The finale of this somewhat epic complaint to poor old Marmite. It’s probably best to head back and read the previous two posts, or this is going to make even less sense.
Two uncomfortable minutes of standing quietly later we emerged from the office and headed down the corridor. I followed Philomena through a side door that led directly into the main warehouse. Racks upon racks of perishable items ran down the cavernous space, more food and general household goods then a family could get through in a life time. A couple of Lovers were patrolling the area, keeping an eye out for infiltrators. They nodded to Philomena respectfully, whereas I received wary looks.
“Come on, we’ve got to get our kit.” Said Philomena, ignoring them.
“Yep. Ah-ha, here we go.”
The rigorous mind-set applied to the rest of the warehouse was missing from the shelving unit in front of us. A hodge-podge of foodstuffs and essentials had been unceremoniously dumped onto them, packages and boxes had split open. Philomena rifled through the items, pushing unwanted stuff to the side.
“Clearance stuff. The staff.” She gestured lazily over her shoulder to the two departing patrolmen. “won’t let us use any of the proper gear, so we’re stuck using this rubbish.”
“What? Don’t they realise our lives are on the line?” I asked, before realising how stupid that question sounded.
“Hey, you want to mess with the conglomerates, be my guest.” Said Philomena, grabbing a couple of items off the shelves and dropping them into her pockets. “Well, that’s the best of what they’ve got. It’s time we pushed off, the Lover’s are waiting on us.”
I sighed heavily. “Fine, let’s get this over with.” We trooped our way to the other end of the warehouse and through to another door. Just as I was about to push it open Philomena grabbed my shoulder and spun me, my back smacking against the wall. I looked at her, surprised.
“Before we, you know, go out there. I need to tell you something.” She was very close, breathless. The sweet, pungent smell of Marmite wafted from her delicate mouth, tickling my senses.
The butterflies were back. “W-what?”
“You’re an idiot and I’m only doing this because my father told me to.” She released her grip from my shoulder. “Still, try not to get yourself grievously bruised.”
Ignoring my surprised and hurt expression she strode past me, pushing the door open. Now only one corridor separated us from the Haters just outside.
“Through this door is the bread section, where it all started.” She whispered. “It’s the route some of the innocents took to escape the original fight. As such the Haters have been patrolling it heavily. It’s the best place to make you known to them.”
“So, what’s the plan when we get out there?” I asked, trying to keep the terror from my voice. In the gloom I could see her teeth shine as she smiled savagely.
“Adapt and survive.”
I stepped up to the door, bouncing lightly on my heels and flapping my arms.
“What are you doing?”
“Stretching.” I hissed as I cricked my neck. “I’m not going out there unprepared.”
“Whaaaaaaiiiiiieeeeee!” I cried as Philomena pushed me out of the door. I tumbled onto the scuffed faux-marble, a loud screeching sound marking my face’s passage across the floor.
I scrambled up onto my feet, frantically looking around me. Nobody was there, not even Philomena.
“Oh, goody.” I said, brushing crumbs off my clothing. Cautiously I crept down the aisle, stepping over piles of ciabattas and croissants. Leaning down I picked up a beefy baguette, feeling calmer from the weight of my weaponry. Holding it with both hands and to my side like an edible samurai sword I made my way deeper into the supermarket, constantly glancing around me for signs of life. Although for the first time that day I appeared to of stuck gold. With a sigh of relief I reached the end of the bread section.
I turned the corner and came face-to-face with two very surprised men. My knees attempted to buckle as my combat training resurfaced, but somehow I managed to overcome my inbuilt cowardice and stayed standing, if a bit wobbly. Both men were still staring at me, distracted by my jerking and bucking legs. My inherent (if thoroughly underused) ability to lie at the drop of a hat kicked in.
“Er, hello. I’m not the guy you’re looking for.” I said, surreptitiously trying to wipe the blob of Marmite off my forehead.
“Okay.” Said one of them, looking blankly at me. Eventually the cogs kicked in and he frowned. “’Ere, what are you doing out here in the Hinterlands?”
“Ohhh, I was a bit bored at base camp and thought I’d go for a walk. You know, see the sites an’ all.” I said, casually trying to walk backwards and around the corner from whence I came. “Anyway, must dash. Todaloo.”
“Bye!” Called out the guard cheerily, I’m pretty sure I glimpsed him waving excitedly as the shelf hid me from view. A few seconds later I heard a SMACK, which sounded a lot like a stupid man getting slapped round the head.
“Idiot, that’s him, the Hellion. Go get reinforcements, now. OI, YOU.”
It seemed dashing was the correct description, as I wasted no time in getting the hell out of there.
The more mentally agile of the two men turned out to also be pretty quick on his feet. I could hear him thundering behind me, closing the gap with every step. Shutting my eyes and swinging my bready baton around I screamed “EAT THIS.” I felt the baguette connect rather aptly with his mouth. I had caught the guard by surprise and he flew sideways into a pile of pre-sliced. With a whoop I chucked my broken baguette at him and sprinted out of the aisle and into the tea and coffee section.
