I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Friday, 14 June 2013

Fat men freak out over fuel


FRANCE: ANGER

I came close to getting into a fight, yesterday. Quite thrilling.

I was queueing for fuel at Intermarché and it was 30 deg C. After filling up you join another queue and pay at a little cubby-hole. To ensure drivers are not billed for other's fill-ups your total remains on the pump display until it's paid for. Up to then your pump remains inactive.

As I stood outside the car waiting for the previous driver's total to be cleared I heard an angry bellow from behind. I turned round and saw a very fat man getting out of his car. Since I'm fat myself I'm able to say he was very fat. As he emerged it was like seeing the wall of a dam breached by a huge onrush of water. He pointed to my pump and told me it was equipped for credit-card payment. I didn't have to wait, holding him up.

Maybe, but surely the previous driver's total would need to be cleared first. In a voice as deliberately bellicose as that of the very fat man, I, the more average fat man, shouted: Il faut attendre (One must wait.). He started to move towards me and I relished this, wondering where my tyre-iron was. (Car drivers in US crime novels always use tyre irons on each other.)

Now another French voice joined in – attacking the very fat man. Why should I, a foreigner, be required to use a credit card? In fact it could well have been impossible; some supermarket filling stations only take French cards. The new shouter turned to face me and to smile. I said cash would be better and he nodded.

Humiliated and uncomfortable the very fat man oozed away and, lo, the display on my pump cleared.

8 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

It's a good job your nephew, WGR wasn't there. Perhaps the two large corpulences would have prevented heads getting close enough for the classic head-but

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh! Like Sumo smack-down with a French soundtrack ... very cool! I like the "oozed away" at the conclusion.

Joe Hyam said...

I am glad someone came to your rescue. On the other hand if he hadn't your French would have truly been put to the test. Do they teach anger in French classes? A transcript of the confrontation would be of value to students.

Roderick Robinson said...

Sir Hugh: Hence the tyre iron.

RW (zS): Sumo slap-down? Yes, but without the speed.

Joe: If the Very Fat Man (I think he rated initial caps) had had his way, there would have been very little talking.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

How exciting - High Noon at the Intermarchè pump!

Question 1:
how did the friendly Frenchman know you were a foreigner?

2. Have you learned good French insults (slang, not posh) to use in case of need? Such as: "éspèce de con" etc. And there's always the impersonal, useful "merde" when one is at a loss for iriginal repartee.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Why do I keep making typos? I meant original, not irigional of course.

Roderick Robinson said...

Natalie: Don't for goodness sake worry about typos. I'm a retired journalist and my blue pencil has also been retired. Structure is all and (though I hardly need to tell you) yours is in excellent shape.

Question 1. By the car registration plate. This fact was contained in the first draft but went the way of all un-wit when I reduced to 300 words.

Question 2. You're inviting me to become pompous and boasting. But that's an invitation I rarely resist. I don't use French slang for the same reason I wouldn't use Brit slang back in the UK: I don't find it expressive enough.

As the very fat man got back into his car I shouted out "Merci beaucoup" in an obviously sarcastic voice. It sounds weak written out but it worked for me. If he'd taken longer to re-insert himself I might well have added "et bonne nuit.", the roots of which you will be familiar with. Again I toyed with including this at the draft stage but the 300-word limit kept me honest. I realise you may find all these writerly revelations rather precious but leaving things out is, I find, the best way of writing something that satisfies me.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Bon, tout est clair maintenant.
Thank you and good night. Or rather good afternoon here on a chilly London Sunday.