Monday, 28 April 2014

LUNCH by Iwan Rees Williams

I was halfway through the tea when the girl with the blue lipstick sat down opposite me. She was neon blonde and bubblegum. The tea wasn’t great.  
“Hey stranger! Mind if I join ya? It’s awful lonely in here.” 
Her smile’s angelic and collateral. It’s giving me a headache.
“No. Please, be my guest.”
“Thanks dude. Is it cool if my friend sits here? She’s the hot one by the till. Bet you dream of girls like her, huh? We’re from America, California, the real deal. We’re doing Europe. I’d never heard of Wales before this week.”
Did she just say ‘dude’?
Her hot friend was wearing a dumb smile and a sickening grey hoodie with WEST COAST GURL on it. There was an envelope in her hand and she was talking to the cashier who was wide eyed. The beach cafe was silent. The most intelligent conversation I’ve heard all day.
“You’re not much of a talker, are you dude.”
The wide eyed cashier was going through the till. Hand in, hand out, frown, blink, grin, breathe, frown. The west coast gurl was still talking slowly. Opposite me, Bubblegum put her hands on the table as a wolfish grin stalked across her.
I’m facing a moral dilemma: do I finish my tea and converse or immolate myself like an angry Tibetan?
“Do you want to know a theory I have.”
The latter, then.
“I’d love to.”
She lifted her hands, folded her fingers.
“A place like this is easy. There’s no need to rob a bank and risk getting shot by some asshole guard. There’s no need to rob a liquor store and risk getting shot by some asshole cashier. There’s no need to rib a garage and risk getting shot by some asshole traffic cop. There’s no need to rob a restaurant and risk getting shot by some asshole whose pancakes are getting cold. No, my friend, a place like this, a tourist place is the one to do.  Everyone’s distracted, everyone’s got money, everyone’s left their guns at home, everyone is…” she paused, contorting her hands “so chained to by some misplaced ideal of happiness, so grimly determined to enjoy their moment of peace that they would stand and wince and walk away while I do whatever I like”.
I seem to have misjudged blue lipstick girl. The cashier is still going through the till.
“Do you know what the best kind of robbery is?”
The West Coast Gurl is still talking, faster, looking around.
“Picture this: A girl walks in holding an envelope and tells the cashier that her friend, sat at a nearby table, talking to some guy, has a handgun in her jeans and if all the money isn’t put in the envelope, the walls are getting repainted a startling shade called essence of brain.”
Her friend picked up the envelope and walked out. Bubblegum put some coins on the table and got up to follow.
“Get yourself some more tea. You look like you need it.”

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