Men in orange work overalls, two of them, came into the shop. I had The Beatles playing, and one said, ‘Penny Lane!’
They had bottles of coke, they wore beanies and silver earrings. They consulted smartphones.
‘I might start reading Hemingway. I might start reading him. See what it’s all about.’ His friend nodded, ok.
They handled the classics. Alex Garland’s, The Beach made one of them put down his coke. He read the back of the book, kneeling on the floor.
The other man disappeared into the back room.
He came back to science fiction.
Leans back to see the top shelf, hands crossed across his front, holding the coke by the neck. Leaning now in front of art. Trying to see the bottom shelves.
Now, leaning into fantasy, resting a shoulder. The other man is still on the floor, his boots are tremendous; clutched by mud.
‘Cheers mate. Better go.’ They move quietly, slowly.
‘Do you take card, mate?’ (to me). One is buying Dexter. ‘I’ve seen this series.’
‘Cheers.’ They turn to leave, but one comes back. His friend treads patiently from side to side.
‘I’ll just get this as well. It’s reasonable.’
He says to his friend, ‘It’s reasonable. Need my wallet.’
He dashes out to a car, then back in, ‘Sorry mate (to me), didn’t have enough.’
His friend stands patiently, holding the door with outstretched arm, head resting on the arm, one boot on top of the other, gently.
‘Better get back.’
He pays. They leave quietly. Out into the bright cold.