Bob & Phyllis by Liz Breen

There was so little to smile about, that’s what Joanne’s neighbour had said. It’s so miserable now, she went on. Joanne only wanted to know if she wanted anything from the supermarket as she was going to get some bits. Ooh, go on then, Iris said, fetch me some of those minty biscuits with the foil wrapper. 

The queue snaked around the carpark. More deadpan faces and tired limbs shimmied alone remaining the requisite two metres apart, face masks, like botox, no expression available. Joanne moved along as she was supposed to, as the queue edged ever nearer the entrance. 

Boredom took hold. 

There was that game Joanne played years ago as a teenager with her siblings in the car. Her brother had just passed his test. They called it the Bob and Phyllis game, she remembered. You have to get your fun where you can these days, she decided. 

The object of the game was to be in a queue, as in the car, all those years ago, and leave a gap between your car and the car in front to irritate the driver behind. Bob and Phyllis were named as the generic couple looking infuriated, in the rear view mirror. 

Joanne watched everyone take a few steps forward but she held her nerve, smiling to herself. The rebellion, the minor victory against the establishment, was making her giggle. She stayed put as everyone inched forward again. She looked behind to see a face, annoyed, not seeing the humour. 

“Can you move?” 

Joanne smiled as the shopper returned to their space in the queue behind her. She counted to thirty in her head and slowly moved along, shortening the gap that had opened up. God bless, Bob and Phyllis, whoever they are.

Published in Issue #7

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