Sunday, 13 April 2008

Fortune Cookie

It was a simple plan really. I would go into the chinese takeaway and order food for both of us. When the food was done, and I needed to pay, Billy would burst in with his dad's gun, and announce that he was holding the place up. He'd order me and anyone else in the shop to pick up their food and leave, and when I was out, he'd suddenly realise his mistake and run off. No-one would be hurt, and we'd have chinese takeaway that we couldn't afford to pay for.

Billy had the idea when we found his dad's gun in his dad's underwear draw, next to the vibrator. Billy's eyes had gone wide, and then mine had too.
"Look at that!" said Billy, sounding awed.

"I know," I said, sounding shocked. "Why does your dad need a vibrator? Your mum left him years ago." Billy doesn't really remember his mum, so he doesn't get upset when I'm a bit tactless like that.

"What's a vibrator?" said Billy, reaching for the gun. I thought about telling him, and then decided that he could find that out for himself when he got older.

"I don't think we should play with the gun," I said, but Billy had picked it up now. He nearly dropped it again, clearly not expecting it to be so heavy, and then he pointed it at me. I dropped to the floor and scuttled under the bed where I found a snowdrift of used tissues.

"Put it down, Billy," I said. "It might be loaded!"

That's when Billy had his bright idea, and he put the gun down, so I came out from under the bed and made sure that the gun was unloaded before we went out for chinese takeaway.

I walked into the chinese takeaway and was relieved to see that no-one else was in there. Behind the counter, a tan formica rectangle running the length of the shop, sat a little chinese woman watching a talk-show on a tiny bakelite tv set. I smiled nervously, and ordered from the menu on top of the counter, pointing at the items we wanted on the laminated A4 sheets. She nodded, said something I couldn't understand, and disappeared through the door behind the counter, presumably into the kitchen.

When she came back she was carrying two white plastic carrier bags with foil and cardboard containers, and as she put them down on the counter, Billy burst in waving his dad's gun. The little chinese woman shrieked and ran through the door at the back of the counter. Billy stopped for a moment, looking around at the shop with only us two in it, then pushed the gun into his pocket, grabbed the bags and ran out of the shop. I waited a minute, but the chinese woman didn't come back, so I left too.

Back at Billy's we put the gun back in his dad's underwear drawer and ate the food. Billy was beaming, laughing and joking about his success holding the chinese takeaway up, and was making plans to do it again. I was concentrating on eating, this was the first proper food I'd had in two days. Then suddenly Billy went quiet, and I looked up. He'd opened up one of the two fortune cookies, and was staring at the slip of paper inside it.

"My fortune cookie's gone all weird," he said.

"Let me see?" I held my hand out and he let the slip of paper flutter into it. I looked at it.

"You're going to regret that," I read. "You're right Billy, that is weird. Pass me the other one."

I cracked it open, and shook the paper slip out of the crumbs, and picked it up.

"So are you," I read.

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