Enrique came out of his office just as I was about to enter. “Strange incest in the office, man.” They were the words that Enrique used, the fucking idiot. “Come, come!” he beckoned me to follow him.
“Incest?” I asked him.
“Incest everywhere,” he confirmed.
I couldn’t be bothered. It wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t expecting strange incest going on in his office – a mother and her brother going at it on a trapeze, for example – and if I was feeling brighter I would have ribbed his poor English a bit. I wasn’t feeling brighter. Paula’s situation and being threatened had dulled my buzz. His office was a mess.
Enrique walked around pointing out the beetle things.
“Where are they from?” I asked.
“Dey everywhere!” Replied Enrique answering a question I hadn’t asked. I mean, I hadn’t asked, ‘Enrique, these bugs that are everywhere, are they everywhere?’ If I’d asked that then his answer would have been correct. I’d asked him where had the bugs come from, he must have an idea. “Everywhere! Oy, oy, oy!” He said looking around, pointing them out and shaking his head.
They were everywhere. I could see twenty, at least. They looked like mint humbugs. We both stood for a while looking around. We would have stood there all day if I hadn’t offered a solution. Enrique was waiting for me to offer up a solution. “Shall I get the hoover then?” I asked. Enrique starting nodding, at first hardly noticeable and then full-on and vigorous.
“Yes, get de hoover. I think dat is best,” he said and I went to get the hoover which lives outside of the toilet. I got the hoover and heard Enrique scream. My first thought was that the squirrel was back so I rushed back to the office. Carrying the hoover is a complete fucking nightmare of cables and pipes and the dangling plug banged my shin as I went. It was only a plug but it must have got me right on the bone because it really hurt but I didn’t stop to rub it. Instead I cursed Paula – abortion or no abortion – for not winding the lead back properly last time she used it.
It was probably her because I hate using the hoover but to tell the truth I was quite looking forward to hoovering up the beetles. It would be fun. Oh yeah, Enrique had screamed.
I burst back into the office. Enrique was standing behind his desk. His left hand was covering his mouth, his right hand pointing down. Of his face I could see only his eyes and they were filled with desperation. He looked up at me and then back down to whatever he was pointing at.
“What is it?” I asked still holding the hoover, but Enrique just looked up at me and down again, he couldn’t talk. I dropped the hoover.
His bottom drawer, his special drawer – his heroin drawer – was crawling with bugs.
“For fuck’s sake!” I said. It was like a scene from a horror film about beetles in a drawer. Along with the creepy crawlies in the drawer there was a hardback book sized package that seemed to be wrapped entirely with parcel tape. A corner was gone and the bugs were coming out or going in, it was impossible to tell for sure. There was also what looked like sand but what I knew to be heroin spilling out. “You shouldn’t have that shit in here,” I told him. He looked at me and back to the drawer, still pointing, still covering his mouth. Telling him he shouldn’t have his drugs here was the shock at seeing the bugs talking.
Not seeing the bugs talking.
The bugs didn’t talk.
Seeing them made me talk that.
I actually make him get it delivered to work because I won’t let him get it delivered to my house. Enrique hasn’t got a letterbox on my garage so any post delivered to my house has to be heroin free. When personal letters for Enrique (coloured envelopes, hand written address. From his sister. I think) get delivered at ours I hide them. I don’t know why I do that, thinking about it. I’ve never thought about it before. I just started doing it and then I had to keep doing it.
“I’ll hoover them,” I told him, looking around for a plug socket. I did the free-roaming ones first and it was satisfying, the little rattle as the tiny disgusting creatures vanished up the bendy pipe was satisfying. I felt a little bit like a Ghostbuster.
Enrique was still staring at his drawer. “Enrique!” I whisper-shouted over the noise of the suction. He looked at me. I looked around to make sure we were alone. “I could have done Paula with this!” I made a jabbing movement with the end of the hoover. Enrique dropped the hand that was covering his mouth a laughed a little and then he reverted to his previous pose. I went around getting the bugs not knowing why I’d just said that about Paula.
After only a few minutes I’d got all that I could see that were loose and I moved Enrique out of the way so I could get to Ground Zero. Now I was in the swing of it I was looking forward to tackling the drawer – it wasn’t a million miles away from my second favourite activity, power washing.
I put the end of the hoover in the corner of the drawer where there was a drift of bugs, careful not to let anything substantial get sucked onto the nozzle and cause a blockage and careful not to get too close to the package and suck up his drugs although I felt we were going to have to do just that. When the drawer was empty of visible bugs, save for the ones on the package, I looked up at Enrique. I raised my eyebrows to ask, do you want me to do this? He lowered his eyebrows to tell me, only do it if there is no other way. I shook my head to tell him, this is the only way. He nodded to say, do it then, if you must, and I put the hoover on the corner of his package. The hoover hose went mental and shook around as lumps of Enrique’s hard earned heroin and horrible beetles went bye-bye.
When the package was empty and had lost its shape I squashed it by bashing it with the hoover nozzle. I stood up. Enrique clapped me on the back. “I’m sorry,” I told him, surveying the drawer. I had another look around the office. Found two more bugs and hoovered them. Luckily I hadn’t unplugged the hoover at the stage as plugging it back in would have been a bit of a chore.
Enrique checked out his chair before gently sitting on it.
“You’re going to have to empty that somewhere,” I told him, pointing at the hoover. “They’ll crawl out and get us.” He nodded. He’d steepled his hands under his chin. “You’ll have to do it quick,” I stressed.
I then left his office. Paula was behind my counter.
“What was that about?” She asked.
“Nothing,” I told her. “How’s your fanny?” I asked.
“Fat and sassy,” she replied but she still wasn’t ready to smile.