel couldn't save her. He thought he should have got her to that hotel or to a hospital sooner but that didn't really matter. It wouldn't have changed things. Her death this time round though was more dignified, being in a hospital with her friends at her side rather than collapsing out on a street.

Nigel and Ian would go on to find work and eventually somewhere to permanently live, and rather than trying to raise enough money to live out on the streets or at their new residence, they began to raise money which eventually led to a hospice being built for the homeless, where if someone was to become ill, that someone could come and receive treatment. This was done in Nicole's name.

On the wall just outside the shop where the three friends had so often slept, there now hangs a plaque with an inscription dedicated to Nicole and this plaque was placed there by the shop owner whom also now keeps a collection box within his store to help raise money to aid Nigel and Ian in their work for the homeless. Reliving a day over may not have helped to save Nicole's life but it most definitely made quite the difference in her name.

 

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