Man of Steel

“I thought you meant you wanted the iron,” I said recovering from the sucker punch. I’d found Enrique and Paula talking. I listened to the back and forth between them for twenty minutes before I realised they were gabbing about the parts of Iron Man 3 they didn’t understand. Seemed to be most of it. I could understand Paula not understanding the plot because she was girl but Enrique? When the fuck had he seen Iron Man 3. I haven’t even seen it.

Last night he’d gone to see Iron Man 3, it turned out. “Oh, no, I didn’t want to go and see it. Thanks for the invite!” I said and Enrique had stared at me for a bit trying to untangle my sarcastic riddle.

Getting a new job and going to the cinema. It was like Enrique was leading a secret double-life.

“I ask if chu want to go?” He said and I thought about this.

Hmmm.

Last night Enrique had knocked on the back door while I was eating my tea.

“Iron, man!” I thought he’d shouted.

“Nah, it’s broken,” I lied, not even getting up from the table. Thinking about it now he had then asked if I was sure, and I’d taken that badly. I thought he was asking if I was sure the iron was broken. “Of course I’m sure,” I barked. I fucking know when my iron’s broken, I’d thought and shook my head. My iron wasn’t broken. When I put my plate in the sink I saw Enrique leave my garage where he lives.

I thought he was going to sit on a bench or something. All creased. And I’d smiled. I guess the joke was on me.

“Superman’s coming over,” I said, interrupting them as they’d started talking about Iron Man 3 again and I haven’t seen that and didn’t want to be left out.

“I know,” replied Paula. She didn’t seem that interested but it’s pretty big news. “Do you know him?”

“Do I know him?”

“Yeah, do you?”

“No Paula, I don’t know him.”

“Wait!” Said Enrique. “Wha chu say?”

No wonder he couldn’t follow Iron Man 3.

“Superman’s coming over,” I said. “He’s from Jersey.”

“Superman? Bullsheet.”

“The actor who plays Superman. He’s coming over for the premier at Cineworld. He’s from Jersey.”

“Superman e from ‘ere?” Said Enrique pointing to the floor. Close enough.

“Yeah.”

“Hooooo!” Said Enrique. There was something going on behind his eyes. He was thinking about something. He was formulating something.

“The ac-” I began but Enrique clicked his fingers at me and clicked to his office. I shook my head as I watched him go. “I literally can’t even imagine what he’s going to do,” I told Paula as we both stared at the door anticipating something ridiculous bursting out.

After a minute Enrique still hadn’t burst out. Paula went to go back to her counter but I grabbed her arm. “This is going to be fucking great,” I told her. And then we waited. “Hasn’t there been loads of Superman films recently?”

“Dunno.”

“I thought there had been,” I said.

“So you don’t know him?”

“Paula, there’s one hundred thousand people over here. I know about five of them.” I was suddenly whispering.

Paula exhaled noisily.

“Go and check,” I told her. I had an image of Enrique all tangled in something. A suit or a net. “Maybe it was Spiderman they made loads of.”

Paula went over to Enrique’s door and knocked. I stood well back. Enrique opened the door and asked, “wha?” Paula just shook her head and looked at me. I put my hands up like an Italian. Enrique closed the door.

“That was disappointing,” I told Paula as our paths crossed as we headed to our respective counters.

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