Saturday, 21 July 2007

63: direct competition

I start working. I go into the store room. There are three new towers of fruit in the store room. The Turtle follows behind me. She stands about ten metres away from me. There is a new tower of apples in there and a new tower of bananas, and now a new tower of peaches.

What’s this? I say.

No one answers.

I turn round and look at The Turtle.

She is standing looking at me, the whip dangling from her hand.

What’s this? I say.

She looks at me blankly.

What? she says, after a while.

This, I say, pointing at the tower of peaches. What’s this?

It’s basically a tower of peaches, she says.

I go and stand next to the tower of peaches. I touch the side of the tower of peaches. It feels warm and confusing. Peaches. A tower of peaches.

I think of Ian. Ian was still not home this morning. I will ring his mobile. (Why did I not ring his mobile last night? Why am I standing next to a warm and confusing tower of peaches? Where is Carol’s knee?)

The Arndale Centre, says The Turtle.

What? I say.

The Thorntons in the Arndale Centre, says The Turtle.

I don’t understand, I say.

Basically, she says, we are going to do the same thing that the Thorntons in the Arndale Centre are doing with their chocolate fountain. We are directly in competition with the Thorntons in the Arndale Centre, except we are going to compete with them using a tower of peaches. Basically I want you to make that tower of peaches into something that competes with the chocolate fountain in the Arndale Centre, she says. Quickly, she says.

Oh god, I say.

What? she says.

I don’t know, I say. The Philippines.

Crack.

The whip lashes my neck. It feels hot and terrible. Very painful. I touch it.

Ow, I say.

What did I say? says The Turtle.

What? I say.

Crack.

Ow.

I said, no more talk about the Philippines.

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