Mental Case

We get some right dicks in the shop. It’s dick central. This morning it was Mr Angry’s turn to come in. He wanted some cigarettes and a lighter. I gave him the cigarettes, no problem, but he had a dickens of a time deciding what lighter he wanted. Make up your mind, Buddy, I was thinking, this isn’t that complex.

We went through about five – with him getting angrier and more frustrated with himself each time – before he settled on a colour he liked. He left and I watched him as there was just something about the way he was behaving like a complete mental patient that made me wary. He stopped across the car park and I went to the door to see what crazy thing he had planned next. Perhaps he’d set himself on fire or eat his cigarettes? He was going to do something, it was obvious. He was muttering to himself while lighting his cigarette and then, as if he could sense me, he looked up and across the car park and directly into my eyes. I trumped. It was like something out of a horror film when a man looks at another man. His face was contorted in rage and my hand automatically went to the lock on the door. I was worried he was going to come sprinting across to me.

He came sprinting across to me.

He was fast but I doubt he’d beat my 10k personal best due mainly to his over-striding. He tries a 10k with such poor running form he’s tearing a calf. I’m only thinking about that now, at the time I just thought, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Luckily my hand found the lock and I didn’t have to fumble for it. I locked the door and screamed for Paula to press the Panic Button. The Panic Button gets Enrique out of the office. “The fucking button!” I shouted as the man crashed into the doors which bowed but didn’t break. I was joined by Enrique. The guy was screaming and had snot and spit all over his mental face as he hammered and yammered on the doors. He was threatening me. Enrique told Paula to call 911 and she muttered. The guy on the other side of the door had stopped screaming and was thinking like a squirrel faced with a nut in a puzzle.

Enrique shouted, “fuck off!” And some Colombian insults and gave the guy the finger with both hands. At that moment I actually felt some respect for Enrique. Then the guy walked off. I looked at Enrique for a moment. I was going to laugh at what had happened, through sheer relief, but…

“The back door!” I asked, “is it locked?” I saw by the twitch of Enrique’s moustache that it is not. Enrique unlocked the front door and before I could stop him he was outside. The growing buds of respect I felt were blooming into full grown respect trees. He looked around. “Don’t!” I shouted. Then I watched as Enrique just ran home. He held his hat on with one hand and the respect I’d felt withered and died. I considered following him but felt I’d missed my window. The mad man was just around the corner waiting for me to make a break for it. It was obvious. I locked the door and grabbed a tin of beans with which I planned to defend myself but after a few minutes the mad man hadn’t burst in through either side of the shop and, thank fuck, I heard the approaching rumble of the diesel engines on the low-speed pursuit tractors driven by the States of Jersey police.

I unlocked the door and with a shaking finger I showed them the direction he’d gone. Paula was laughing. The police found him around the back of the shop, his episode of brainstorm over. They arrested him and I phoned Enrique and told him he could come back.

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