“You know who I hate?” Asked Simon Helyar, my agent.
“That guy from the Gadget Show.”
“Do you know who I mean?”
“No. I don’t watch it.”
Simon started fucking around with his iPhone, then he nodded and turned it to me. This picture was on it.
“Oh yeah, him. He is a bit…” I trailed off because, as I’ve said, I don’t watch the show. I’d seen it, knew about the great prize they have at the end but I hadn’t formed an opinion of that man.
Simon had turned the phone screen back to himself. He was looking at the picture, smiling and shaking his head. He then turned the screen back to me. “What a cunt, eh?”
“Listen Simon, have you sold the book?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s all in hand. Hey, why don’t you write something about this cunt?” Asked Simon, again showing me the screen, in case I’d fucking forgotten his fucking face. That hat. I began to dislike the man.
I should change my name to Chatty Barker because I can’t stop chatting. Chat chat chat all day, can’t stop chatting or the Slush Puppie Machine will start talking to me again and we don’t want that, oh no, we don’t want that! I’ve been chatting to customers, to Paula, to myself, anybody but that fucking machine. “So Enrique, tell me absolutely everything about your childhood in Bogotá.”
Enrique was over by the wine with his clipboard. I’d love to know what the fuck was on that clipboard. My guess is nothing, I’ll ask him one day. Today, after he tells me about his childhood in Bogota.
“Enrique!” I shouted. He heard me this time. “Tell me about your childhood in Bogota!” Enrique squinted at me. “For real! All about it.”
“Chu wanna know?” He asked. He was wary. Whenever he usually talks about Bogota I stop him with a ‘whatever, mate,’ because I’m worried his life will be more interesting than mine.
“Yes I wanna know,” I told him. “And tell your sister.”
“And what’s on that clipboard?”
Enrique looked at the clipboard.
“Bogota, come on, talk to me.” I clicked my fingers while Enrique ambled over.
Enrique ambled over.
He was over. He’d ambled.
“Wha chu wanna know?”
“Everything, don’t stop talking. Go!”
Enrique ignored my orders, placed his clipboard on the counter, took his hat off, scratched his head and put his head back on his hat. His hat on his head.
“H’okay. I was born-“
“At a very early age!” I interrupted. That’s a Jim Davidson joke. Enrique stared at me. “No, go on, go.”
“My mother die when she h-“
“Shut up.” I told Enrique and cocked my head and pointed at the ceiling. “Can you hear that?” I asked. If it had been the Slush Puppie Machine talking I wouldn’t have asked but this was a different noise. A buzzing. I continued to point to the ceiling and cocked my head further to the side while staring at Enrique. Enrique’s eyes darted around for a moment and then they fixed on mine and he nodded. He could hear that. “The fuck’s that?” I asked. It wasn’t Bumbelayo if that’s what you’re thinking. We’d put a stop to that after 20 minutes.
Enrique shook his head. His head then started moving around. Sensing the air as if he was a meerkat who’d heard a snake. I watched while listening. There was a buzz alright. We split up and moved around the shop. I prowled down the confectionery aisle while Enrique took the drinks aisle. We met up at the end. I shook my head at Enrique. We were now near Paula.
“Wha-” Began Paula but I held my finger to my lips. “What are you doing, dickheads?” She continued.
“Can you hear that?” I asked her. I was standing still in a sort of crouch. So was Enrique.
“The buzzing?” She asked.
“Yeah, what could it be?”
“It’s not that little flying robot,” she said pointing at nothing. I wasn’t wearing my glasses because they’re not cool and I couldn’t see anything. It was my turn to squint.
“I can’t…” I squinted some more and then went back to look at Paula’s finger and traced an imaginary line from there. Still couldn’t see it.
“Wha dat?” Asked Enrique. Eagle eyes could see it. I walked over to roughly where Paula was pointing. There was a tiny flying robot.
“Holy shit!” I proclaimed.
“Can you see it now?” Asked Paula.
“Of course I can!” I snorted and stood staring at it. I could only just see it. Paula and Enrique also closed in. We stood staring at it. “The fuck?” I asked. At least if I’d gone mental I’d taken the other two with me. Still, I was unnerved. I looked to my right at Paula and then to my left at Enrique. Enrique held his hand up to touch it but I slapped it down. “Don’t!” I warned. “We don’t know what it is.”
“It’s actually a new remote control helicopter made by Nitrotek. Smallest remote helicopter on the market. You can control it with your iPhone or iPad as I’m doing now. It sends back 1080p video but the amazing thing about the T-100 is that it also had night vision as well as a built-in barcode reader.”
