I’m trying to decide whether to buy
Miguel de Cervantes for kids
Or a book on the grammatical structure of Jamaican Creole
“Gary, love, you know those twenty pound notes you gave me”
A tinny voice
Scratches their way out of a speaker phone
The hand that holds the phone
Nowhere to be seen.
“Well some of them are missing”
I hear mumbling …”Janet.”
Mumble Mumble Mumble.
I go past the French aisle, nothing
Return a book to Jamaica
“And some of them look like they’ve been chewed apart”
I think back to last week’s novel by Sara Collins
Her protagonist, Frannie
Forced to eat pages of a book she dared to read
Who dared to steal this money? Got caught and forced to chow down on
Ink, Sweat, Metallic and-
“Corner shop won’t take ’em”
I turn into the German aisle to spot
A giggling couple caressing their fingers
Over a copy of Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’
It takes both of them to hold the weight of 60 pages.
Even they are distracted by Janet down the phone.
“I’m not being funny love, but you’re the only person who’s given me £20 notes”
The audio and veneer of being “nice” begin to crack.
I quicken my pace, Gary makes no response back.
Past Russian, Italian, Urdu and Indonesian
Gary’s silence causes Janet’s intonation and blood pressure
To compete for dominion.
Gary is crouched down on the carpet
Reading ‘The Little Prince’ in Welsh.