If it wasn’t for the windchime, I would’ve made the pickup and left.
I’d made the order just after a day’s snorkelling. Diving and swimming makes me thirsty, hungry and distracted.
Once dried off and packed up, I jumped into the 4WD : my global explorer. I desperately needed to return to civilisation. I had caught nothing and was hunting for a real meal.
I started the car. I stalled it. I started again. It jumped forward and I heard a dull thud.
“Shit”, I said. I opened the driver’s side door. I circled the car and found the culprit. A small tree had collided with the passenger door and dented it.
“Add it to the rest”, I said. It wouldn’t be out of place. I circled around the front of the car. I got in, started it up again and reversed out of the sand trap.
Now I was running too late for my liking. I sped into town. Beaches on the right, dunes to the left, tarmac in the middle. Then I arrived. A one pizza shop town, I thought. And not crowded too. This should be a quick getaway. I parked close by and sprinted one with my hunger.
The Talking Pizza was welcoming me. A few scattered plastic chairs, a counter, the oven must be out the back, the girl at the counter and a guy in a suit towering over her.
The man in the suit hadn’t seen or heard me at all. He was staring straight ahead at her. Both hands were clenched. He seemed in a hurry. I thought : a city man in a country town has to wait like the rest of us.
She wouldn’t look at me at all. I thought it must be her first day. She barely was taller than the console. I thought of jumping up and down to catch her eye but changed her mind. She and her customer weren’t talking. She had her head down, looking at the cash drawer. I could see her hands moving as she counted out the takings.
She looked up. She had a small elfin face, framed by closed cropped straight brown hair. Her eyes were pure fear. Then she averted them. She stepped back. I heard a windchime sound.
The man in the suit was startled. He said something to her that I couldn’t hear. One of his hands was more clenched than the other. I could see he had a knife.
I went back and got my spear gun.