Heh, I thought as I paused at the entrance to the car park It was quite amazing how different the pumpkin bunting I’d put up made the shop look. It looked really different. How about that? I thought, starting to whistle and practically skipping to the doors. It seems to have rained constantly for the last eight years but it was dry and even supposed to get a bit warmer next week. It’s going to be an Indian summer which means a summer in the winter. I guess because India is in the Southern Hemisphere. Or it might be a Red Indian thing. I’ll check that out some time. Confirm it. In case it comes up in a quiz.
“Wassup witch?” I asked the witch which had made two children cry already. “You’re doing a bang-up job,” I told it. “Wassup, party people?” I asked the shop. Nobody replied so I hung my coat up in the office. Enrique was in the shop counting something. “Enriq-kay-kay-kay-kay!” I said as I passed him on the way to my station. He grunted. “Paula, how are you on this fine day?” I shouted. She swore. “Kiss your mother with that mouth?” I asked.
Of course I didn’t go straight to my counter. First I picked up a Daily Mirror and then doubled back on myself before setting myself up behind the barrier that separated me from the chaff. The counter was that barrier. There are two tills set in the counter with spaces between. It’s easy to imagine the counter are ramparts atop a fortress. For the next two hours I looked at the newspaper. Not just that, I also served people but mornings are for seeing what’s going on in the world because knowledge is power.
I was about start my forth run through of the paper – this time I was going to read the small news stories set in the side of the page – when I saw the person. I folded the paper. This person was moving in a disabled fashion but they might have just been a dick who’d hurt themselves. Those people get no sympathy from me. Tripping over potholes etc. Proper disabled though, that’s a different story. Ever since I killed that guide-dog I’ve been on eggshells around real disabled people.
This person had no bandages around parts of them. They were just proper disabled. The person had another person with them. A helper. I watched them.
“Are you okay?” I asked and the disabled person yawned and incomprehensible reply. I nodded.
“We’re fine, thanks,” replied the woman who was steering the disabled person by the elbow.
“Let me know if you need… if you can’t find anything,” I said and then looked down. They were going to be ages. Be quicker if the dude was in a wheelchair. When they were finally past me I looked up. The pair were gingerly rounding the corner into the drinks aisle. They’d passed the alcoholic drinks, though, and I wondered which liquid they could be so desperate for that they’d gone out to get it.
I moved about to attract Paula’s attention and eventually she looked up. I checked to make sure the couple couldn’t see me. That’s you! I mouthed with maximum force. Paula screwed up her face. I licked my lips and checked they hadn’t suddenly reappeared. That’s you! That’s what you’re like! I mouthed slowly and deliberately. Paula shook her head and so I threw my hands up. And the couple were returning, slowly and carrying milk. I smiled to guide them in. My smile was like the lights on a runway. “I could have got that for you,” I said helpfully.
“Oh, it’s fine,” said the helper. It was probably the mother. Paula arrived at the same time as they did.
“What’s me?” She asked. How was she so stupid and tactless? I’d been trying to avoid looking at the disabled person, I’d been trying to just look at the helper but I looked at them both. They seemed unconcerned by Paula’s social ineptitude. But then she asked asked again and I rolled my eyes and then fixed them on Paula. I was glaring which means my already open eyes would open even more in a pulse-like fashion.
Luckily it was nearly Halloween and the witch had been delivered.
“That,” I said pointing at the witch. “That’s you… forget it, it was a joke.”
Paula looked at the witch. I rolled my eyes and my head at the couple. I picked up the milk and scanned it. Paula was heading back to her counter. They couple paid and were heading to the door. I smiled as I watched them go. Bravery and selflessness. That’s what I was witnessing. I could learn a lot from those two, I thought. Gotta stop being a prick, and then it hit me like a fucking dump-truck.
The car in the disabled space which was right there by the door and visible over the magazines wasn’t a big black fucking piece of shit. It was some blue piece of shit. A little Daihatsu or something.
“Hey!” I shouted pointing. The couple turned, well started to turn, I couldn’t wait for them to complete the manoeuvre “Not you,” I said and then I ran around to the door. The couple were slowly making their way out, blocking the entire exit. I stood behind them and tried to remain calm but they were so slow. As soon as there was the hint of a gap I crushed through it. The disabled person yawned out a cry. “Sorry, but… car!” I said and then I was outside. I tapped the Daihatsu and looked around. I went to the middle of the car park and looked around. Car gone, car gone! I thought. I headed back inside but the slowest moving people in the world still weren’t fully out. I dug my fingernails into my fleshy palm and tried to smile. I looked around so I wouldn’t seem impatient. No hurry, I thought sarcastically. Finally, they were out of the way and I dived inside.
“Enrique!” I shouted. “Come here!” He came over with a complete lack of urgency, he was doing his squirrelly mouth he does when he’s counting. “Quick!” I went outside so he’d follow. He was next to me. I did, ‘ta-da’ hands to where his Cadillac wasn’t. “What the fuck?” I asked him.
“Hello!” Said Enrique to the couple who unbelievably still weren’t fully in their car.
“Your car, it’s gone!” I said. “Hi,” I said to the couple who began moving faster. They could do it when they wanted to. “Where the fuuuulip’s your car?” I asked.
“S’at my nu place,” he said, looking at me. I looked at him to check if he was fucking with me. I looked at the Daihatsu and back to Enrique and then back to the Daihatsu.
“Why?” I asked, even though I knew the answer. “The…” I closed my eyes and stood there. I felt Enrique punch me gently on the arm. I heard the Daihatsu drive off. It sounded like they were going to try and drive home in first gear, as is the way with women. Rev it up, Barbie, I thought. When I opened my eyes it was just me, the disabled space and the oil stain left by Enrique’s Cadillac. The stain wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought it would be.