Fruit Shop Man I’m sorry. I could feel your eyes on me again as I crossed the road with my embarrassing bag of supermarket Junk. I didn’t look up, not because I don’t want to meet your eyes, but because I’m ashamed, and scared. I want so badly to connect with you. But your produce looks sad and old and you grumped at me that time I came in and the irises were slumpy and overpriced and died the next day.
Why do you do it Fruit Shop Man?
You look so unhappy. And you’re old. And you’re Italian. Doesn’t your family look after you? Where is your wife? Shouldn’t you be fishing or playing cards by the sea? Why do you have to sit there behind that counter, day after day? Can you not afford staff? How can you afford rent now that the area has become all bourgeois bohemian? Is your business a Front? Why don’t you get better stuff and take it out of the ugly white polystyrene boxes it’s delivered in? Don’t you wonder why your little shop is always empty? Why don’t you make it just a little bit nicer?
Then I would come in with a little basket and buy lots of fruit and vegetables and flowers and probably one of those chocolate-coated liquorice sticks on the counter. And we’d become friends and you’d know my name and I would know yours and we’d laugh and talk about the weather and about what’s in season and maybe you’d bring me some cannoli that your wife made and I’d bring you a piece of cake I made with your bananas.
And there would be a nice grandfatherly feeling and you’d call me ‘Bella’ and there’d be faint jazz music playing and you’d squeeze fresh juice with your fat old grubby sun-spotted hands that would taste so good the whole neighbourhood would come in the mornings.
And nobody would need to go to the dumb old supermarket that hurts your eyes and stinks of artificial sweetener and old pies and plays terrible dance music over the PA and has surly late-teenagers working there who chew gum.
Everyone would love you. And I would feel all special that you knew my name.
I like you so much and I want to come in and talk to you but I’m scared, because of the last time. I didn’t mean to grab two bunches - I could only afford one. Sorry Fruit Shop Man.