While it was difficult to determine exactly how old Percy was, Marge was another matter entirely. With shoulder length white hair that had all the lustre of a bail of hay, and deeply tanned skin that can only come from years of tobacco and booze (and you thought I was going to say sunlight; no I mean tanned as in leather), she was without doubt, somewhere between ninety five and a hundred. I had assumed up until this point that she was Percy’s mother, and the two kids aged roughly eight or nine that hung around occasionally, were Percy’s grandkids. As I was to find out in due course, they were in fact, a nuclear family.
And so it was that about three or four weeks after my initial conversation with Percy, as I waiting at the post office (which is really just a counter in the corner shop), I saw Marge. She was at the cash register mumbling something to nobody in particular, and I was absolutely fascinated by her actions; she would take stuff out of her basket, and return it to where she got it, then come back to the register and mumble some more. She then seemed to have a change of heart and go back and get what she had put back (or at least I assume it was the same thing). After a while I gathered what she was doing; she was getting the girl to ring up various combinations of goods until she found one that was within her budget. But then, when everything seemed done and dusted, she decided that the meat was nothing more than a luxury, so she took it back to the fridge and got a pack of cigarettes instead.
At some point during all this, she looked into the air somewhere around where I was standing and began mumbling something that I could quite catch. Then, much to my surprise, she lunged towards me and said "Aren’t you talking to me?"
As I recoiled in horror, I managed to reply "Sorry, I didn’t realise you were talking to me". She repeated her previous mumble (much more coherently it seemed, now that I knew she was talking to me) "I said, do still you want to come and have a look at the pups?"
Now in truth, I don’t ever remember saying that I wanted to do so in the first place, but what the heck, I was ready to say anything to get out of this situation! "Sure, that sounds fine, when should I do it?"
"We can go right now".
"Can you give me a ride home?"
"Argghhh Fuuuck!!" (if this was a comic strip, that last one would have been a thought bubble).
"I’ll be back in a minute" she said and then shot back across the road to the pub. So here I was standing by my car thinking "What the fuck have you done? And where the fuck is she?" Ok the answer to the second question is obvious, she was downing another glass of white lightning. The first question was a little more difficult to answer.
After about five minutes of debating whether or not to just piss off, she came wobbling back across the road and announced that she would be ready to go as soon as she got her groceries. "Hmm, I though that what she was doing before she went back to the pub!"
After she disappeared back into the shop and then reappeared a couple of minutes later, we were ready to go.
It was an interesting experience…
Filed under: Serials |