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If he tells me how to do that yet again
I might just **** him

If he talks to me like I’m a child again
I might just **** him

If he mentions that famous friend on more time
I think I’ll **** him

If he pretends to listen then walks away again
I’ll have to **** him

If he makes my daily life a constant hell
Can I **** him?

If it saved the sanity of all who work around him
Should I **** him?

Is he really so important that he’s worth the effort?
The effort of killing him

Should I starve him of the attention that he craves?
That would **** him

Should I be the better person and rise above the torment?
Would that **** me?

It’s ten forty-five, he’s still alive
The bus picks her up yet again
Wears a permanent smile and yet all the while
Behind it is years’ worth of pain

In her face once was beauty, there now seems just duty
But really she does it for love
They were always a pair and she’s still always there
Just awaiting the call from above

She goes faithfully, bathing him, giving tea
Reminding him he’s still her man
She hides all her fears despite twenty hard years
Doesn’t think of before it began

Rain or shine she goes to him; his bright light is now dim
She is steadfast, devoted and true
Each day gets the bus with no hint of a fuss
Well, she loves him; it’s what she must do

It’s been more than a day, since she passed our way
An unheard of change in routine
There must be something wrong for an absence so long
But deep down we know what it must mean

It’s ten forty-five, he’s no longer alive
Her grief weighs her down like a stone
He’s always been there, now there’s only despair
And the knowledge that she’s all alone

It’s ten forty-five, she seems barely alive
The bus stops and takes her away
Still devoted and true, what else can she do
As she visits his grave every day
Teaspoons *****
Cups rattle
Water gushes
Cans pop
Steam shrieks
Laughter tinkles
Voices rise
Over the top
Fridges buzz
Bacon sizzles
Coffee drips
As gossip spreads
Tea brews
Cakes devoured
Oranges juiced
Knives shred
Papers rustle
Scones rise
Eyebrows lift
Voices fall
Toast crisps
Eggs bubble
Soup warms
One and all

The surface noise
Always concerned
With etiquette
And propriety
But underneath
Can be found
The sounds of
Café society
Can she have another coffee please?
And fill it to the top
She doesn’t have much milk you see
Yes, up to there, now stop

Can he have that breakfast there?
But change the egg for beans
And swap the bacon for tomato
Are you getting what he means?

He’ll have a sandwich, hold the butter
He’s not allowed much fat
But then he asks for chips
And mayonnaise to go with that

All six of them want carrot cake
But don’t all want to pay
Can I cut a piece in half for them?
If not then they won’t stay

Can she have a salad?
No wait a Cornish pasty
No, hang on, now she wants a cake
And still I don’t get nasty

If it’s not there on the menu
Why do they always ask?
It’s as if just being awkward
Is for them a daily task

I could easily say no each time
Not go that extra mile
But that not how it works here
It’s always service with a smile

The customer is always right
Even when they’re wrong
We keep our smile in place because
They’re never here for long

And so we keep the rictus grin
The smile will never slip
Because without service with a smile
We’d never get a tip.
An endless stream of grey
Meandering like smoke past my door
Swallowed by the gaping maw
Constantly this ravenous creature demands more bodies to devour
As un-protesting they all go to their doom

Is that a sign of struggle?
A momentary fluttering of rebellion in their eyes
The futility of their journey
Rebellion quashed, the creature roars
Stuffed with life, it staggers on its way to gardens unknown
And in its wake
An endless stream of grey
It’s nearly Christmas in the café; I just got my first card
So please Saint Nic just tell me why, enthusiasm’s hard?
I should be full of Christmas cheer, jingle bells all ringing
Baubles bouncing, tinsel shining, wondering what Santa’s bringing
I’ve not put up my Christmas tree, not hung my decorations
There’s not a single fairly light to hint at celebrations

The talk inside the café is evenly divided
Some can’t wait for Christmas while others have decided
That Christmas cheer has passed them by, can’t wait till it’s all done
They wonder why we bother when the cheer is so hard won
Worrying about the presents, have you got the bird?
Putting up the Christmas tree, the pressure is absurd

Whichever camp that we are in, humbug or Christmas cheer
We know just what will happen, because it happens every year
On Christmas Eve you’ll find us, running round just like a ******
Because you can’t have Christmas pudding without ****** brandy butter
The turkey won’t fit in the oven because it’s so **** big
And Grandad will be drunk by three and snoring like a pig

The kids will all be running round high on Quality Street
And you’ll be close to screaming as they get under your feet
At half past five it starts again with sandwiches and tea
With endless arguments over what’s on the TV
And all you wanted was to watch the new Wallace and Grommit
But you can’t because the quality street have reappeared as *****

When finally you get some peace and the kids are all in bed
You settle down on the sofa to watch Emmerdale instead
You remember that tomorrow, Uncle Jim and Auntie Brend
And all their various filthy offspring are due to descend
You haven’t got the joint out yet, the veg are all unpeeled
And if you're honest last year’s mental scars have not yet healed

So valiantly on you tread, even though inside you feel
You’ll end up in an asylum if another sprout you peel
What is it that keeps you going through this annual affair?
What makes you peel eighty more sprouts, what makes you want to care?
What makes you put up with more stress at this time of year?
What stops you killing Jim and Brend and drugging Grandad’s beer?

No Saint Nic I’m not sure either. Isn’t that quite weird?
It cannot be because of Jesus, the cool bloke with the beard.
I don’t think he would worry about the sprouts so much
Or think that turkey’s so important; perhaps we’re out of touch
Perhaps Christmas makes us crazy in a very special way
Just to make us more grateful for every other normal day

So whilst I’m not entirely sure that Christmas is a boon
I’m fairly sure I’ll be infused with Christmas spirit soon
I’ll hang up all my tinsel, get my ***** coordinated
By the time I have my tree up humbug will be eliminated
It’s a little bit like childbirth, this irrational Christmas fear
But that’s ok because once it’s gone I’ll forget it till next year.
I have a little secret
It’s about the place I work
I’m supposed to be a teacher
But a school’s not where I lurk
I spend my weekdays cooking
Serving people tea
I’m not a chef though, in a classroom’s
Where I’m meant to be.

I think if I fry one more egg
Fill one more sugar ***
Spend one more minute worrying
If the ****** teapot’s hot
I might just lose the will to serve
At least the will to fry
I’m so tired of the ‘thanks so much’
The ‘have a good day’ lie

But please do not misunderstand
I’m not ungrateful for my job
It’s just not what I trained for
Being ******* to a hob
I expected to be in a class
Full of eager faces
Whose imaginations I could take
To so many different places

Instead I’m filling stomachs
Watching people eat and drink
I cook and serve, a faceless drone
So they don’t have to think
I know it’s not forever
This job I’ve grown to hate
One day I’ll take this apron off
Leave the café to its fate

The café will survive I’m sure
In fact I have no doubt
That’s why I don’t feel guilty
That I can’t wait to get out
The café will go on and on
Still serving up its tea
But next time that I see the place
What stranger will serve me?

Will I feel that they are in my place?
That their eggs are not quite right
That their service could be quicker
Their smile a bit more bright
Will I feel that I should tell them
How I once stood in their shoes?
How I thought if I fried one more egg
My sanity I’d lose

I think I’ll save those comments
Until she brings my tea
I won’t want to discourage her
While she’s still serving me
Besides she may enjoy her job
Who am I to wreck it?
Just because I missed the world
Of Austen, Keats and Beckett

She knows just where her future lays
I thought I knew the same
So why do I still keep a secret
Like it’s a source of shame?
I shouldn’t moan about my job
The wolf’s not at the door
It’s only bad days when I think
Just what did I train for?
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