As I recently sat languishing in earth’s closest relation to limbo, the chippy waiting area, aka the chippy, my interminable boredom was interrupted by the sound of a man falling slower than any man had fallen before.
Sat upon a high chippy stool, futile chippy docket in hand, I waited for one of the chippy dolls to step forth with my greasy brown bag.
Like a greedy jack russell eyeing his owner’s fork, I tracked the chippy dolls with an unbroken gaze as they moved between fryer and griddle, seized by The Fallacy of the Hungry, namely, that by observing my food being made, I might somehow make it cook faster.
But as I sat staring – possibly drooling – at the ladies behind the counter as they expertly went about their work, I heard a noise, not quite human, not quite animal.
“Aaanghhaaaa,” went the mammal.
*We were in one of those chippies that is adjoined to a shop*
Turning my head towards the source of the sound, I half-expected to see a very refined goat trotting down the aisle, bag of groceries hung from his horn.
But the creature my eyes came to rest upon was two-legged, demonstrated none of the balance for which goats are famous, and was obviously very drunk.
“Waaaghhhaa,” developed the sound coming from your man’s mouth.
I could only assume that these pre-linguistic groans were an involuntary expression of his dissatisfaction with his newfound trajectory. Translated into English, I imagine he was probably saying something like, “Oh Jesus, I kicked one foot with the other, and now I am heading straight for the crisp rack.”
And if that is what he meant, then he was spot on, because towards the crisp rack is exactly where he was going.
However, while a sober man would have met his deliciously dusty destiny in a second or less, this fella’s fall seemed to take ten times that.
Refusing to accept his fate, he reached desperately for something sturdy to take his weight, splaying limbs in every direction in an admirable attempt to defy his destiny.
So valiant was this boy’s efforts to stay on his feet, people in other isles who had heard his initial trip actually had time to drop what they were doing, walk halfway around the shop, and catch the dramatic ending.
And some ending it was, too.
Confounding both my expectations and Newton’s theory of gravity, he never actually hit the deck.
The crowd stood in silent shock.
Like the apostles at the transfiguration, we looked at each other in awe-inspired speechlessness.
Your man, however, oblivious to the miracle he had just performed, proceeded to stumble down the shop, his gait revealing to all that he was just about as blocked as a man could be.
Then, stopping dead in his tracks, he started hoking deep in his coat pocket – so deep that he almost initiated another cope.
After a few suspenseful seconds had passed, his hand emerged from his pocket, and in it gripped a multi-pack of Square Bars (those cereal bars that are basically a small brick of marshmallow-covered rice krispies).
“That is the weirdest drunken purchase ever,” I said to myself.
He opened the first layer of wrapping with surprising ease.
Three of the four bars flew across the floor. Did your man care? Did he hell.
He entered into a gruelling battle with the bar that remained in his hands, pulling, wrestling, and eventually using his teeth to get at this reluctant confectionary.
“Go on ye boy ye,” I said to myself.
Smiling at the bar like a child on Christmas morning, your man proceeded to ram the FULL thing into his mouth, filling his gob so completely, and separating his jaws so widely, that he was then unable to chew the thing.
He stood swaying in the middle of the shop, jaws almost unhinged, his expression one of confused, yet content, oblivion.
“NUMBER 23,” bellowed the chippy doll, with the impatience of somebody shouting something for the tenth time in a row.
“Oh, sorry about that,” I said, snatching the brown bag.
By the time I got home, the food was nearly cold.
Funny story, though.
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