Sign of the Times

‘Have you the paper saved for me there, I sent that little fucker of mine down for it earlier and as usual his head was in the clouds, and he came back with a bottle of Lucozade and a lion bar.  The hangover cure no doubt, he is the selfish one that one’.  Joe discarded the morning rain off his coat like he was at home and settled into his rant.    ‘The only thing that he didn’t come back with was the milk and me Sunday Times’.

Noel, the manager and owner, raised half an eyebrow and offered no eye contact, such was his current suffering and lack of interest in Joe’s woes.  ‘Since when did you get the Times – weren’t you only in last Sunday and all those before it, getting your fill of political and global news in the very sophisticated Sunday fucking World’.

‘I came in here for the paper not for a personality assessment, or should I say assassination.  Have ya me paper set aside anyway?’.  

‘Over there’ Noel indicated with a ragdoll shrug of his arm, check over the mushy peas, I think it was put it aside for ya’. 

Joe’s response was swift and cocky ‘well, you take self-service to a whole other level you do Mr. Convenience’. 

‘Just go and check if it’s there and less of the guff out of you will do.  I have bigger things on me mind here.  This fucking till needs, well I don’t know what it needs, it’s refusing to even acknowledge that it’s a till at the minute.  I remember simpler days when you would key in the numbers and the dot button and then press equal.  What was wrong with that.  This shite always gives ya nothing but bother.  And those companies Joe’, raising one eye to his customer, ‘they want you to pay for something so that you can get paid.  And it’s important that you get paid so that you can hand over your hard-earned cash to pay them to come back out and fix said joke of a till.  It’s no wonder the country is the way it is’.

Noel heard muttering and stood to attention ‘Joe what are you at, are ya trying to pull down me shelves ya fool’.  He marched over to Joe armed with a knitting needle, ‘here get out of me way, there’s your one’, handing Joe a rolled-up newspaper.  ‘We know how to look after our customers here in O’Malley’s, let it never be said otherwise’.   

Like a figure from primitive man Joe followed Noel until they arrived at the hub of the shop. Noels eyebrows, over-grown and pointing in all directions, were focused on a small calculator, pen and notepad strangely dwarfed by the large counter.    

‘Ah for fuck sake’, the torment continued.

‘Laura must have read your mind, Mr. where is me Times’ Noel juttered in response. 

‘Ah Noel fuck off I am not taking this home with me – the fucking Sunday Times’.

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