I’m half way through bagging up our special seasoned chicken wings when I catch a glimpse of her from the side of my eye. I freeze momentarily and carry on with what I’m doing, pretending not to have noticed. Her long manicured fingers tap threateningly across the glass display like the leg of a tarantula feeling out its path before me, and I smell her sweet intoxicating perfume but stay consumed in massaging the seasoning over the meat, bagging, weighing and labelling each portion in turn.
I keep my head down nonchanlantly as she piques her hand onto her hip and coughs indiscreetly to get my attention. No Jennifer, I don’t want to talk to you right now I tell her vagina telepathically leave me alone! I hear the shuffle of shoes and a more clumsy tap on the glass.
“Sandra honey, we’re waiting,” smiles my neighbour Mr Sphin. You bastard, I glare at him, you take my beloved Nigel’s leg with your moped almost two years ago and you have the audacity to stand at my meat counter calling me honey. Hell no! And if that wasn’t bad enough he’s now made me acknowledge beautiful Ben’s bitch of a girlfriend, perfect Jen who stands at the front of the queue. Give me strength!
I roll my eyes at her with piss emanating from my face, piss from how utterly pissed off I feel. “Jennifer, what can I get you?” I say in my most narky and impersonal shop assistant’s voice.
“Sandra, call me Jen. I wanted to talk to you about what happened this morning, with Ben, he’s very…” I hold my marinade brush up to silence her.
“Jennifer, I’m busy and I have customers waiting. If you’ll please excuse me.” Back off bitch, you’ve been told.
She looks surprised and a little winded as she stops dead in her tracks, turning to Mr Sphin behind her as the only other customer in the queue, she mutters something gruffly that I can’t quite hear and within seconds he’s gone. I swallow hard.
“Sandra, we need to talk.” I don’t look up but my hands start to clam around the cold wing that I’m holding. “Ben’s afraid that what happened today, the scene this morning and the customers…” What? What did Ben say about me? What did he tell you? He felt the sexual tension too? He’s finally leaving you for me? He thinks your dolphin shaped hand soap’s are shit?
“That it may have affected his hopes of getting a raise in salary this year and would like you to speak to Gaynor and inform her that it was not his doing.” Oh really. That doesn’t sound like the Ben that I know, my wanton, mesmerised Ben who hangs on my every word and so clearly desperate to touch me. He would never drop me in it, he’s always covering for me with Gaylord. Just what do you think your game is Jennifuck?
“Oh,” I smile possessively “he said that did he?” and I angrily clap two chicken wings together covered in sauce leaving bright little spits of orange marinade across my white tabard.
“Yes,” she stands a little taller and pouts.
“Did he now…” I clap another two wings together, harder this time and the sauce spits onto the display glass.
“That’s right Sandra, he did. So if you wouldn’t mind speaking to Gaynor we can…”
“NO!” I shout clapping my chicken so hard the bone cracks and cold spicy sauce splashes across her flawlessly perfect face. Trying to contain myself I look down upon my chicken and reiterate calmly “No, it wasn’t my fault, Ben wanted me.”
She raises an oblivious eyebrow as she feverishly pats a tissue over her face, “wanted you for what?”
Do I need to spell it out to you you simple beaver, he loves me. But only he can be the one to break your heart, I’m not going to do his dirty-work for him. Not any man.
“You mean he needed your help?” She fills the silence as my face changes mechanically between cringing for her, feeling pity, jealously and eventually anger like a gadget show feature. No, he needed me because you’re not enough for him, Jennifer will clearly never beat Angelina, it’s nothing personal, the better woman won.
“Can you please speak Sandra!” She squeaks in a high-pitched emotional state and I can see the tears welling in her eyes. Shit, she’s going to cry, Ben and I have been outed. But this was always bound to happen.
I look her square in the eye and my mouth just sits lazily open, for once I fail to find the right words and all I can do is stare numbly at her. What could I possibly say, it feels like I’m kicking a puppy. A pedigree, gorgeous puppy who helps the blind and elderly to cross the road and selflessly rescues children from mine shafts.
She hitches her breath and points inside my gaping mouth. “Is that… is that Ben’s chewing gum?” Fuck.
“Yes.” Stay calm, stay collected, be the better woman, you are the gracious and rightful winner.
“Why the fuck do you have Ben’s chewing gum, my boyfriends chewing gum in your mouth!?” Oh no, the princess-ballerina is about to go loco, do something, say something! And out of nowhere I start to nervously laugh, evolving into a deep manly, bad-guy snicker, and eventually turning into a full on hearty belly chuckle with tears in my eyes as I fight the urge to hold back my bladder.
She stands stock still staring at me in horror, radiating psycho-bitch tendencies at me as Ben comes like my knight in shining arm, dashing over and holding her by the arms. “Jen, what’s going on?” he says with sickening concern as he tucks her hair behind one ear and wipes his thumb sweetly under her eye to take away her tears.
“It’s her!” She screams insanely, tears free falling like graceful gymnasts from a springboard. “You’re cheating on me with her!” Hmm, well. No but yes. Kind of.