“Then I told Mary that the delivery never came – that’s one fifty five please – and she nearly took the head offa me, cheeky bitch – thank you, next please! – you’d think I was driving the feckin’ van meself”. Janet smoothed back her hair with the palm of her left hand, her right being busy searching apron pockets for cigarettes and a lighter. “What’s that sorry?” “Two bags of Tayto’s and two cans of coke please”. “There now- that’s two sixty – I told her straight, I didn’t place the order and I don’t know when it’s meant to be here.” The young boy hands up the correct money and smiles politely. Janet smiles back at him and ruffles his hair. “Ah Johhny, you’ll grow up a handsome lad. How’s your mammy? Tell her me and Julie will be speed-walking again tonight, about six. Tell her ring me.” And with that she walks from the serving counter telling Bridget she’s going for a smoke and will be back in five minutes.
Bridget sighs to herself “you will and ten”. She turns to tidy the display units next to the till. As she hums the soothing notes of ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ the door to the shop opens quietly but quickly. Turning to face the next customer she finds herself staring into wide blue eyes surrounded by the dark cloth of a balaclava. “Gimme all the money in the till – now!” Nervous hands shake over the newspapers but the hands are not Bridget’s. “Gimme the fuckin’ money!”
The door opens again and they both turn to face it. “What is this – Halloween?” Janet walks past the man, her shoulder pushing against his arm and knocking him off balance. She moves next to Bridget and they stand, leaning slightly against each other, both staring into the wide blue eyes. “Yis fuckin’ pair o’ bitches!” and he spits on the counter, hurries to the door, removing the balaclava as he steps on to the street. The door slams behind him. “Mary wouldn’t think much of your customer service skills” said Bridget with a smirk. “I make a lovely guard dog though. Whose turn is it to phone the gaurds?” “Mine, I think,” said Bridget, “so it must be your turn to make the tea.” “And is it two sugars he has?” “Two sugars and a small biscuit”- “just to help it down” they chorus, in imitation of their next customer.