The supervisor put me on the exit door. I don’t know why. He had an idea that I’d enjoy it. Being surrounded by rich people, maybe someone famous, maybe make some tips. I don’t know. It was a sunny day so I didn’t mind when they insisted I lose my jacket. It was all about appearance and presentation.
Inside, it was €240 a bottle of Champagne but no one seemed to mind.
Later, the tipsy woman said: ‘Will you have a glass of bubbly?’
‘I won’t. I haven’t drank in nearly five years.’
‘Oh really?’ She said: ‘How do you find that?’
‘Not too bad.’
‘I know someone that drinks too much. Any advice?’
‘No. Not really.’
She held the fence for support. Then asked: ‘ ‘Why did you stop?’
‘I wanted to concentrate on my writing career.’
She looked me up and down. The shirt. The tie. The minding the door. ‘Oh you’re a Writer?’
‘That’s a coincidence. I run a bookshop.’
She told me. I said: ‘Oh.’
‘What have you written? Any fiction?’
‘Two books. I had ten copies of the first one in your shop. It was called El Niño. ’
She squinted with: ‘El Niño. …El Niño. …hmm…can’t recall it.’
I could have told her why.
That one of her staff buried it beneath the counter for two years and the shop didn’t sell even one copy.
That I eventually took them all out myself and sold them myself on this website.
But I didn’t. Just went: ‘You probably see so much…’
‘We Do! WE Do!’
She paused, like she was trying to remember what we were talking about.
Then went: ‘ Oh, this is mighty now. Are you working on anything at the moment?’
‘Yeah, I published a new book at Christmas.’
‘What was that called?’
She thought, then said: ‘ ‘Do you know where I’d get some peanuts?’
‘Peanuts? I’m starved.’
‘There’s chippers. And sandwiches. And…’
‘No it has to be peanuts. I need peanuts. Crisps if it’s a crisis, but peanuts are the priority.’
I went through the mental geography, then said: ‘I think there’s a place over there.’
‘Over here?’ She pointed with her thumb.
‘Yeah, over there.’
‘Oh, God, she said. It’s ages.’
She studied the distance for another while, then asked: ‘Will you let me back in when I come back?’
‘Oh…thanks, these shoes are killing me….’
She walked off for a bit, then turned back and asked: ‘What did you say your name was again?’
I told her and she muttered it to herself and turned around, nearly collided with a fella holding three plastic pints of cider, then stumbled on for the peanuts.