The disinterested voice over the tannoy said, “Special offer today only, women’s wear, practical pants, three for the price of four.” Or something like that. I walked past the perfume girl. Blood trickled from her left made-up eye. Or something like that. The consummation of products bustled around me, the departments grasped for eyes to catch, for money to snatch, on this Friday, black and disgruntled at the words, “No, thanks.”
I could feel the slime round my toes as the sales person approached. His slippery smile engulfed extra white teeth that usually dazzled his victims into buying the silk scarf, handmade in India by babies strapped to rotten wooden high chairs.
“Hello madam,” he grinned. “Would you be interested in this superior quality neck adornment?”
I must have looked puzzled at his fancy description. His need to qualify burst from within.
“A new scarf? It’s ten percent off for Black Friday.”
“Not really,” I manage, without any hint of piss-the-fuck-off in my voice.
“How about a pair of real leather gloves, ripped from the backs of ostriches in the most deserted parts of Karoo?”
I’m sure that’s what he said.
“No.” I say.
I turn to leave. I could feel his frustration bubble at my back. Unable to fulfil his inner desire that enabled the lifestyle to which he’d become accustomed thanks to the exploitation of those in need, at all ends of all spectrums. Why should he get away with it? Surely it was his turn to relinquish something of himself on this day of darkness.
“Excuse me,” I venture to the vulture like human.
“Yesss,” he sneered.
“Would you be interested in a deal?”
“What sort of deal, madam?”
“I’ll buy your scarf and your gloves but I require one more thing from you to seal the arrangement.”
“And that is, madam?”
“Your soul. Presented on a silk cushion, with tassels and a large chocolate brandy.”
“My soul, madam?”
“Yes.” I stood defiant against his flaring nostrils, preened and trimmed, dark and endless. “That’s my final offer,” I said.
“Oh,” said the sales man, now looking more awkward than shocked. “I’m afraid, madam, that is just impossible.” He bared too many teeth at me, white and unnatural, and said, “I am in sales, my dear. I already have no soul.”