“Do you really think I’m stupid?” I asked.

“Whaa..?” He replied innocently enough, like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth – although it looked like it’d melted all over his face. He’s greasy, and no mistake.

“You’re going to hit my hand,” I explained.

“Nooooo! No? No!”

“I can see where your eyes are looking, Enrique.”

“No, no, no, come on.” He urged with his face serious. I looked at him, he was standing but bent forward at the hips, his right leg forward and bent, his other one extended out the back. “Come on, s’okay,” he urged. His face was still serious. He was staring at my torso. I stared at his face and he looked up and could not maintain his serious face. He cracked a smile.

“See! Just don’t bother.”

“No, real, come on, we do it,” He said, “I no hit chor han’,” he said, “promise,” he said. He stared intently at my torso and bounced slightly from the bent knee. Must be quite hard holding that stance. Giving him the benefit of the doubt I held out my conker and let it dangle.

“You hit my hand you’re dead, I mean it,” I told him and as I said it I meant it. Dead.

“S’okay.” He licked his lips but his upper-face was obscured by the brim of his hat. I had to hope his eyes were trained on my conker. He held his conker on his left shoulder with his left hand and kept the string taut with his right. I held my conker further out and a bit higher. “Hey, no fucking move, man,” he scolded. I was breathing through my nose, it seemed noisy. I took a step back but altered my elbow joint so the conker didn’t move. It swayed a bit. I was just about to tell Enrique to hurry the fuck up when he swung. Because I was just about to talk I wasn’t fully prepared and I didn’t even nearly get my hand out of the way before his conker smashed into my knuckles.

“You fu-” I managed but Enrique was off and running and screaming towards his office. He was holding his hat on with one hand. He was like a giant cartoon rat. I weighed up the situation and in the blink of an eye measured the distance between me and the office door. I’d never get there before him, no chance, but I was going to try. Enrique screamed again as he heard my footsteps but he was in and had slammed the door before I’d even got past the wine. I stopped running but if he thought that was the end of it he was very much mistaken.

I was still breathing through my nose, now louder, and I walked – marched really – the remaining distance to his office door. I tried the handle and felt the biological resistance, rather than mechanical, which showed me, just as I had expected, he was on the other side of the door holding the handle up. He was probably using two hands. He was probably on tip-toes to get enough upward force. I pressed down as hard as I could but I felt the handle start to bend. “You’re going to break it!” I shouted. “Enrique, you’re going to break the handle!” I heard high pitched shouts. He was shouting that it was an accident. He was laughing that it was an accident. “It’s not funny,” I said flatly before adding, “you fucking idiot.”

No further sounds came from the office. I tried twice more, in quick succession, to press the handle down but it was definitely going to snap. I then pretended to walk away by stepping in place with increasingly lightness. I then counted to forty-five, a hell of a long time, and pushed down on the handle with concentrated, maximum force. There was a yelp and the handle moved further than it had done thus far before it was forced back up. Nah, it was going to snap for sure.

I then did walk away, but silently, so that Enrique would spend ages leaning against the door, holding the handle tight and panting.