I was fiddling with my laptop. Micky had brought me a new 1TB back up drive but none of the films he had stored on it would play so clearly I needed some sort of plug in and that is what I was searching for when peace was interrupted by someone bashing on my door saying there was trouble at the shop. Fer Feck’s sake, there’s always trouble at the shop, especially this time at night. I don’t know how many times I have told Marcia it is a shop, not a bar. People should come, select and pay for what they want, and then Fuck Off. Instead, she let’s them sit there. The place is a bloody Shabeen and I hate it. Especially the bloody litter I have to collect in the morning.
So I wasn’t exactly in anything approaching a sympathetic mood as I stomped down the path towards the shop. I kicked open the door and found myself staring down the business end of an AK 47 behind which was a uniformed Gentleman by whose eyes I could tell was out of his tiny little mind, always assuming he had one in the first place. Not something you can bet on here.
It is possible to take in your surroundings without swivelling your eyeballs. Mine were transfixed on the 7.62mm diameter black hole just under the foresight. I did take in, however, the sight of a dozen clients all doing the sensible thing and playing like meditating monks, avoiding eye contact with the lunatic and Marcia, as white as any Negress can be with fear, transfixed next to the counter. And no, of course I could not tell if the safety was on or off, that only happens in films. Besides, I was too busy shitting myself.
Bollocks, I thought, this is going to Fucking hurt with a capital F. Selfish, aren’t I? Then, only then, was I angry. Very, very flaming angry. No-one should ever have to experience this peculiar mix of rage, fear and sense of impotence. The guy was built like a brick shithouse and clearly off his trolley. In the second drawer down on the right hand side of the desk I had but a moment before been sitting at, I had a CZ 83 loaded with 7.65mm tranquilisers, ideal for this sort of situation. Next to my desk were two sabres, one ceremonial the other definitely a weapon of war and only recently honed to a keen edge. All of them, swords and pistol, might as well have remained in the manufacturer’s stores for all the good they were to me now, clad as I was in cheap Brazilian flip flops, shorts and a soon to be bloodstained T Shirt.
‘You!’ I shouted pointing my
12.5 mm forefinger at him, ‘What the fuck
are you doing in my shop with a weapon?’
He gobbed off something incomprehensible and cocked his weapon, ejecting the round he already had up the spout which clattered across the floor accompanied by a collective moan from all present.
‘Stand to Fucking attention when you talk to me!’ I bawled.
‘Marcia!’ I shouted at her, ‘How many times have I told you that customers must leave weapons outside the door?’
'Take that weapon outside now or I will bar you’ I said turning my attention back to the maniac before Marcia, bewildered beyond belief, could answer. ‘And we don’t give credit so if you haven’t got any money, FUCK OFF!’ This wasn’t strictly true, we always give credit to fishermen.
‘Right, that’s it, give me the fucking gun’, I took a pace forward clamping the muzzle beyond the less painful side of my armpit, tapped him gently between the eyes with my forehead and steered him out of the shop. ‘If you want to drink, the gun stays there’ I said, indicating a bit of pavement to the left of the entrance. Now that I had the gun and he had a headache he was suddenly very polite.
I didn’t need to tell Marcia, she was already on the phone and everyone else who had been in the shop were already doing personal bests at sprinting. The police came and took him away.
Afterwards, I was mad as hell. In the post crisis analysis it became clear that while I was behind my laptop tinkling the keys, Marcia was staring down a pissed up loony with a gun.
‘For Christ’s sake, Marcia, why didn’t you tell me straight away?’
‘Because you would have fought him’
Fucking right I would have. I’d have at least slipped a
1 inch AF spanner up my sleeve and caressed
his temple. That way I wouldn’t have had
to play ‘Guess what’s going through the mind of the Criminally Insane’ while a
clinically interesting example was pointing a gun at me. A quick swing and all I would have had to do
is wait for him to wake up and then ask him.
As if I would have been interested. Man I was angry. ‘How dare you Marcia? How
fucking dare you risk yourself like that!
Are you fucking mad? Who would
look after Alexander if you were dead?
How do you think I would feel if I had to bury you knowing that some
shit bag got away with murdering you?
Don’t you fucking ever do that again!’
And more stuff along those lines. I was a teensy weensy bit annoyed.
Marcia burst into tears and left the room.
Dominic coughed discreetly.
‘You know I love you?’
‘Yeah, sure, of course I know. If you love me, pull me a cold one out the fridge’
‘You’ve never told me that you love me’
‘Hang on a sec Son, of course I have. Loads of times’
‘No you haven’t Daddy, not once’
‘Are you sure? I mean, really sure?’
‘I’m sure, Daddy’
‘Not even when I taught you to ride a motorcycle all those years ago?’
‘All you told me was not to fall off, I remember that Daddy’
This was all starting to get bloody uncomfortable. I know that Dom’s Hols are over and he has to go back in the morning so he is a bit disappointed but I am just as gutted. Not that I would admit that to him, of course.
‘Dominic, what’s on your mind?’
‘Well,’ he squirmed on the sofa a bit, ‘it’s just that Marcia really loves you’
‘Me? Bollocks! She just tolerates me. What makes you say that!’
‘She knew you would fight the guy so she kept quiet ‘cos he had a gun’
‘Yeah well I took it off him so what’s the problem? By now he’s probably getting the shit kicked out of him in jail. I’m just pissed off she didn’t tell me straight away instead of sending that dickhead down here when it was too late with some garbled message so I had to face the guy down in my fucking underpants. Where’s that cold beer I asked for?’
He gave me the beer. Then the phone rang. It was the boss of TecnoCarro, a really big company here in
and the employer of the loopy guard
with the gun. He was sorry he said. He wanted to know if there was anything he
could do. Were we alright and that sort
of thing. Fuck me, no-one has ever apologised
to me in Angola before and just because one of his
guards got pissed and a bit out of hand, no-one could reasonably blame the
boss, after all he must have about three squillion employees and odds alone
would say at least one would be crazy.
We’re fine, I assured him with rare respect. He told me that he would send some managers
over just to make sure. I was beginning
to wonder if they would arrive walking on water. Angola
I was starting to calm down. Just to put this all into perspective, I had been terrified out of my wits. One fuck up on my part and I could have lost Dominic and Marcia (Alex had been safe watching Ben 10 on TV only three feet away from the CZ his Daddy really could have done with) and the thought of losing them made me want to vomit.
‘I have never told you I love you?’ I had ripped the filter off a local SL cigarette, lit it and was dragging in a serious blast while Dominic was hugging his brother Alex on the sofa.
‘Nope’ he said not even averting his gaze from the TV for a second.
Bugger. If I told him I loved him now he’d only think I was just saying it. Is it really possible that in thirteen years I had never told the lad I loved him? Fuck, I adore him. I am so proud of him.
‘I guess if I told you I love you right now’, I ventured, ‘you’d think I was a bit of a dick?’
‘No I wouldn’t’ he replied, eyes still locked on the TV.
‘I do love you, Dominic,’ I said, ‘More than anything’
‘Marcia was really scared,’ Dominic responded after a deadly pause, ‘She was frightened you might get shot.’ He rolled over and looked at me, ‘Daddy, I was scared.’
‘Sorry about that’. What else could I say?
Marcia has just come in and gone straight to bed.
Dominic and I exchanged glances. I thought they were the sort of knowing glances between men faced with cantankerous women but no. ‘Do yourself a favour’ said Dom, ‘tell Marcia you love her.’
Thirteen years old? Do yourself a favour? By God his English is good. I am so proud of him. And I love him, as I do Marcia and Alexander. I guess I just need to tell them every once in a while.