I parked my car and walked over to Paula. She was sitting on the bonnet of Enrique’s Cadillac which was slowly but surely becoming one with the disabled bay in which it sat. The Cadillac itself gave off the aura of a mentally unstable and grieving Russian father’s marble monument to his negligently killed family.
“I just nearly killed him,” I told Paula. She looked bored. “You’re going to dent that, by the way,” I said. Or she might scratch it, maybe a button on the back of her trousers would scratch the black Cadillac. You don’t sit on bonnets. Not in real life.
“He wobbled right in front of me, had to slam on the brakes.”
“So?” Asked Paula.
“Thought it was interesting. I really nearly hit him.”
Our great conversation came to an end when I heard the squeal of tiny brakes and the sound of a shoe scuffing along the floor and then Enrique slid past on his little girl’s bicycle with one hand on his hat to stop it blowing away.
“I nearly beat chu, man!” He gasped.
“I go real fast… like bullet!”
“Like a bell-end.” It wasn’t a great retort but that’s what came out.
“Necks time I win.”
“Just open the doors,” I told him shaking my head at Paula. Nearly beat me. Yeah right. I left about twenty minutes after he did. Fucking idiot thinks everything’s a Top Gear challenge.
“Come on, slow coke,” said Enrique holding the door open. Paula and I entered the shop while Enrique went into his office.
After putting them out I grabbed a newspaper from the top and pretended to do the crossword. “Paula!” I shouted.“Busy postman?”
“What?” she replied. She didn’t look up, she continued to just cut the ends off the sausages rolls.
“I’m doing a crossword and I’m stuck and the clue is busy postman. What do you reckon?”
Paula thought about this for a moment and then, not sounding sure of herself, suggested, “Brian?”
I drummed my fingers on the counter and took a deep breath. “No, it’s a crossword and the clue is busy postman.” Brian. Jesus Christ.
“I don’t know,” she replied.
“Fine!” I said folding the newspaper. Fucking shop. Fucking boring shop.
Just then Jeremy Clarkson walked in. I stood up straight because he’s on telly. I tried to get Paula’s attention by pointing at Clarkson’s back but she wasn’t looking at me. Clarkson was approaching her. Oh my god! Jeremy Clarkson! I couldn’t make out what he was saying but I could hear his distinctive baritone voice. And then Jeremy Clarkson was approaching me. He was very big. Too big.
“Two sausage rolls,” Jeremy Clarkson said to me. I rang it up. “Bit short aren’t they?” He asked.
Should I say it? Should I say it?
I should say it!
“Yeah, they’re like Richard Hammond!” I said. Jeremy Clarkson laughed and we were best friends even though Paula had actually once been in the Top Gear audience. “Seen that black piece of shit out there?” I asked. I know Clarkson hates American cars. Clarkson looked at my face and nodded appreciatively and then he lent closer to me.
“Didn’t expect to see one over here,” Jeremy Clarkson said.
“I know, must have shipped it all the way over on a boat,” I told him. “Why bother?” I added, shaking my head.
“Shush, here he is,” said Jeremy Clarkson as Wellington, Paula’s boyfriend, walked in. I looked at Wellington, then to Jeremy who was pulling his unsure face and rubbing the tip of his nose, and then back to Wellington.
“No, I meant…” Then I just made a noise as I gave Jeremy Clarkson his change.