I work Saturdays in a shop on H____ Road in Hull. Let’s call the shop Oddbury’s. Every Saturday I write down the funny things I hear. These are real conversations with real people about the things they’re buying and what they mean to them. Names have been changed to protect people’s identities. Paul is my co – worker.
Saturday 13th February 2016, 11.12 a.m. Jim 62, works in a secondhand electricals shop, Paul 59, shop assistant, Trish 34 Housewife, Aaron 15 Trish’s son.
Trish: You got any better razors than these?
Paul: Those are good ones. I use those. You can’t go wrong for a pound with those.
Trish: I’ve had these before, to do my legs. Cut me to ribbons they did. I looked like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre betime I’d finished. Still, they’re not for me – they’re for him (jabbing a thumb at Aaron).
Paul: Oh right.
Trish: Yeah. He needs to sort his hair out, don’t you?
Aaron is dressed in a track suit. He is much taller than Trish. At about 6ft tall he towers over his mother who approaches the height of her son’s shoulder. He is wearing a beanie hat and has his hood up so we can’t see what’s wrong with his hair.
Aaron: Grunts and gazes up at the ceiling.
Trish: I said don’t you?
Aaron: Ignores her and carries on staring at the ceiling.
Trish: (Shouting) Honestly, I have had it up to here with him. He’s been suspended from school haven’t you? I said haven’t you? Tell the man why.
Before giving Aaron a chance to respond she continues…
Because of his hair cut, that’s why! Monday, I gets a phone call from the school. Can I go and pick him up? Can I hell like. What’s up I say? He’s got an extreme hair cut. I says, what the hell are you talking about? I mean, I don’t call a short back and sides extreme. I mean, he puts gel in it but what lad his age doesn’t these days?
Jim: They look like Elvis with these quiffs these young lads that I see around. That’s a throw back to when I was young. If I still had hair… (he motions to Aaron) … I say, if I still had hair…
Aaron completely ignores him and Trish takes up the baton again…
Trish: Well this assistant head, I’ve spoken to him before – last time he got suspended – Oh, it’s not the first time, is it? I said is it?
Aaron ignores her.
Trish: No it’s not (she answers here own question). Tell them what you got suspended for last time. Go on.
Aaron ignores her.
Trish: Well I’ll tell them. It was that, what was it?
Aaron: Jesus Army…
Trish: What? What did you say? You are a SARKY. LITTLE. BASTARD.
Aaron: You asked me!
Trish: It was this religious thing that they were having in assembly. What was it?
Aaron: (Infuriated)I just said! The Jesus Army.
Trish: Don’t you give me any of that backchat you SARCASTIC. LITTLE… you are a sarcastic little bastard and one day that tongue of yours is going to… Anyway, what was it? This religious organisation, I’ve no idea who they are. I mean, me and Aaron, we’re not particularly religious are we? I mean, I believe in God but I don’t particularly want it shoved down my throat and I don’t want it shoved down my son’s either so I’m happy for him to express his opinion but, tell them what you said.
She doesn’t wait
Trish: I’ll tell them. Well one of them, these
Aaron: Jesus Army
Trish: Blokes is up there on stage talking away in front of the whole school…
Aaron: Year 10
Trish: Or whatever, talking about God and what not, and the Assistant Head, the one I spoke to, he did tell me on the phone that this fella had a look of Jesus but I mean, that’s no excuse, and our Aaron’s got up – stood up, in front of the whole school…
Aaron: Year 10.
Trish: And shouted – ‘Get back on the cross Jesus!’
There is a stunned silence.
Paul: What did he get suspended for this time?
Trish: Well, let me get back to where I am… Where was I?
Jim: His hair, you were on the phone to the Head.
Trish: (causticaly) It was the Assistant Head. The Head won’t speak to me. Anyway… yeah, he’s said, (adopts a ‘posh’ voice) ‘well Mrs Rankin, he might have left home with a short back and sides but that is most definitely not what he has turned up at the school gates with.’
Pauses for effect. Now everyone is staring at Aaron who is smirking ever so slightly.
Trish: Well, when he got home… tell them… tell them what you’ve got…He’s only gone and got the German flag shaved into his head. The German bloody flag!
Jim: It’s all this Dutch Land ’93. They’re all into. My daughter is. It’s one of these foreign things on telly.
Paul: (Lets out a sigh and rolls his eyes) Deutschland ’83. 1983, not ’93.
Jim: It’s quite good actually. A fair bit of shagging in it.
Aaron: Let’s out a suppressed laugh.
Trish: (exploding at her son. This provocation is more than her nerves can take.) YOU LOOK – LIKE A. FUCKING. IDIOT!
Trish: No! It is very much not alright! And you are going to shave that stupid bloody thing off your head as soon as we get home.
Aaron: I’m allowed to express an opinion.
Jim: Oh aye? Which opinion are you expressing at the moment. You look like a Rastafarian with that hat on. Show us what you got…
Trish: NO! Do not encourage him… it’s more than my nerves…
Aaron whips off the hat defiantly and glares, shaking with rage, at his mother. His head is shaved to the skin apart from where he has left unshaven, standing proud, in thick, jet – black hair, the shape of an enormous swastika.
Jim and Paul burst into hysterical laughter, falling around on the counter. There are tears rolling down their cheeks.
Aaron storms out of the shop and shouts, ‘fuck off!’ after him.
Says Trish of her purchase: I’m still buying these. I’ll hold him down and shave his fucking head myself if I’ve got to. ‘Cos I tell you. I will not tolerate it. I will not tolerate him lying in bed at home for another week fiddling with his bits while he’s watching Jeremy Kyle. He can get his head shaved and fuck off from under my feet back to that bloody school where he belongs.
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