It was a mauve morning in WHSMith, and the squat man with a putrid yellow scarf stood contemplating which colour of Uni-ball pen to buy. The sales assistant, who had had muesli for breakfast, lounged against the wall stocked with Lamy ink pens. He wasn’t sure why the squat man cared so much about which colour he wrote in, but guessing reasons kept his brain from oozing onto the carpet. So far he had shortlisted the options down to two. Either the squat man had been sent by his tall wife to buy pens for their appropriately sized child who needed them for her science presentation, and now, he did not remember what colour she’d said but he couldn’t phone and ask because that would be admitting defeat, again. Either that, or the squat man was engaged in an important staring competition with an Uni-ball Eye. If it was the former it wasn’t a problem because he could interrupt his thinking and try and help to jog his memory. But if it was the latter, he may dangerously be interrupting a contest that the man’s dignity rested on. He took his chances and interrupted.
‘Can I help, sir?’
The effaced sales assistant that had been lounging against the wall of Lamy’s interrupted his thoughts. No, you pockmarked fool, you cannot help, was what he wanted to say, but the necessity of keeping a low profile when you’re about to murder your dog and cut him up into seven pieces made him respond politely.