Imaginary shopping trip ends with indigestion

Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins
Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins

Given that I’m off on holiday this week, I’m going to indulge in a spot of creative writing.

I would be perfectly within my rights to tell the boss to write his own column this week but I fear the world isn’t ready for a Star Trek-infused airsoft adventure.

And so, I’m writing this week’s column prior to my time off, in anticipation of a few days away from the grindstone.

While I’m off, as well as spending a few days by the seaside in Castlerock, I intend to do something alien to me - clothes shopping. The intention is to buy myself a new outfit, though it will probably end up with three pairs of novelty socks being the sum of my purchases.

Rather than wait until this shopping excursion actually happens, I’m going to write about how I imagine the clothes-buying exercise will pan out...

I feel completely out of place as I drink in my surrounds, a clothes shop so fancy that even the T-shirts are on hangers.

The thing I like about living in austere times is that fancy clothes shops like the one I’m in now can no longer afford to be choosy about their clientele.

I have picked a number of items from their sparsely stocked displays and beckoned for one of the young clothes curators to unlock a changing room so I can try them on for size. He obliges.

The first item I am going to try on is a rather fetching purple polo shirt. I remove my once brown, now beige shirt of the polo variety and pull its considerably smarter cousin over my head without undoing any of the buttons.

My head strains against the cotton neck. It gives way after mild exertion and I pop through. I admire myself in the full-length, smear-free mirror. Looking goo... oh crumbs!

The top button is missing.

I see it on the floor at my feet. I take off the shirt and look at the price tag. It is not a price I am willing to pay. Especially not for damaged goods. I stoop to retrieve the button which I put in my pocket. I gauge the situation.

When I leave the changing room I am going to be asked if any of the clothes were to my liking. When I answer in the negative the teenager who ushered me into the changing room with a minimum of fuss will take the items of clothing off me, count them to make sure I have not pilfered anything, then, if he is worth his lofty position, he will notice that the costly purple polo shirt has been injured by yours truly.

I will be two, or at most six, paces outside the store when he makes this realisation. He will come chasing after me and there will almost definitely be a scene. I am certain to be asked to turn out my pockets.

For this reason I decide to swallow the button. Without evidence there can be no case brought against me. I place the button on my tongue and gather enough saliva to aid its journey downwards. It takes two gulps before it is gone.

I dress and gather myself, leave the changing room and present the pile of goods to my friend, telling him that, unfortunately, I am not overly taken with any of the clothing. I add that one of the polo shirts is missing a button. He apologises and comments that it must have been like that on the shelf. He does not check the changing room floor, nor does he ask me to turn out my pockets or open my mouth. Remarkable.

Leaving the shop, indigestion sets in and I ponder how best to expedite the button’s passing.