a baffle, by paul tanner

I just said “mate”.
that’s all.
it was a harmless verbal reflex.
something that almost always goes
at the end of any spoken sentence.
you know, like:
“cheers, mate,” or “no thanks, mate.”

or, in this case,
after the area manager
told me to clean the shop windows:
“will do, mate.”

next thing I know
he was jabbing me with his finger,

his nose touching mine, growling
“I am NOT your MATE, I am your SUPERIOR.”

“woah, relax,” I reassured him. “snot like I meant it.
it’s just a verbal reflex. I don’t even like you.”

but that just made him more mad.

I mused, as I fetched the sponge and bucket.
he’s welcome t

o his superiority, I mused,
like I was in any danger
of inheriting it,
as I waited for the tap to run warm.


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