I could hear the guard untangling himself from the duck’s dinner and, let’s say, panicked a bit. With the quietest ‘whoop’ I could muster I dived through a gap in the coffee packets and slid into the darkest recesses of the shelving unit. I held my breath.
From my limited view behind the Columbian Dark Roast I could see a pair of legs surge past my hiding place. I was about to let out a sigh of relief when it seems we both noticed the same thing. The aforementioned South American Arabica bag had split, probably due to my wild belly flop into the shelving.
I could feel my face getting redder and redder as he approached. A pair of smart casual brogues stopped directly in front my eyes and I could see his trouser fabric begin to shift as he crouched down. My hand slowly crept towards a bag of grounded Nicaraguan, ready to use it as a rubbish knuckleduster. His face was inches from discovering me when I heard a familiar voice.
“What are you doing? The Hellion went that way.”
“Who are you?”
“I heard you calling for reinforcements, it just so happens I got here first.”
“Oh right. Which way did the Hellion go?”
“I heard the idiot ‘whooping’ over there. Go go go, before he gets away.”
The brogues vanished from view as the guard sprinted off, a pair of scuffed Converse replacing them. A pretty face and even more alluring eyebrow appeared, blocking out the light, although for some reason I saw all of this behind fading, cloudy vision.
“You’re an idiot.” She frowned. “Ere’, why are you turning blue?”
Clawing my way through the opening on the shelf I looked down the aisle to see the guard sprint around the corner. I gasped loudly and sucked down what felt like all the available air in the supermarket.
I could hear Philomena tutting as she pulled me onto my feet, I’m pretty sure I heard a ‘moron’ tucked into her habitual sighs.
“You know you’re lucky the guards found you when they did.”
“Because you were about to walk into the fusilliers base of operations. Honestly, didn’t you even look at the map I drew?”
“I’m sorry I forgot, after all I was abandoned out here and I got a tad panicky.”
“Oh pish, I was just watching from the side-lines. After all, it wouldn’t help for you to get caught right away. Come on, we need to keep moving.”
I followed her back up the aisle and away from the fusilliers and into what was now apparently called ‘The Hinterlands’.
“Why are we going this way? If I’m supposed to be a distraction than shouldn’t we go the other way? Actually you know what, forget what I just said, this is a much better direction.”
“We’re going to grab more supplies, there aren’t any staff in these areas so we can get away with doing a bit of practical looting. Like him.”
I looked to where Philomena was pointing. A man I recognised from my day job was trying to surreptitiously sneak down an aisle, which is difficult when both arms are loaded with cat food and cans of deodorant.
“Huh, I wonder how he’s going to get out of the supermarket.” I pondered aloud.
“Meh, maybe the audience won’t think too hard about the minutiae of this story. Come on, we’re nearly there.”
“Here.” Said Philomena, stopping. I watched as she grabbed handfuls of eggs off the shelves, pocketing various types and sizes. “These may come in handy.” She shrugged. Suddenly I was struck by an idea.
“Hey, where’s the sweetie section?”
“It’s across from that main platoon of Haters, they’ve blocked the through way so if we come via the tills we can probably get there unseen, it won’t be easy though. Why do you ask?”
“I for once have a plan. Come on, lead the way.”
Slowly and carefully we made our way through the Hinterlands, creeping down aisles suspiciously low on stock, it appeared my work colleague hadn’t been the only one to take advantage of this scenario.
A couple of times we nearly bumped into Hater patrols, but Philomena, had memorised their routes and so we got through without any hair-raising exciting incidents.
After ten minutes or thereabouts we had made it to the checkout. Cautiously we crept on all fours, as close to the tills as we dared, hoping the cover would prevent the Haters from spotting us. It worked a treat and we snuck into the sweetie aisle. Philomena kept watch by the entrance, eggs grasped tightly in sweaty palms as she glanced to and fro.
“Hurry up. The guards will be here any minute.” She hissed loudly at me as I searched the shelves, chucking bags and packages aside.
“Whoop.” I announced as I found the lime green packets I was after. I heard Philomena sigh just as a voice from the other side of the shelf let out a surprised “Wuh?”
“Damn.” Philomena cried as the snazzy shoe sporting guard from earlier sprinted around the corner. He nearly ran into her, but paused just in time. His mouth opened, probably to ask why exactly she was helping the ‘Hellion’ when Philomena took the opportunity.
“SUCK IT!” She screamed and shoved a duck egg into his gaping gob. “RUN!” She cried as she bopped the guard on the nose. I sprinted up the aisle, packets tumbling out of my hands. Clumsily I clambered over the barricade, made from shoddily stacked bundles of loo roll and hopped down the other side.
“Oh, hello, I’m not who you’re looking for.” I said to the platoon of fusilliers staring at me.
Sadly such excuses have a limited run, and this one had already reached its nadir.
