In Reading there are four Peruvians. I mean, there may be more – come to think of it, there are almost certainly more, but for the sake of argument there are four – two women, two men – none of them taller than five foot. The women walk twice as fast as the men and are always doubling back on themselves to chastise their male counterparts who subsequently never speed up. Hand on heart I couldn’t swear they’re Peruvian. I went to Peru once and can attest that they dress like Peruvians – all multi-coloured woolen clothes and lace bonnets / bobble hats respectively, they speak Spanish and have reddy brown Peruvian skin, but I couldn’t say for certain. Could be Bolivian or Venezuelan…
Anyway, I see them everywhere. It’s like dead people – The Six Sense (or El Seis Senso). They come careering past me in the park on the way to work (at least the women do – the man are waaay back), they pass me again on the way home, I see them at the weekend in town, crossing duel carriageways, weaving through traffic, late at night shuffling under lampposts, everywhere. I believe the word is ‘ubiquitous’ (or possibly ‘omnipresent’).
I’m not being racist. It’s not like I can’t tell Peruvians apart. It’s definitely the same four people.
This last weekend I had friends over and needed to stock up on supplies. I went into town where I encountered my Peruvians friends on no fewer than six separate occasions. As I had seen them twice the day before I deduced that something suspicious was afoot and decided in the heat of the moment to follow them around and unearth their nefarious endeavours.
I recognised from the outset the lunacy of my actions, but this was quickly overridden by the boundless self-confidence that imbeciles have in abundance. I only planned on a five-minute detour, but quickly ascertained that they had no destination – they just moved around in circles looking at stuff – up the high street, round the back, over to the band stand, back up the high street, back round the back, back to the bandstand. I started thinking of computer programs and The Truman Show. Then I thought about solipsism and reasoned that it (and everything else in the universe) was merely a figment of my imagination – itself residing in a jar someplace. As they started their third lap I broke off the pursuit and went to a supermarket.
They were waiting for me at the exit.
I went to a cafe
On the way home I looked over my shoulder and saw that they were following me. I’d obviously been rumbled. At the final corner I quickened the pace and made a dash for the car. As I pulled away there they were – the women (the men were waaay back) in the rear view mirror, memorising my number-plate (probably), with a view to…
Anyway, should anything happen to me…