Thursday, 9 May 2013

Putting It Back

We're huddled into Greggs, trying to keep out of the cold, gusty rain. The queue is lunchbreakers, lining up for hot sausage rolls, bridies, steak bakes and soups. Everyone's wearing their jackets on this not so fine May day and, yeah, if we're honest, there's a wee bit of quiet grumpiness in the air, annoyance at the return to cool temperatures after one lovely day on Tuesday.
There's a sudden scuffle at the open doorway as a young guy pushes in, nudging a woman out of the way with his shoulder, and slipping sideways into the middle of the shop. He reaches between two shoppers to lift a ready-made sandwich and a bottle of orange juice from the chill cabinet. Lifts them with one hand, sandwich tucked into the palm and bottle between thumb and finger. Then, he nimbly swivels round and pushes past the first person and the second and then finds his way barred. A very tall, well built man has stepped sideways into his path. The boy slips to his side but the man mirrors his move. The boy dodges to the other side, and the man blocks him again. The man speaks, quietly. "Put it back."
The guy is a skinny wraith, his miserable, pale face juts out of a black hooded top. He pushes again, but this is a big, tall man, middle aged with the stature of the polis of yesteryear.
"Did you no hear me? . . . Pit it back."
Seems he didn't hear, cos now the boy makes a determined effort to force his way past.
"You're no getting outta here till you put that back," and the man takes the sandwich and the bottle out of the boy's hand. The goods are given up easily, but the boy yelps in protest, "Ah've no hid nothin tae eat," as he falls out of the open doorway and skulks at the window, looking at the cakes on display.
We resume quietly queueing and the man holds onto the sandwich and the drink till his place in the queue reaches the chill and he places the items back on the shelves.

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