Joker

I must say the very sight of him cheered me right up and, I’ll be honest, I needed cheering up. Hey, Jesus Christ, will you stop fucking with me? Do that and I might start believing in you. I’ll spread the word and everything, just stop. fucking. with. me. Don’t know if these are trials or something but I don’t respond well to trials. I respond well to positive reinforcement and specific praise. Do something nice for me. Instead of having me get up and finding my fence has blown down how about leaving a hoard of Roman coins? Something like that. I don’t really care. Fuck it. And Paula. She’s still miserable so the sight of the fat chap really cheered me up. It was the way he carried his massive blobby self. I think it was his confidence that impressed me most. It’s great when you see really fat people who are totally comfortable underneath all that fat.

When he came in the shop he wasn’t gazing at the floor, hoping nobody would see him as he bought food he clearly wouldn’t need for about three months. He wanted to be seen – that was obvious from his colourful shirt which was very colourful indeed. He wasn’t trying to hide the fact that he was a big fat fuck, in fact with his outrageous attire he was actually drawing attention to it. He was great.

“Ay up,” he said to me upon entering the shop. He was the kinda guy who winked at people though he didn’t wink at me.

“Hello!” I replied. He headed intently to the hot food counter, no fucking about and he was singing to himself as he went. I think he was trying to click his fingers but I think his fingers were too fat or greasy to actually click but no mind, big fat people are generally great singers and this one was no exception. He blocked out Paula and half the counter when he was down there but I could tell from the way his back moved that he was pointing at multiple things. This guy deserved to be somewhere where people paid to look at him. He just gave off that vibe, he was a born Show Man.

I don’t normally look at people but when he turned to me with his four paper bags I just kept right on looking and smiling. He nodded and he practically danced down the aisle towards me still singing and stopping only to pick up a packet of crisps.

“Four sausage rolls, a cheese and onion pasty and a scotch pie,” he said helpfully so that I wouldn’t have to look through the bag. I trusted him. Why would he lie? I rang it up and his McCoys.

“Anything else?” I asked. I don’t normally ask but I liked this guy.

“You din think that’s enoof?” He laughed. I laughed too.

“Why have a six pack when you can have a keg, eh?” I said.

“What?” He asked. I looked up at him and laughed. He had a grin on his face. I figured he was so fat he needed hearing aids.

“Just saying, you’ve got to maintain that figure.”

“I’m sorry, pal, I dint understand,” he said.

“Ah, nothing,” I told him

One time I was in Paris in a restaurant with my wife. Can’t remember what we ate but the guy on the table next to us ate plate after plate of oysters. The waiters must have brought him ten plates of oysters. At first we didn’t pay much attention to him but soon it was all we could concentrate on. Was he going to have another plate? Of course he was, surely not another! It must have been some kind of all-you-can-eat deal. When it came to oysters all, for the man who sat on the next table in that restaurant in Paris equalled, loads.

When we finished our meal the Oysterman was still going for it and paying at the till I made the mistake of saying, “that guy sure can eat oysters,” to the waitress. I thought she’d laugh and go ‘oui!’ I said it in English as all night the staff had understood my English. Not this time though.

“Pardon?” Said the attractive lady waitress.

“I was just saying, that guy can eat oysters,” I told her. She still didn’t understand. I could have went over to the man who was quite near us and said, ‘this man’ pointing to the man. ‘He eat,’ doing eating actions. ‘Beaucoup,’ that means lots. ‘Of oysters,’ pointing to the oysters. I didn’t do that.

“I’m sorry,” she said but I could see she was genuinely sorry she couldn’t understand me. She probably thought she was good at English.

“Don’t worry about it,” I told her.

“No, no,” she said and then to my horruer, “I get somebody,” and before I could stop her she’d disappeared into the kitchen to get somebody who could understand my talking. My skin was crawly and I screwed my eyes shut. I opened them to see the waitress ushering a man in a suit towards me. I think he was the boss.

“You say?” She said to me.

I took a deep breath. “I was just saying that that guy eats a lot of oysters.”

“Him?” asked the man in the suit pointing at the man eating oysters. The man eating oysters looked at us. I smiled.

“Yes,” I replied. Neither the man in the suit or the waitress knew what the fuck I was on about. “It’s okay.” I told them both.

“Ah, okay,” said the man in the suit. We then paid and left.

The point is sometimes it better to know when to shut up so with the fat guy I decided to shut up.

“Ye said sum’it aboot me figa?” He asked. He could hear after all, what a joker!

“I just… £7.62 please,” I said but I was still smiling. I thought he was playing. He handed me a ten pound note. I put it in the till and gave him his change which he fumbled into his purse. Then he leant over the counter as best he could. I leant back a bit.

“Listen ya fooking queer,” he said to me quietly, “you ever fooking so much as look at me again am ganna fooking open ya up.” He wasn’t smiling any more.

“I didn’t… I just…” I said and the fat man left while staring at me, his double chin snagged on his shoulder when he finally faced forward. After he was gone I stood behind the counter, playing with my lower lip then I was going to go and talk to Paula. On the way I remembered she was miserable so instead I went to ask Enrique if he knows what’s happened to my kayak.

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