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Back at the check-out counter I offer to carry the ladies box of groceries. She’s flustered. She throws her head over her shoulder and politely declines. I insist. She relents. I see the ring but it has nothing to do with her being a yummy-mummy. Call it chivalry, me, the last of a dying breed.
As we exit the supermarket, from an aisle I catch a scoob making eyes at me. He lifts his nose from a magazine, craning a look in my direction. A simple sconce but it’s enough. I haven’t travelled all these miles without picking up a thing or two along the way. Green sneakers and shiny tracksuit pants, he’s hard to miss, the boy clown. I have him in the back of my mind as he tailgates me through the supermarket double-doors.
In the car park, I perch a moment to find the MILF – where did she go? – when, all of a sudden, a dog wants to get up against me. The mutt decides to copulate with my left leg and, rebuffed, confuses it for a lamppost. I can’t loft it into the air with a kick as a granny is bearing down on me, staring intently. She and the runt: their lives are intertwined. Without shattering the terrier’s rib cage, I kick it away but as I do the canine ruins my life.
Knocked off balance and before I know it I’m on the ground, the ladies shopping strewn everywhere. I’m swilling around in a smashed bottle of OJ, milk and broken eggs. Only now does the lady materialise with the scut by her side. They’re joined by the granny who is on me like Usain Bolt. All three peer down at me.
‘My god, what happened?’ the lady asks.
‘He kicked my dog’ the granny says.
‘Bullshit! The dog attacked me.’
I’m defending myself from the ground.
OK, I admit as I was falling I heard the yelp of a dog. Satisfaction? My philosophy: I do doubly to you what you do to me. Some call it revenge. I call it education. A dog bites me – get this – I bite it back. Harder. Really. Trust me, it learns and thinks twice next time. That’s old-school education.
‘What did he say?’
The granny is clearly hard of hearing and talks by shouting.
‘Nobody is talking to you’ I say.
‘What?’ the granny asks.
‘Give the old bat an ear trumpet or just FUCK OFF’ I say.
The bedevilling old bitch heard that. She has seen wars and knows the sound of a dropping bomb. The granny dutifully shoves off to her next drama, led by the dog who probably is her husband reincarnated. I’m still on the ground, nobody caring to ask if I’m ok. Then comes the reality check:
‘Everything’s destroyed’ the lady says. ‘My weeks shopping!’
‘He dropped everything to have a go at the dog’ the boy adds.
‘Fuck you asshole.’
What’s it to him I wonder as I stand up. Why is he milling around? I get up feeling my age and shake myself down. I’ve eggnog on my jeans and the back of my shirt is stuck to me. Orange juice, milk or blood?
I’m in a neat little fix, my good deed going round-house and slapping me in the face, trapping me in banality. I lash out at the only one I can.
‘Fuck off spotty and mind your own business.’
‘Mum, he did it on purpose.’
Mum! Ah, all becomes clear. Now I’m more angry. So be it I think. Lets dance. I have an inch or two on the weasel. But don’t be fooled, the boy is a right slug with his neck tucked into his chest.
‘You dopy git. You laze about as I carry your groceries. You fucking delinquent.’
‘How dare you’ mum says.
‘Stealing sweets, spying porn’
I’m venting. The rest you know. You know what happens an overcooked pressure cooker. The lid flies off.
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