I was trying to explain the rules of this simple game to Enrique. He understood that a stone could smash the shit out of a pair of scissors but he struggled with paper besting stone.
“Go get stone,” he told me. He had a piece of paper he took from below the counter.
“I’m not going to do that, Enrique,” I replied.
“Stone go true paper like it… fucking paper!” He was becoming stressed.
“I know, but. It wraps the stone.”
“Well… I don’t make the rules you know?”
“There’s no hammer.”
“A hammer would smash stone.”
“Look at dat!” He said. A woman had entered the shop while we debated. She was wearing that clothing I find so attractive on slim women. A flannel tracksuit type of deal. “You smash dat?” He asked.
“I’d smash that,” I replied with what was, with the facts I had access to at that point in time, honesty. He nodded. We were both looking over at the woman, our game forgotten. She had the word Zumba emblazoned upon the back of her tracksuit top. She had dark hair. We were both smiling while looking at her back. She picked up a bottle of red Oasis and headed for the counter. Enrique nudged me. “Cor!” I said out the side of my mouth.
The Zumba instructor approached us. I giggled and looked at Enrique. He made his eyebrows go up and down. The woman started off about eight metres away from us. When she was seven metres away the first doubts crept in. Something wasn’t right. She was tanned and had a firm body but…
When she was six metres away I screwed up my eyes and blinked rapidly a few times to clear my vision. The woman’s face wasn’t right at all but it wasn’t until she was five metres away I realised why. It was like she had a detailed tracing of somebody else’s face on her face.
At four metres I saw these black lines were simply wrinkles. Deep wrinkles. With every approaching step the smile on may face had weakened. I looked at Enrique and saw his smile had suffered the same fate. We were both now looking impassive but the woman still had three metres to walk and at that rate we’d both be looking horrified so I forced the sides of my mouth up into something I hoped suggested a smile.
At two metres I saw the Zumba instructor, though attractive from a distance, at close range resembled a prehistoric corpse recovered from a peat bog. I looked at Enrique. He had made no attempt to mask his horror. He looked at me. He held out his hand, sideways and flat. I stifled a giggle and nodded. When the woman was getting her money out I covertly mimed hitting something with a hammer and when I looked at Enrique he was nodding and then he held out both hands, sideways and flat.
When the woman left Enrique exhaled and muttered something in foreign. I was just watching her cross the car park. “Understand the power of wrapping now?”
“Si,” he replied. When the woman had driven her car away I turned to Enrique. He looked at me for a moment then went into his office and it wasn’t until much later that I remembered why we’d been trying to play paper, scissors, stone. It was to decide which one of us was going to hide first, and by the time I did remember it was too late.
We can only play hide and seek in the morning because Enrique is so shit at it. Hiding and seeking. Usually I have to make noises, otherwise it would go on forever because I like to challenge myself when I hide. He always hides behind the hot foot counter. I only have to look up and see Paula slumped on one side of the counter rather than in the middle to know where he is. Don’t even have to walk down there.