Another Word Enrique can’t say

What’s sitting outside work when I get there this morning? I’ll give you a clue, it’s that fucking Cadillac. What a fucking dick. What a knob. Enrique must’ve completely ignored me and bought it. Oh my Jesus Christ. The fucking melon.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely awesome but as I walked past it I touched it and my eyes flashed blue and with a whooshing sound I saw the future in monochrome and neon. The year 2078. Small spaceships are whizzing about overhead, the shop was not a Spar any more and was instead a silver dome covered in flashing signs advertising clean water and food pills but the car is still sat there, where the disabled bay possibly still was, with flat tyres and plants growing through the windows. What a fucking idiot. Whoosh! Back to the present.

I couldn’t remember the exact price the car had been advertised but it had been a fair bit. Eight thousand pounds? Somewhere around there. Could Enrique haggle? I doubted it.

Marcel was by the coal and disposable barbecues. I looked at him and pointed my thumb towards the car. He nodded. I nodded then shook my head and went inside.

“Has he bought that?” I asked Paula who was chewing gum.

“Bought what?” She asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. That big fuck-off car?”

“What car?”

“The massive black car in the disabled bay?” Paula chewed faster and thought about this question like it was something she could work out. Don’t guess, I thought, you either know this or you don’t. She opened her mouth and I saw the chewing gum. She was disgusting.

“Has who bought what car?” She asked.

It was weird she didn’t know about the car. Apart from Enrique and Marcel she was the only one here. I would have thought Enrique would be going on about his car. Maybe he hadn’t bought it after all? Maybe it was an incredible coincidence. Nah, there were no disabled people in the shop. Nobhead had definitely bought the car.

I took off my coat and went to his office, knocked and then opened the door. Enrique was sitting behind his desk motionless with his eyes screwed shut. He didn’t open them and my first thought was he’d heroined himself to death on his drugs. It’s long been an ambition of mine to discover a dead body but I really want to find one washed up on the beach, not sitting bolt upright at work, and I was a bit frightened, I have to admit. I approached him though, scared or not, but slowly. “Enrique?” I asked sharply.

“Ches?” He replied without opening his eyes.

“What are you doing?” I sat down across from him. He didn’t reply. “What’s wrong?”

Enrique slowly opened one eye, then they both shot fully open and he closed them tight again and started whining. It was fucked. “What is it? What’s a matter?”

“Chu see it?” He asked and whined again.

“The car? Yeah, tell me you haven’t bought -“

“No the car!”

“Then what?” I looked around his office and saw it. “The fuck is that?” I asked.

“I don’ know, man!” Enrique’s voice was high and shaky.

“Well, it’s a squirrel. What’s it doing in here?”

There was a squirrel sitting on the filing cabinet. I’ve never seen a squirrel sitting down. It was staring at Enrique. I got up slowly and it didn’t run away. I went over to it. It looked at me as I approached, I approached leaning back in case it dive-bombed my face. It didn’t attack so I squinted at it as there wasn’t much more I could do. It was definitely a squirrel and it was alive and staring at Enrique.

“It’s only a squirrel,” I said studying it. “Enrique, it’s only a squirrel.” I went back and sat down. “It’s only a squirrel,” I told him. I looked back at it. It was only a squirrel. It seemed quite happy. “It can’t hurt you!” I told Enrique. It could hurt him. It had claws. Probably wouldn’t hurt you, is what I meant.

“Chu get it out.”

“Fuck that.” It might have rabies. I would definitely hurt me.

“Chu get Marcel Marcel.”

“It’s only a squirrel,” I said and Enrique slowly opened his eyes. But then for the second time they flew full open in terror.

I looked back. “Fuck’s sake it’s only a squirr-” but the squirrel had gone. Enrique was screaming.

I turned back to Enrique and the squirrel was attached to his face like Alien. It wasn’t moving. I blew my cheeks out. “Erm,” I then said.

Enrique was still sitting bolt upright, his hands were still on the desk but his fingers were playing some really fast classical music and he was making no attempts to detach the squirrel. His ‘ahs’ were muffled.

“Okay!” I said to calm myself more than anything. I stood and reached over with my hands out, looking for the best way to grab it. Its arms? Under its arms? I touched it under its arms but it was impossibly soft and bony. There was nothing to it so I punched it in the back. I punched it gently because I was only too aware I was also punching Enrique’s face. His cried rose in pitch so I punched the squirrel harder. It was like punching a pillowcase filled with twigs. The ultimate adversary.

The squirrel didn’t budge and so I drew back my fist to punch it harder still but at the last minute I decided on a karate chop instead. It was hard to pull off because of the angle. Had to go for a sideways karate chop. The first one was with my palm up but that felt wrong so I repositioned myself, moving to the other side of the chair I’d been on and did one palm down. That felt much better. Enrique was still moaning so I built up force with each chop until I did one which I’d say was an eight out of a maximum of ten on a theoretical karate chop force scale. The squirrel squeaked and fell off. Enrique didn’t move immediately, his hands were scrabbling on the desk, his feet were dancing and his eyes were screwed shut. Enrique’s face was all still there though. He had a few drops of blood on the side of his forehead but he looked otherwise unmarked. The big fucking baby.

“It’s gone!” I shouted. Enrique opened his eyes and his dancing feet gripped the floor and he pushed his chair back until he bounced of the back wall. He continued on his chair, rotating slightly until he and his chair were out from behind the desk and into the open. He leapt from his chair and stumbled across the room, only just keeping his feet. He then stood with his back against the wall. I joined him – safety in numbers – and scanned the room for the squirrel. I couldn’t see it.

“Whizit?” Asked Enrique.

“I don’t know,” I told him. I saw that my coat was on the floor in front of the desk. I hooked it with my foot and dragged it to me. That allowed us a clear view under the desk if we bent down. I slowly bent my knees and felt for my coat, not taking my eyes from the desk. I couldn’t see the squirrel. I stood up again, holding my coat.

“Der!” Shouted Enrique pointing to the opposite side of the room, the one with the filing cabinet. The squirrel was meandering towards us, getting ever closer looking like it meant business.

“Crafty bugger!” I said with wonder and fear then without thinking I threw my coat over it. If I did have time to think about it I surely would have missed, like the time I scored that cracker against Fiji. I hadn’t thought then, just twatted it.

“Heh!” I said with relief but before I could stop him Enrique was repeatedly bringing the Cuban heels of his white snakeskin shoes down on the motionless lump with maximum force and muttering words I didn’t understand. I heard a snapping like somebody stomping on a pillowcase filled with twigs.

“Enrique!” I cried. “That’s my fucking coat!”

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