I’ve seen her in the street several times. She’s about fifty. She usually holds a can in her hand. Beer. Cider. She shouts in the street sometimes. At dogs. At people. At life, it would seem. She lives in the halfway house. I don’t know her name, but I call her the Corner Shopper. She’s often in the Off-licence next door to my apartment.
I’m in the shop, when she comes in and yells.
"I need eggs!"
One of the servers makes his way to the end of the counter.
"I need eggs! Maybe 12! Maybe 24!"
Her voice is huge in the day. Operatic. Over-medicated. Her hands shake. She holds a purse like jelly. The server nods quickly. Makes his way over to the shelves.
"I need a big box. 24 eggs!"
She looks at me. Then beyond me. Zapping out my skin. Glaring at the sun in Clarence Road. Her eyes loll. Spittle forms on her lips. Children spill into the shop for ice poles. Cans of coke. A couple of guys roll over to the fridges and grab four cans of Polish larger. The server returns with a large box of cellophane-wrapped eggs. The Corner Shopper takes them precariously.
She starts to walk out.
"You didn’t pay," says the Server. "Mary. You didn’t pay…"
The Corner Shopper turns back.
"I’ll pay you tomorrow. I’ll come back in."
She starts to laugh. The server shakes his head and walks over to her. He points to her wallet. The Corner Shopper hands it over to him. The server opens it tentatively. There’s nothing inside. A few pennies. No notes. Some grubby receipts. The server looks at her. She looks back at the server. Then she shrugs and nods quickly. The eggs wobble profusely/.
"I’ll pay you tomorrow!" she yells.
"No Mary," the server shakes his head.
"I’ll make you an omelette!"