Justin knew all too well that if the bitumen he was cycling on were a living, breathing thing, it would need to sleep on wooden boards. He knew that if the park bench he was riding to could talk, it would forever complain about bearing the weight and flatulence.
He often thought about what would be different if various things were living. If bar glasses could shout, would they scream about bad breath and having to wear the tacky lipstick of their temporary owner? Jeremy had, of course, seen the movie ‘Cars’ and this confused him even more.
When he arrived at the bench he saw a young couple. They were kissing. He couldn’t help but wonder that, if they grew old together, would they start to look the same? He’d seen couples, on their silver anniversary, look the same, particularly in the face, and he’d heard of dogs growing old with their owner and striking a baffling resemblance. What Jeremy couldn’t work out was how evolution made the Pumpkin Head man.
The young couple stop kissing. The girl says something. He wonders if her voice changed, would the boy still be attracted to her? If her smell disappeared and her facial attributes become interchangeable like a Mr Potato head, would they still be with each other? He decided they wouldn’t, finished his sandwich, and made for work.
Riding to work he became aware of the tram tracks. Chance had always troubled Jeremy. The chance of being hit by a car, slipping in between the tracks, falling off a cliff, being struck by lightening, winning the lottery, falling in love, moving overseas. Jeremy dismounted his bike, vowing never to buy a scratchy or to approach girls or stand underneath trees in a storm ever again.
When Jeremy arrived at work, 15 minutes late because he had to walk, he put on his apron and took position behind the register. His nametag read ‘J’ – it was the little bit of colour he could add to his mundane, but wholly enjoyable vocation. He liked the simplicity of ‘J’, much as he liked the simplicity of his job.
The schoolgirl did not reply. She placed a packet of tampons, condoms and some lubricant on the tiny conveyer belt and avoided eye contact. Jeremy’s brain melted. He wondered how she could be having sex with a tampon in. Wouldn’t it get in the way? It would be like sucking a highlighter up a vacuum, then trying to pick up a piece of lint with its suction. Not that he thought a penis was like a piece of lint, it was just the first thing to come to mind.
“And a packet of Malboro lights, thanks”, mumbled the voice in the uniform.
“Aren’t you a bit too young to be having sex?” Jeremy asked as he passed over the cigarettes without checking ID.
“Aren’t you a bit too old to be working as a cashier?”
Jeremy was too old to be working as a cashier. A virgin cashier at that.