All in the Game

Uh-oh, big blinks. Enrique had stepped out of his office doing great big blinks, a definite sign something was up. I bit down on my tongue and then looked down at the newspaper on my counter. I furrowed my brow as I tried to make it look like I was reading a news story. I wasn’t. I was simply pretending. Enrique was walking over to me and I groaned internally and puckered my lips as I continued to pretend to read the paper. I made my exhale into a tune.

“G’hey,” said Enrique. He was beside me. He was also beside himself!

“Wassup?” I asked, nodding at the paper. I didn’t look up.

“G’hey!” He repeated.

I looked up at Enrique. He was doing massive blinks now. Each one lasting almost a second. His face was beige and greasy as Hell. “What?” I asked as Enrique pulled at the ends of his moustache with unsteady hands.

“Wherezizit?” Enrique asked. He blinked and smiled.

“Where’s what?” I lied and Enrique laughed and blinked and nodded.

“Where’s my drogs, man?”

“Dunno, aren’t they in your drawer?” I asked, answering a question with a question. Enrique flapped a finger at me. His head nodded and shook simultaneously. He licked face grease off his lips. “Monkeys point!” I said because Enrique hadn’t spoken for a while. He was just wagging his finger and sweating. “I think Paula took them.”

Enrique’s head movements turned predominantly to nods and after a blink that, no shit, lasted a full two seconds, he headed towards Paula. I followed. Enrique was marching and I had to jog to keep up.

“G’hello Paula!” Said Enrique. Paula looked up, surprised.

“You steal his drugs, Paula?” I asked her, detectively.

“Why would I…”

“Why would you steal Enrique’s drugs even though you know he’s hopelessly addicted to the drugs.” I sang the last five words along to a tune that has similar words. “I don’t know, Paula, why would you? You tell me.”

Enrique was stood with his arms crossed but his nostrils were flaring with each breath he took through them. And he was breathing through them, his mouth was closed. He’d looked at me as I sung but now he was staring at Paula. I crossed my arms and also stared at her. She looked at Enrique and then at me. When she looked at me I opened my eyes wide and did a big smile. But only for a moment. It was a charade.

“He’s hid them,” Said Paula, pointing at me and Enrique turned to me.

“Please,” Said Enrique. He went for my shoulder but I twisted out of the way.

“Well, I might have hidden them, somewhere in the shop. I just don’t know.”

“In de shop?”

“Maybe. I dunno.”

“Dis shop.”

“No, Fortnums and Masons.”


“Harrods then.”


“No, this shop.”

Enrique was mopping his face with a hanky. A waste of time. He was just smearing the grease around like I do when I half-heartedly try to clean the alloy wheels on my wife’s Ford C-Max. He needed to put his face on some kitchen towel. He looked around. “Where?” He asked.

“Well that’s the fun of it,” I said not deliberately sounding like Paul Daniels but sounding like Paul Daniels nevertheless. I coughed. “That’s the fun of it,” I said in a normal voice. Enrique looked around and marched towards the stockroom. “Colder!” I shouted and he stopped immediately and after a moment turned around.

“Que?” He asked with some effort.

“Colder, you’re getting colder,” I told him and smiled at Paula. “He’s shivering.”

“Que?” He was walking back towards me.

“Warmer!” I said confusing him further.

“Wha’ chu say to me?” He asked.

“Warmer, you’re getting warmer. If I say colder you’re getting further away. Warmer’s good. Hot is where it is. When I say hot it means you’re right by them.” Enrique was practically panting. His eyes darted around. I saw him looking behind Paula’s counter, at the ovens that heat the sausage rolls. What a fucking dimwit, I thought. He was going to go to the ovens because they’re hot. “Come on Enrique, a kid can understand this. Don’t go to a hot th-” But my words fell on stupid ears.

Enrique was pushing past me to get behind Paula’s counter. I shook my head. “Colder! Freezing cold!” I said as he got there and looked around. I looked at Paula who had withdrawn to the wall to give Enrique space to look and shook my head and rolled my eyes with exasperation. Enrique was leaving the behind the counter area. “War-” I managed before Enrique pressed the sausage roll knife into my belly.

“Where’s? My? Fooking? Drogas?”

“Behind the Coco-Pops.”

Enrique pressed the knife in harder for a moment. Luckily it was a bread-knife with a flat end and didn’t even penetrate my shirt. Still… He placed the knife on the counter and marched to the Coco-Pops. His package was behind two boxes. He found them and went to his office wordlessly. I scratched my upper lip. After I’d heard his office door close I turned back to Paula. “Did you fucking see that?” I asked in my highest pitched voice ever. She was laughing and I laughed too. “Fucking hell!” I said.