Went to All Sport to try and get an entry form for a 10k race. Did they have any? Nah, of course not. Why would they have a form even though the website clearly states they have the form? Instead I looked at all the running singlets because I always do that. Never buy any, I’ve got enough, but I do like looking at them.
Guess who was there?
Carol and that dickhead, Ben were there. I couldn’t even believe it. Hadn’t seen her in months and now I’ve seen her twice in the space of 7 days. She tapped me on the shoulder when I was looking at the singlets.
“Ha!” I said. Because it was funny, you know? To see her, to see her twice. It wasn’t really what I wanted to say but, what can you do?
“Suits you, sir!” she said in the retardedly blokey way she has of quoting television shows. I was holding a yellowy/orangey Nike singlet. I smiled and held it over my torso. Reduced in price but still £20. Too much. My wife would moan. I think my last singlet came free with a pair of shoes. Carol was right though, it would look good on me. I looked briefly at Ben. He wasn’t good looking at all. Not like me. Not like me in that singlet. Running like a God.
“Fair’s still here then?” I asked hanging the vest back on the rack and pointing at, but not looking at, Ben.
“Another week,” said Ben.
“Then… what? Back to your…” Fuck knows where fairground people go to when there are no fairs on. I was thinking of that place the police had to clear. “Back to your… the road?”
“Back to my the road?” Said Ben chuckling. What an asshole. You don’t pick people up on fucking up their talking if you don’t even know them.
“I don’t even… where, where?”
“I’m sorry?” Said Ben, he looked like he was genuinely trying to understand my garbledness but he wasn’t. He was being a dick and I was on the ropes. I’d actually nearly said ‘where’ a third time. Had to come out swinging.
“Your waste ground? Is that where you’re going? That’s where you live, right?” I asked.
“Do you mean a seven bedroom new-build in Weybridge?”
“Weybridge! Oh my God! Did you say Weybridge?”
“Yes, I believe I said that.”
“I don’t know where that is.” I told him. “Hardly sounds like Monaco though, eh?” I snuck a glance at Carol – because there was a Grand Prix there and I knew she wanted to go – and my face twitched but I made it look natural by disguising it with another one that I did on purpose.
“You live in Monaco?”
“Sorry it was just the way you…”
“You’ve probably got asbestos in your house,” I said. I’d read something this morning about asbestos. Or saw something on the news about it.
“Come on,” said Carol taking Ben’s arm and diffusing the situation like a reluctant but radio-controlled bomb-disposal robot.
“Well, nice to meet you,” he partingly shot. As they walked away Ben said something to Carol and she nodded.
“Pardon?” I shouted and Ben looked back at me briefly.
Ben started talking but I didn’t listen because he’d fallen right into my trap. I took a deep breath, licked my lips, pointed at them both and asked, “is it private, Benjamin?” (Private Benjamin) That was a good one. Well, it was okay.
He’d finished talking and was walking away. I stared at him. He didn’t turn again but he did momentarily cock his head to one side then shook it slightly when I repeated, “Private Benjamin.” I nodded and then turned jerkily back to the singlets but it was all too bright and colourful. I looked through them though, for another few minutes, ignoring the voice that was telling me hurry up and get out of the shop. Leaving the shop I saw Carol and Ben again. Ben was holding a snorkel kit.
“Bye!” He said when I shuffled past and I had to pass him, I had to, there was no other way out.
“Don’t drown, eh?” I said but the implication was clear; Do drown.
Once outside my wife asked me why I never introduce her to people.