Labelled with Love

Still fucking loving pretending to be happy! Maybe it’s too early to say it’s going to change everything but so far so good. The whole vibe of the place is better. Got in this morning with a big old shit-eating grin on my face and just hunkered down to some good old-fashioned work.

Enrique’s pleased too. Came out while I was filling up the cigarette display. “What’s up, boss!?” I asked him.

“This fucking guy!” Said Enrique looking at Paula. He was smiling. He turned back to me and gave me a big thumbs up. He nodded and looked satisfied. I returned the thumbs up, with interest!

Gertrude the Whore entered the store! She bought cat food and liquor. When she got to the counter I said, “morning ma’am!” And meant it. She didn’t return my beaming smile. I would have to work harder, I told myself. “How are the cats?” I asked. She didn’t reply. It crossed my mind that maybe she didn’t have cats. Perhaps she ate the cat food. Perhaps I had erred. I dropped my line of questioning. “Did you have pancakes yesterday?” I asked. It was the day after pancake day. I think. Or maybe my wife had just decided to make pancakes.

“Did they fix you?” She asked. Fixed? What did that mean? She was studying my forehead. I didn’t like that. It was very unsettling. “Electricity was it?” She asked still looking for something above my eyes.

“Just look out there,” I said gesturing out of the window. The car park was bathed in a gorgeous early morning orange glow. “It’s just great to be alive.” At this she made a ‘ptt’ noise and that made my fake happiness a bit sad. Poor woman. I vowed to make her smile before she left. She handed over her credit card to pay. It was a rich person’s credit card. Not HSBC. It was a Deutsche Bank one. She was old so she didn’t put the card in the machine herself, she handed it to me to insert. I didn’t mind, all part of the service! She covered the keypad with a curled arm but didn’t take her eyes off me while she entered her PIN number. She was a bit like a witch, I thought as I smiled. She didn’t return my smile but I returned her card.

How you can be rich and unhappy is just a fucking mystery to me. Feeling a bit sad? Buy a car! Still sad? Buy more cars and a field and have a demolition derby. I will be so happy when I’m rich. Or should I say, happier.

“It was a pleasure to serve you today!” I told Gertrude the Whore. She shook her head and lifted her burlap bag which now contained a six pack of Whiskers and a bottle of rum. Yo ho ho!

She made a straining noise when lifting the bag from the counter. “Here, let me help you with that,” I said moving briskly around the counter.

“No!” She cried.

“It’s no problem!” I said not slowing but she stopped me in my tracks when she hissed at me, like a cat. “I’ll just help you carry it to your car,” I said but the smile had left my face for the first time in hours.

“I don’t need the help of a Jew!” She cried and then spat at my feet. I looked over to Paula, she was hiding her laughing with her wrist.

“I’m not Jewish!” I told Gertrude with my, ‘that’s preposterous’ face. “No, what, my big nose?!” I asked. She was leaning away from me and looked terrified. “No, no, I’m Catholic!” I said. “Totally Catholic!”

Gertrude snarled. I held my palms out, “Catholic.” I said again in a soothing voice. “We cool?” She didn’t respond. To end the stand-off I explained to her what I was going to do. “I’m just going to lift up your shopping and carry it out to your car, nice and easy? Okay? I’m Catholic.” I slowly reached down for her bag, not taking my eyes off her and Gertude made no attempt to stop me. “Come on,” I said and I headed out. I wasn’t sure she would follow but she did. Gertrude drove an old Volvo. Not a great car but a reliable run-around.

“Jewish indeed!” I laughed as she opened the boot.

“It’s your…” Gertude made a triangle with thumb and finger and put it to her face.

“I know, it’s massive eh?” I said smiling.

Gertrude nodded and smiled.

“Well, see you next time and thanks for shopping at Spar!” I said. Then, because it seemed like the right thing to do, I saluted.

I’m never going to be a short black man, I’ve accepted that. I mean I’m not stupid and that’s just probably just never going to happen even with massive advances in genetic engineering. I have other dreams though. To wake up and be the only person on Earth and be able to look around in people’s houses. Win the lottery. Get a great job. I mean, I’m not going to work in Spar for the rest of my life, that’s for certain, I can tell you that for nothing!

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do first. I will befriend Gertrude the Whore and become the sole beneficiary of her will and get all her stuff upon her death which surely must be imminent.