No More Heroes

“Just to keep it safe.”

“To keep safe?”

“Yeah.”

“How?”

“Fucking told you. They burst in demanding the money so I ran off with it.” I was trying not to touch my face, because that means you’re lying, but it was hard because Enrique was staring at it.

“How many?”

“I only saw two or three guys, there were probably more in the car they arrived in.”

“Who lock the door?”

“Fuck off, mate. If you don’t believe me then fine, I know what happened.”

“I believe.”

“let’s not talk about it any more.”

You think you’re going to grab your big opportunity when it comes along and then your big opportunity comes along and you fuck it. I didn’t even get a Slush Puppie machine. Enrique was still staring at me and, oh my God! I was on the verge of tears. I couldn’t talk. Jesus Christ. I looked at the floor. When I thought I was composed I looked up hoping Enrique would be doing something else. It was no big deal, I’d brought most of the money back. He was still staring at me, he looked concerned and that was it, the look of concern. I bawled like an abused baby. Enrique rose from his chair and came over to me, it was horrible. He hugged me and that made me cry more. He ushered me to a chair. I never cry, this was wholly unexpected and unwanted.

Enrique gave me his hanky.

“S’okay man,” he said when my sobbing had finally subsided.

“I don’t even know why I’m crying!” I sob-laughed. He gave me his hanky and I wiped my face then looked at the hanky. It had bogies on it that weren’t mine.

“Sean, he do a good job man.” I nodded more. “He cover for you.”

Enrique then stood again and went to his office door and called for Sean. I rubbed my eyes hard with the hanky, not caring about the bogies, I just didn’t want two people seeing me cry in one day. One person was bad enough. Sean came in.

“Sean, you do a good job,” Said Enrique. I looked up. Enrique was shaking Sean’s hand. I nodded. “But chu go now. Jaime’s back.”

“Jamie.” I corrected him.

“So we don’t need chu no more.”

Sean was smiling, he thought it was a joke.

“Serious,” I said.

“Erm, okay,” replied Sean still smiling but looking confused and not leaving.

“Bye Sean!” I shouted.

“I need-“

“Fuck’s sake, here,” I said handing him his two pens. Sean checked them both over then left.

“Thanks Enrique,” I said and held out my hand. It was the first time I’d ever shaken hands with him. He took my hand and then covered the back of my hand with his other hand and shook it like that. Like a priest. We stood there for too long then Enrique nodded and opened the door. I went to hand him his hanky back.

“Chu keep it,” he said with a wink. I looked at it for a couple of seconds then put in my pocket and I went back behind the counter and finished off filling the cigarette rack.

“Have you been crying?” Asked Paula.

“Depends, have you been an ugly fat pig who’s had about ten abortions?”

As I slowly and carefully filled up the cigarette display – my thoughts everywhere – I heard Paula shout at me. I looked over to her. She was behind the hot-food counter. As soon as my gaze met her gaze she slowly did the ‘wanker’ hand gesture. She also pressed her tongue behind her lower lip and mouthed, “wanker.” I suppose in case I wasn’t familiar with the sign language. I looked back at the box I had on the counter. I was looking for Lambert & Butler Menthol. She shouted me again. I looked up again. Paula was still doing the gesture, the only difference was that instead of saying ‘wanker’ she was just moving her head from side to side and silently mouthing gibberish with her tongue still pressed behind her lower lip.

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