English Lessons and a Bargain

Harim, my new chauffer extraordinaire, dropped me at home at around four. My head was pounding from all the bloody beer. It’s a good thing Rosie at the brewery knows my limit, because Christ knows, I don’t.

I slammed the door with such force that Harim’s moustache, a thin, thick bush of a thing, quivered like a Brazilian flicked with a powerful middle finger.

“Sorry, Harim.”

“That’s okay, madam. I’m looking to sell this old thing anyway. No one gets into a beat-up Mitsu anymore.”

“Except for alcoholic suburban cows, apparently,” I said. I handed him the fare and a little bonus.

“You’re too hard on yourself. I can spec you out, madam. You’re a good woman.”

“No, Harim. No, I’m not.”

“Suit yourself. If you spec someone who wants to purchase the car for a bargain, give me bell. Here’s my number.” Harim pulled out and tore off a piece of tissue paper from a pink container super-glued to the dashboard. “Here. I don’t have much hope, and neither have you. I can spec your face.”

“What’s with the specking, Harim?”

“Huh?”

“That word. Spec. Why do you say it?” I said, “It’s not good English.”

“I don’t spec what you’re saying. But I can tell you that all the drinking you’re doing in’t good for your sanity. You have bags under your eye and you look sad. Spec?”

“Jesus. Okay. I’ll try and spec someone for the Mitsu.”

“Thank you. Can I go now?”

“Yes—No. Wait. You mentioned you’re looking for a buyer for the car, not my car. What did you mean.”

“Ah. I knew there’s more to you than a couple of beers and a not-so-loving husband, if you’ll excuse me being frank.”

The words ‘not-so-loving husband’ sparked a short term memory (it doesn’t happen that much anymore, thank you marijuana) about what I had said to South London in the brewery earlier about my husband being dead. It was childish, and I’m not particularly proud of myself for having said that. It was the beer talking. And Rosie, Rosie with the emerald eyes and the freckles that that run down her cleavage like soft sea sand; Rosie who softened the blow and played along by telling South London that my husband was missing.

Missing. I wanted my husband dead. Say what you will, but you never love someone with all your heart if you don’t wish them dead once in a while. We’re all married to death, anyway. Having a husband or wife is a bit like cheating, isn’t it? Death is the jealous spouse, and no one escapes.

 “Oh, Harim, how can I not forgive you for being so observant? It takes a special kind of person to be as intuitive as that. And if you keep speaking English like that, I’ll excuse you even if you take a shit on my Persian rug. So, the car’s stolen. Am I right?”

“Spot on, madam. You have a … how do you say … a kind of flare for the criminal activity.”

“Ha! I like that, Harim. And the Mitsu doesn’t have any papers?”

“Huh?”

“Pardon.”

“Pardon. You should say ‘pardon’ or ‘pardon me’, not ‘huh’.”

“Pardon me?”

“I said you should say—”

“Right again, Madam.”

“No, no, no. I was practising.”

“Right. Ha! That’s funny. Thought I was in the Twilight Zone there for a moment.”

“Pardon?”

“Are you fucking with me, Harim?”

“I am, madam.”

“Good man. So the car doesn’t actually belong to anyone.”

“It doesn’t, madam.”

“And those plates are fake?”

“U-huh.”

“Harim?”

“Yes indeed, madam.”

“Harim, I think I spec a buyer. Come in. We have important business to discuss.”

Harim had a look at hi watch, a brief spec. “Your husband, he—”

“My not-so-loving husband. He’ll be working late, as usual. Are you in or are you out?”

“I spe—I suspect there’s something in your voice that sounds …how do you say … perilous.”

“Harim, you have no idea.”

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