I looked to my right at Paula and then to my left at Enrique and then straight ahead at what looked like the result of a serious sexual assault (rape) perpetrated by Greg Wallace and Timmy Mallet on a baked potato. It was the guy from The Gadget Show and he was walking towards us, talking, while alternating between staring at an iPad and up at the helicopter. He was quite tonguey when he spoke. Not quite Jamie Oliver but he definitely had too much tongue in his head and the end of it poked out the corner of his mouth as he controlled the helicopter. The helicopter hovered right in front of my face.
“Smile!” Said the guy from The Gadget Show. I smiled for what I thought was long enough for the helicopter to photograph me and then I looked at him. As well as holding an iPad he also had a camera strapped to his own head with the small camera pointing back towards his own face.
“It’s the guy from The Gadget Show!” Said Paula tugging on my sleeve.
“I know,” I told her, placing my hand over hers.
“Who zizit?” Asked Enrique tugging on my other sleeve.
“You don’t know him,” I told him, peeling his hand from my arm. The guy from The Gadget Show plucked the contraption deftly from the air and then stood there nodding. “That’s wicked,” I told him. He started saying something in that excitable way he talks. I wasn’t listening. I was staring past him. Entering the shop now was not the one that looks like a teddy bear, nor the new black guy – they must’ve been left back at the studio – but the star of The Gadget Show, Suze. Suze from the motorbikes. Suze is sexy as fuck. The Spoon, who in a previous life had ran away with a dish in a nursery rhyme, saw me staring at Suze.
“Would you like to see her gadget?”
“Would I!” I replied. I nudged Enrique. “I’d inspect her gadget!”
“She’s nothing special,” said Paula and I just shook my head at her.
“Inspector Gadget, do you get it?”
Suze also had a little helicopter but I just stared in her perfect face. Mr Potato Head started blabbing (that’s exactly how he talks, he blabs) about how they were in the shop looking for barcodes that might stump the machines blab blab blab. For a bit of the show, blab blab blab. Revolutionize shopping from home blab blab blab. He asked us if we had anything rare and I asked Paula to find a box of Marathons she had stashed away and to give the guy one. Give the guy one. Jeez Suze gave me such a stiffy. Everything I was saying was inadvertently sexual. Paula went to get one. I then remembered those Polish tins we had. I asked Enrique to get one and he did because there were TV people in the shop and nobody wanted to make a scene. Suze started flying her helicopter around the shop and I stole a look at her leather-clad ass. I’m a monster.
“I used to work in a shop,” said the guy from The Gadget Show looking around. “Can you believe that?”
“Yes,” I replied. “Is it good being on telly?” I asked Speccy Four Eyes. I’ve got a book out and expect to be invited on TV any day now. The One Show.
“Pussy all night,” he replied. He turned and also looked at Suze’s ass.
“Even you?” I asked, prising my eyes away from her.
“Yeah,” he replied.
“What, you? You get sex?”
He turned back to me. “Do you want to know my secret?” He asked.
“You molest children?”
“No, well… ” He laughed and looked at me quizzically. “No, My secret is this little guy.” He produced what looked like a garage opener from a pocket.
“Watch,” He said. He called Suze over and he really honked on her boobs. Really grabbed them and went ‘nyha!’ Suze seemed quite upset.
“What the hell do-“
The bastard love child of Harry Hill and a cartoon worm held up the thing to Suze’s irate face and it flashed brilliant blue then made a sound of a bulb recharging. I thought he’d killed Suze. I thought she was dead but then when I was sure she was just going to topple forwards and ruin her face she started rubbing her temples. And then her boobs. She then started explaining why they were in the shop like we hadn’t already heard it. The Walls sausage with the crudely drawn on face raised his eyebrows at me.
“That’s fucking awesome!” I told him. “Can I get one?”
“No, I’ve only got one.”
Enrique and Paula returned with the items. The bar-code reading helicopters could read neither. What a load of shit. We watched for a while while they tried.
“Well this is a snafu!” Said the Mr Man and he started ushering Suze out the door. “See you, guys!” He said. I grabbed his shoulder.
“Oi, you know the prize? Do you reckon you could rig it so I win?”
“Sorry, that’s all done by prod-“
“I’ll make it worth your while, come on. Makes no difference to you.”
“I’m sorry,” he said while trying to break free. He failed.
“Come on, just… I’ll give you my address. Don’t be a twat.”
“I can’t!” Said the guy from The Gadget Show.
“Well, it’d be a shame if the press found out about your lit-“
I woke up with my face in the bread. What happened? Had we been drinking? I felt like I had a hangover. I found Enrique who was sitting against stockroom door. I roused him with a foot and found Paula who was passed out behind her counter.