“Yur, Brine, what’cha doing?”
“Well, stop it.” It is getting me down, his snuffling breathing. He has a permanently bunged-up nose, so he always keeps his mouth open and sounds like a sick horse and it riles me and irks me and I want to hit him.
He is into Aztec Sacrifice on his phone, wheeze, wheeze, wheeze, while his thumbs flick about like they are on Strictly, which I don’t watch except I have to because I’m not allowed to change channel when it’s on.
Thing is, here we are in the bandstand in the park, and it’s pouring down and he’s just sitting there, thumbs flicker, flicker, flicker, wheeze, wheeze, and I AM BORED. What’s the point of hanging about with your mate if he’s off in some other world fighting Aztec warriors and saving princesses or something?
“Brine,” I scream at him, “let’s go and have some chips.”
“Yerwhat?” he flicks his eyes up at me, but they look a million miles away.
“Chips. Down the chippy.”
“Yeah,” he says and he’s back playing.
I snatch his phone and dash off in the rain. That gets his attention. I can hear his feet flapping down the street after me, like some penguin with asthma.
In the chippy I buy a pickled egg, dripping with vinegar, and I plug his gaping wheezing mouth with it and I sit on him until he goes purple and chokes to death.
Except we actually buy a bag of chips and go and kick our heels in the bus shelter. Wheeze, chew, wheeze.
And I give him his phone back.