“I saw a show once and the investigator, the air crash investigator, stood on a brain.” We were having a water-cooler moment at work without the water-cooler. We were next to the drinks chiller though.

“Stood on a brain?” Asked Paula, horrified.

“By accident, like, but yeah. It was on a rock.”

“Was dey okay?” Asked Enrique swigging from a bottle of red Oasis. I didn’t know if Enrique meant the investigator himself – It seemed unlikely Enrique was asking about his mental state after stepping on a human brain which was on a rock – or, as was more likely, he was asking about the person whose brain was on the rock and so for that reason I ignored him.

“Don’t fancy flying anywhere anytime soon,” I lied. “Anywhere, Paris, London, New York…”

The other two nodded.

“Tokyo,” I took a swig of blue Powerade Zero. “Brighton.”

“Oh, we’re getting the boat.” Said Paula. Of course she was, what was I thinking?

“To be honest though I’d rather die in a plane crash than to freeze to death in icy waters. Slowly drowning.” I shuddered, at first for effect but it turned into a real one. It was fucking freezing. Pretty wintry today. Enrique wouldn’t let me wear my new hat in the shop even though he wore a hat.

“I’d just get out on deck,” said Paula

“Yeah, unless it just turns over like that.” I raised and then brought my arm down in a rapid arc. That was the ‘that’. “Fucked.”

“Boats are safe though.”

“Not as safe as planes. You’d have to get on a plane everyday for thirty thousand years before you’re likely to be involved in a crash.” I knew that fact from some other show. There was an extra bit to that fact and I needed a reaction before I delivered it.

“Thirty thousand years?” Asked Paula, delivering just the reaction I required.

“And,” I said getting their full attention. “You’d probably survive it. Odds on you would.” I took a swig with my eyebrows raised.

“What about boats, how often…?” Asked Paula.

“That’s just it, boats are unpredictable, they could just flip over like that.” The ‘that’ in this instance was a click of my fingers under Paula’s nose.

“Sheesh,” Said Paula considering the mess she’d got herself into by agreeing to travel by sea.

Enrique had something to add. “If you live, s’no good anyway, man. Death, he still come for you.”

“Did you like that?” I laughed. We’d watched a horror film the other night where the actors couldn’t escape death. Not together. Enrique was in my garage, at the other end of the auxiliary coaxial cable that ran from the RF2 output on the back of my Sky box.

“Yeah, s’good.”

“Got Sky at your new place?” I asked him. I’d just given him Sky. For free. No biggie.

“I get it.”

We all simultaneously took a swig of our drinks. Paula was drinking a pint of milk.

“And this isn’t being racist,” I explained, “but Wellington in the water?” I shook my head at this preposterous proposition. “Forget about it. You might float for a bit,” I told her pointing my bottle at her. “Don’t know what’s worse.”

“I came in boat,” said Enrique.

“Here, from Colombia?”


“Yeah, right.”

“Okay, shut up now,” Paula said. She had a moustache. There was now milk in it.

Enrique had more to add to the conversation. “Chu know (what) I (would) do if (I am ever unfortunate enough to find myself in a) plane crash.”

“Shit yourself?” Said Paula.

“No, I wait.”

“Good one, Enrique.” I told him.

“No, I wait, no scream, man. And jus’ before,” Enrique slapped his hands together horizontally “I step off.” He did the stepping off by making some downward pointing scissory leg person with his fingers.

“That wouldn’t work, Enrique,” I said.

“Si, time, man. Chu must wait.”

“And then step off? That wouldn’t work.”

“Why no work?”

“Because if it worked everybody would do it.”

“Time man, chu have to wait.”

“Split second though,” I told him. “I don’t reckon…”

“I do it.”


A customer came in. We went into our morning huddle. Arms around the each others shoulders as we leant in so our heads were together. Enrique said a few words of encouragement. We ended the huddle, as we do everyday – surprised I haven’t mentioned it before – with a “One, two, three, huh!” Then we broke and all walked off in a different direction.