The Revenge of the Customer Service Attendants

The big woman yapped on at her colleague in the petrol station and reached out for my items. It was lunch. Then she burped and, under her breath, said sorry; not directly to me but to someone, or something else; perhaps as a force of habit. It was lunchtime. I had been hungry.
* * *
Have lunch in my car again. On the menu was reformed foam is the shape of crisps, sushi and apple juice. And it all tasted the same just looked different. And when it was eaten there was neither the feeling of contentment or satisfaction. Rather, that my body was part of a larger experiment. Maybe the experiment could be called, ‘What Can we Pass as Food?’
* * *
All the time we spend in queues at petrol stations is less time in nature, more in hell.
* * *
I’ve never seen anyone smile in these. Not, at least, the customers anyway.
In my mind the day has already arrived; we each of us have our heads clamped between to iron bars in long rows. We kneel on all fours and are grazed and our own shit stings, and infects, the gashes. And here they come; the customer services attendants, grinning, with slop buckets in hand. And they are burping and enormous, waddling towards us. They eat chocolate bars and dump a pinkish porridge on the floor in front of us.
And though we know the contents, we are hopelessly programmed to eat it anyway.
Our necks strain at the bars to finish every last morsel.


Our Friend is Dead

His mouth tries to carve the words into the air between us. Though mute, I still understand him. He pushes a peanut around. It looks like a tiny, shiny distorted skull. Salt crystals gather at the end of his fingers; some fall upon the wooden table top.
Behind his eyes, a process of decoding. Working out what has happened.
I take his hand and close my fingers around it. He looks up at me, startled; lost in space and just barely able to recognise my face.
Then, a smile.
Out on the bay, a few boats return from the channel with empty nets.
He covers his eyes with his free hand, and cries quietly and steadily.
The sun doesn’t know. The sea is indifferent.
Our friend is dead.