What Sophie Saw.. (ii)
…. To her left was the herb shelf, shrouded in the heady scent of skunk. To her right, a young Polish woman was cleaning a squashed melon from the fruit aisle floor. She looked up at Sophie and, at seeing the look of shock on her face, was overcome by a feeling of inexplicable terror herself. It’s not that Sophie’s face was so bad… although she had just been for her 6 monthly top up of botox, and her right cheek, in trying to flinch, had moved a half inch closer to her eye and remained there. The left side of her face, quite frankly, looked to Rosa like rigor mortice had set in. Rosa had been a mortician in her home land before fleeing following a ‘misunderstanding’. And, for a fleeting moment, Sophie glimpsed the totally messed up melon, and she looked Rosa straight in the eyes, which was a strange experience for Rosa who, being severely cross-eyed since birth, had never had to deal with eye-to-eye contact before.
Sophie pulled herself together as much as she could given that she had little control of the various parts of her face and neck. Her jaw had dropped so far that, when she tried to close her mouth, it wasn’t possible to get her lips to meet up in the usual way. Her motionless bottom lip moved upwards, towards it’s shapeless partner, with a jerky motion.. completely missing the top lip, jutting forward like a bull dog, and landing just below the tip of her nose. Rosa looked in astonishment, wondering why this otherwise quite normal looking English woman was staring so aggressively at her. Sophie’s brain asked a question and, about 10 seconds later, words formed on her rigid lips…. ‘How the hell did that melon get so messed up?!’
Rosa was suspicious, she looked in fear and loathing at the stiff upper lip before her. Then she pointed towards the organic fruit section and stuttered, ‘It was those b-b-bastards!’ She was quite definitely pointing at the organic bananas… who looked innocent enough. ‘I saw them… laughing. Th-th-they th-threw her across the f-f-f-f-floor, laughing! They d-do it to give mmmme work to do! B-bastards’. Sophie’s brain said “run!” and, about 10 seconds later, her arms began to swing, followed by her legs, until she was transported, with much relief, away from the insane woman scooping up squashed melon from the floor, with one roaming eye firmly fixed on the bananas. She brushed past the herbs, briefly stopped to pick up the smouldering basil, and sniffed it. Yes, it definitely had the aroma of cannabis… She popped it into her shopping basket.
Guiltily moving on, she continued down the fruit aisle looking this way and that, at all costs avoiding catching Rosa’s eye again (or not). She reached the Oriental Vegetables, and there, at precisely 19.13 hours on that Friday 13th, 2010, she found herself looking across the Shitakes and coming face to face (or not) with John McNab, Battersby’s Security Guard. He looked in pained despair, she raised her neatly plucked eyebrow, and it stayed there. He glanced down, so she glanced down; he whistled, and she blushed as she watched him urinating onto the pak choi!