Juice Protest


But protests, he loved protests.

Only yesterday: the two all beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onion – all served in a sesame seed bun had been served up with a particularly small portion of French fries. It took just 117 seconds for him to eat most of them before returning to the cash till in order to lodge his disapproval.

“They were cold,†he barked at the part-time student, who cared as much for his dilemma as she did for football. Far too many people don’t like football. She stared at him with the dead eyes of someone who doesn’t get paid enough to care. Not only that, thought Ashia, but he hasn’t even finished his sentence. I don’t have a clue is this is a statement or a question – let alone knowing what he wants me to do about it.

That didn’t concern Bob now; yesterday’s problem had been solved by the (yet-to-begin-shaving) manager with a free portion of fries. What concerned him was that his juice was expensive. The thing is, Bob reasoned, is that if he had the recipe, the flavourings, the bottles and anything approaching the motivation to do it, he could make the same thing for a fraction of the price. “The thing is,†he explained in Primark as his wife looked at her seventh skirt, “just because these makers spend months developing a unique flavour they reckon they can charge me a fortune.â€

“Just because they invest tens of thousands of pounds in premises, insurance, equipment, stock, packaging and delivery they think I should have to pay for it – it’s not right,†he continued to the empty space that used to contain a wife and an armful of garments.

Jane and Bob shared many things but listening to each other wasn’t one of them. They coexisted in a special plane, each aware of the presence of the other – but they’d taught themselves a long time ago that the secret to a successful marriage was to pay absolutely no attention to what the other was saying, thinking or doing.

And as Bob continued talking to the curtain in front of the changing cubicle he decided enough was enough. These vape companies deserved everything coming to them and, mindful of the supporters’ protest on television foremost in his mind, he knew just what to do.

Jane didn’t even know he had gone. She’d paid for two tops, had a coffee in Costa and was currently looking at a range of bath products you ought to be able to eat. Bob wasn’t there. Bob had seen the big walkout by Liverpool fans. Bob was inspired.

Jamie touched his left ear, fidgeting with the black plastic stretching his ear lobe. Jamie was poking the ear stretcher his Mum liked to call stupid. She used other words to describe it but most of them are not printable here. Jamie had taught himself a long time ago that the secret to a successful home life was to pay absolutely no attention to what his Mum was said, thought or did. He’d worked in the vape shop for all of three weeks and he didn’t get paid enough to care about Bob’s protest.

  • Step one: The fans had bought their tickets – so Bob bought a bottle of his favourite juice.
  • Step two: The fans had walked out of the stadium in protest – so Bob left the shop.
  • Step three: The club had capitulated after the demonstration was shown on television – Bob went home to wait for the phone call.

But Bob couldn’t check the television coverage of his protest because Jane was watching a sweary chef. Bob is still waiting for the juice manufacturer to call.