“These are out of date,” the woman was saying. I was a bit hungover but I wasn’t drunk. I coughed and then reset my face.
“What?” I asked.
“These, these are out of date,” she was saying. You’re out of date, I thought. She was old. I stretched. One of those really great stretches that make the middle of your back shiver and then looked at the packet of Fig Rolls the woman had placed on the counter. Then I looked at the woman. I picked up the biscuits, exhaled through my nose, and turned them over in my hand. “Look at the date!” She implored. I thought about saying they were figs, not dates, but I couldn’t be bothered. I found the date and laughed. I was a bit drunk still.
“You shouldn’t be selling them,” the woman was telling me.
“You shouldn’t be buying them, you mean.” I could still taste wine. I coughed again. I’m going to give up smoking.
“You could kill-“
“Can I stop you there, can I? Please? Can I get a word in edge ways? I don’t like being ranted at.”
“Thank you!” I had nothing to say. I’d forgotten what she was talking about. Oh yeah, the out-of date-biscuits. “I mean, they were in the discount bin,” I explained. I pointed at the discount bin that was right behind her. I’d found a whole load of out-of-date stuff and I’d set up a bin. For the out-of-date stuff. I’d made a sign for the bin. It was…
“I didn’t expect-“
“What did you expect?”
“Well I didn’t expect-“
“What did you expect?” I asked. “What did you expect?” I asked again. I took a deep breath and my throat made a piggy snore noise.
“For them to still be edible!”
“They are, they last forever.”
“I wouldn’t like to chance it and I’d like a refund.”
“I don’t even know how much you paid!” I stressed. I’d been making up the prices for bin things and stealing the money.
“It’s not the amount-“
“It never is with you people. Is it? Never is, you just crave human contact.” Don’t know if I said that or just thought it. I stuffed my hand into my pocket and pulled out a fist of change and dropped it on the counter. “Take what you want,” I told her.
“Well, I’ll certainly take what-“
“Take more, and there are bins outside, go and have a root through those.” The woman didn’t understand what I was thinking. I was thinking, you might find a present for your grandkids.
A fu… a half eaten sandwich for their Christmas present. I was thinking. She saw I was thinking and it stopped her in her tracks. Don’t know why I held back from swearing in my thoughts. Fucking, I thought.
“Or something,” I said. Enrique’s door opened. I saw it open. But he didn’t come out, he’d clearly just peaked out, the door was slowly closing again “Enrique! Woman wants to speak to you!” I shouted and the door opened again and he strode out. I looked at the woman and pointed at Enrique then I headed down to see Paula.
“What was that about?” She asked
“I don’t even know!” I laughed. I’m going to give up drinking too. Drinking and smoking. And then I stopped laughing. What had the woman been talking about? Money? “Fucking biscuits!” I said and laughed again. “She expected the out of date shit to be… to be not.”
“To be not?”
“Yeah, you heard me. Hey, did you say you were pregnant again?”
“Yeah, I’m not.”
“Good.” I looked back down the shop. Enrique was apologizing – I could tell because he was scratching one of his eyebrows – what a dick. “Coming for a ciggie?” I asked.