I’d gone out to get fags and was deciding whether I could justify the purchase of a caramel Dairy Milk when I heard the man by the till say:
“What, so I’m just supposed to pick it up off the floor?!”
I turned to see a tall guy in a crash helmet and motorcycle leathers glaring through his visor at the cashier.
“You’re supposed to put the change in my hand, not drop it!”
The cashier – a nice guy who I have amiable chats with now and again – smiled, shrugged and apologised. “Sorry, my friend. It’s a mistake, innit?”
“If you knew how to do your job properly, this wouldn’t have happened. Place the change in my hand, don’t just fling it! God!”
The biker stooped to pick up the 5p piece and spent ages putting his change back into his wallet. I stayed back. I didn’t want to get near him and pretended to be considering the relative merits of Toffos and Tooty-Frooties. Having gathered his change, the guy in the crash helmet needed something else to draw his ire, so pointed to the copy of The Morning Star alongside the other newspapers on the counter.
“That’s what’s wrong with this country – all the bloody communists! That’s why this country is in the state it’s in!”
Uh-oh. Biker man was was veering from irascible to insane and I half-expected him to pull out a shotgun and start killing all us ‘communists’. But settling for one last tirade against the innocent shopkeep, he headed out of the door.
I watched him cross the street. “What a dick,” I mumbled to myself and the shopkeeper shrugged his shoulders.
“He’s not right in the head.”
I glanced back at the biker, who was now crossing back over and back towards the shop.
Double uh-oh. Staff and customers had assembled to see what the biker was going to do next. I wondered what I would do if he started attacking the guy behind the till. I like the guy – he always calls me ‘boss’ – but was that grounds for jumping into harm’s way?
The biker stood in the doorway and pointed at the man behind the till. We all waited to see what he was going to say. I expected some promise of vengeance, a sacred vow that come hell or high water, the shop clerk would rue the day he ever served the motorcycle maniac.
“By the way,” the biker said, his voice raised in unimaginable fury, “it’s isn’t it, not innit. ISN’T. IT. Consider that your lesson for the day.”
And with that, he turned and left.