in the shop window
wiping the cloth over the glass
and two meatheads
come up to it:
oi! one of them jabs at the glass,
YOU MISSED A BIT!
then: ha ha ha, they laughed at me.
and ha ha ha, they laughed at each other.
and ha ha ha, they laughed back at me
then peered in at me,
waiting for a response …
I had 4 more windows to clean.
I didn’t have time
to pretend they were world-class comedians
so I carried on wiping with my cloth …
their faces dropped.
they came into the shop.
oi! one of them said. it was only a joke, you know!
I know, I told them.
so why didn’t you laugh, then? the other asked.
didn’t find it funny, I shrugged.
ok, there’s no need to get all offended! said the first one.
I’m not offended, I said. just didn’t find laugh-out loud funny.
who’d you think you are? the other said. fuckin snob!
fuckin shop worker, being a snob! said his friend.
he’s a fuckin window cleaner! and HE’S offended!
I’m not offended, I said. you are.
YOU WHAT? he said.
you’re kicking off
because a shop worker
didn’t laugh at your unoriginal joke.
you’re the snobs. you’re the offended ones.
the first one comes towards me –
the other one holds him back.
YOU SHUT AT SIX, DON’T YOU?
he says. I KNOW YOU DO!
AND I’LL BE WAITING FOR YOU!
then they turned
and marched out
in army unison.
customers were staring.
I went back to wiping down the window …
a fly landed
right where I was wiping
and it waited
looking up at me:
it buzzed a beg.
©2020 Paul Tanner All rights reserved.
Paul Tanner has been earning minimum wage and hounding “the littles” about it for 15 years. His latest collection Shop Talk: Poems for Shop Workers was published by Penniless Press last year. His star sign is Libido. Hobbies include bombing, looting and colouring in.