I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the woman who told me to stop chasing the ducks. I just wish I could go back in time. I’d have stopped and made her feel stupid. It was just such an unbelievably stupid and busy-body thing to say, made so much worse by my smile when I told her the ducks were safely past. There I was, smiling, being nice to the ducks and she says that. It was like biting the hand that was feeding you. Seriously, what was she thinking? That we were chasing ducks? In our matching Dri-fit Nike gear? It’s laughable but also serious. Even when I haven’t been thinking about it I’ve been thinking about it, you know? It’s been there.
When I told Enrique and Paula about what had happened they both laughed and Paula walked away and Enrique stopped laughing and asked me why I was chasing the ducks.
“What?” I asked him.
“Why chu chase ducks?”
I looked at Enrique hard for a few moments. “I wasn’t chasing the ducks. They just happened to be running in the direction we were,” I squinted at him like a gunslinger.
“Ah, h’okay,” he said, starting to nod. I chuckled. “How dey know where you going?”
“Are you fucking with me?”
“Yeah!” He replied but I don’t think he was. He walked away chuckling.
It’s hot today. I like that a lot. 25 degrees Celsius. Because we’re not allowed to steal ice creams I bought two boxes of Iceland fake Cornettos. £1 for six! And I’ve hid them in the back of the freezer. The fake Cornettos are, if you ask me, better than the originals. I don’t know how Iceland do it. I was going to share them with Enrique and Paula but that intention, to share them out and be a big hero, was scuppered just before lunch when Enrique came in. I hadn’t seen him go out. He was clutching a cloth bank bag to his stomach.
“Is that a duck?” I asked cutting him off. “Is it?”
Enrique looked puzzled momentarily, he clearly didn’t know whether to admit or deny. After a moment he tipped the duck out onto the floor. He’d crushed it into the bag pretty good and it didn’t land on its feet like a cat possibly would have done.
“A duck!” Shouted Enrique pointing at the duck that was struggling and failing to get to its feet things. Flippers. “Paula, a duck!” He shouted. I looked at the duck. It was in a bad way.
“Where… why did you…”
“Are you going to chase it?” Asked Paula. Not much gets Paula out onto the shop floor but the duck had the pull. It was hard to tell if she was making fun of me or Enrique. More than likely both of us. The duck flapped and Enrique roared with laughter and clapped his hands while swaying back and forth.
“That’s really good, Enrique,” I told him. It was at that point I decided he wasn’t getting a fake Cornetto. Paula could still have one. Enrique gave me two thumbs up. He shook his thumbs, his knees slightly bent and then he went back to looking at the duck. The duck crashed into the newspaper shelf and fell over and Enrique roared again. “I think you’ve broke it,” I told him.
“Chu no chase it?” He asked and I just shook my head. Enrique walked off chuckling. In terms of chuckling today was some kind of record. With Enrique gone it left Paula, myself and the duck in the shop and then Paula walked off and it was just me and the duck.
“Shall I deal with it then?” I asked nobody in particular. There was, of course, no answer. I pushed the duck out of the automatic doors with my foot. It hadn’t pooped in the shop so that was good. I then told Paula about the faux Cornettos and she was well up for one. She picked toffee, a strange choice for somebody who professes not to like sweet things, and I had choc and nut and we sat in the sun to eat them.
“They’re good, eh?” I asked, looking at her eat. “Twelve for £2!”
“Really good,” she agreed not looking at me, then, before taking another lick she announced, “uh-oh, duck go bye-bye!”
The duck was hobbling across the car park and a car was pulling in. You enter our car park from a side road off the main road. Cars turn off the main road, down the side road and then into our car park. The don’t directly pull in from the main road. That’s the point I’m labouring. I had time. Fake Cornetto in hand I jogged over shouting noises at the duck to scare it out of the way, out of the centre of the car park, and to safety. When it was safe I turned back. The driver of the car was staring at me. It was the woman. The woman. I opened my mouth but nothing came out.