Fishing in Beirut

April 29, 2010

Part 8: Te Quiero (scene 4)

Filed under: Character : Djinn, Part 8 : Te Quiero — fishinginbeirut @ 09:07

Djinn flung the frozen lasagnes into the compartment and slammed the door. His fingers were numb and wet from melting ice. He cursed to himself and rubbed his hands on his jacket. A thread caught his nail and the feeling was nearly more than he could take.
The plan had been delayed. It should have happened by now. He had encountered certain difficulties. The attempt to procure vital material had been met with suspicion by hardware store employees, and he’d been forced to retreat. Now he was buying small quantities at irregular intervals.
He surmised that records must be kept. When, where, how often, designated products were bought. It made sense, but he’d failed to think of it. It was better to travel throughout town, obtaining small, insignificant amounts, with no discernable schedule or regular sum. It was time consuming, but the alternative was possible failure.
He walked back to the storeroom and sat down for a moment. The light in here was softer than the harsh neon strips. He closed his eyes and listened to his breath in his body. The simplicity of breathing was what he was looking for now.
He stood up and returned to work. The freezers were taken care of and now it was on to the drinks. Endless fizzy bottles of sugar and dye, being consumed, and needing to be replenished. He watched a fat man fill up his trolley with shit.
The lemon flavour was low, clearly popular at this time of year. Someone pushed past him and grabbed two more bottles in a rush. He stood still, enraged by this brusqueness, and then slowly turned around and headed for the store. A dropped tin of peas meant he also needed the brush.
The peas had travelled far and wide, an unwelcome fact he discovered upon his return. They were under other produce and hiding in cracks. He swept as best he could, finding it amazing how much dust could accrue. He’d only cleaned that floor that morning.
His hand was sore against the ageing brush. The wood was coarse and splintering, jagged needles pushing his skin. He knew the best solution was a towel wrapping.
“Pardon,” said someone. “Le vin, s’il vous plait?” He pointed in the right direction and the customer shuffled along the aisle.
After work he walked the streets. A light picked up his shadow and then it was lost, only to re-emerge in the beam of another. A prostitute said Bonsoir and he put his head down.
He came around a corner and walked into some skinheads. They pushed against him on purpose and his balance was gone. He crashed sideways on top of a bin, feeling its corner smack his hip as the stench hit his nose. Fucking Muslim they called him, Fucking Al-Qu’ida.
He lay on the ground. They circled above momentarily, spat, and went on. He listened until their footsteps were faint and straightened his clothes.
Dreadful shame made him shake for an instant. He looked about wildly, to see if someone had seen. There were lights on in apartments, but no figures in the windows. He clenched his fists and felt tight pain in his jaw.
The garbage men were trawling about, jumping on and off their trucks and seizing the waste. Djinn watched silently, feeling calmer now. That job might actually have been better than a supermarket stint. Out in the air, clinging to a truck, learning about the city and not dealing with the French. Just throwing all the stuff into the back and climbing on again.
He looked up at the sky and tasted blood on his lip. He hadn’t been hurt, but was insulted they’d managed to draw blood. The taste was bitter copper, returning from whence it came.


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