Thirty troops, sporting colanders upon their bonces and a frankly terrifying amount of pasta based firepower all turned to look at me. Their leader, a tall lanky fellow, his chest decorated with innumerable chocolate coins and cheese graters grinned savagely at me, a devilish look in his eyes.
“Nice try, Hellion, we know who you are.”
“Are you sure? I might be someone else.”
“Men, prepare the cannon-elloni. Any last words, Hellion?”
“Yeah, stop with the pasta puns, they’re rubbish.”
The general just laughed before stepping to the side, his commanding arm held high in the air. Behind him I could see the rest of the fusilliers preparing to fire. Somehow they had managed to jury-rig elastic bands and Jaffa cake pots into spaghetti shrapnel shotguns. The bags of sweets were all but forgotten now as they scattered across the floor and I closed my eyes, all masculinly. I heard the elastic bands groan as they were pulled taut into firing position, and I found myself wondering if death by an unfortunate accident involving an elastic band and a Jaffa cake was another Robert Rankin reference I had nicked.
I stood there for a long time, my eyes scrunched tight enough to make me see red. Still, nothing happened. Cautiously I opened an eye to see what the delay was. The general, his arm still proudly erect, saw me peek and chuckled.
“Boo. Still here. We were just waiting for you to open wide.”
I screamed, manly of course, as the arm came swooping down in slow motion. Something flew past my head, but from the wrong direction. The general ducked, his arms flying up to protect himself, which for some stupid reason stopped the soldiers from firing. The object smashed into a shelf near the General. He turned round to look at the smashed glass, brown liquid dripped steadily onto the floor. He laughed a deep belly laugh and turned back towards me.
“Is that the best you have?” He said, over my head.
I turned in surprise to see Philomena. She was elegantly perched on top of the bogroll barricade, a smile as vicious as the General’s lighting her face.
“That’s a shame. Well, my turn.”
The General brought his arm back up to start the firing command again when a loud fizzing noise steadily built behind him.
“Oh f-“ Was all he managed to get out as a massive explosion rocked the aisle. Fusillier’s hurtled through the air, crashing into shelves or each other as a beige mushroom cloud erupted down the corridor, wiping out the pasta regiment.
Now I’ve had enough experience to learn that anything that fizzes before climbing in volume is always a bad thing. As Philomena hopped off the barricade I clumsily leapt sideways. As one we toppled to the floor, Hollywood style, the explosion shooting past us, grazing our feet on it’s passage down the aisle. The great white fizzy cloud decimated everything, including the barricade.
I sat up groggily and wiggled a finger in my ear to try and unblock it.
“WHAT WAS THAT?” I shouted at Philomena. She sat up and looked at me confused, the blast had obviously knocked out her hearing as well. She raised a querulous eyebrow and I pointed towards the devastation gently fizzing next to us. Clumsily she pulled a bottle out of her pocket and rolled it to me.
It was an innocent, insignificant bottle of vinegar. I looked at her, nonplussed. She pointed to the sign above the aisle. It said ‘WORLD FOOD’ and just below it, ‘BAKERY’.
It took a while before I could the laughing under control again. Eventually Philomena got fed up waiting and dragged me upwards. As I struggled up I spied one of the sweetie packets I had liberated, covered in white fizzy foam. I grabbed it on my way up, wiping the goo on my trousers. Sadly all the other packets had been wiped out, along with most of the aisle.
I tucked the sweets into a back pocket and followed after Philomena. My hearing must have begun to return as I could hear her chuckling to herself.
“Everything okay?” I asked, a little concerned that the blast had jangled her head.
“Very. Taking the fusilliers out has helped us in two ways.” She raised a delicate yet firm finger. “One, it should aid with the evacuation not having those guys in the way. “
“Oh yeah, I forgot that’s why we’re wandering around out here. So what’s the next point?”
She raised her second finger at me, and not in a particularly charitable way. “Two, that blast was likely loud enough to get the platoon away from the exit, and of course to where we currently are.”
“You and I have very different opinions on what makes something good.”
“Oh I think I can hear them now. Well, see you later, I’m off to help my dad.” She turned from me and aimed her voice down the supermarket.
“I’ve found the Hellion, he’s over here.”
And without another word, she shoved me over and sprinted off down the aisle. A ‘whoop’ escaped her lips as she disappeared from view.
“Oh dear.” I said, from the floor. As I rapidly climbed back up I heard the stomping of feet mingled with the dragging of knuckles. Very, very, gingerly I turned towards the noise and saw a quite frankly brown trouser number of Haters swarming into view.
“Oh hello, I’m no-“
“Don’t even try that one again.” Said the brown brogue bedecked bully, his bruised face crusted with dried egg. The pack of Haters behind him growled, crooked blackened teeth snarling as their beady little eyes dully glimmered from recessed sockets.
I really do live in a backwards town.
Yet again I fought my body’s natural inclination to crumple to the floor and forced myself to stay upright.
As one the cro-magnon cousins slowly edged towards me; mops and rolled up newspapers hanging loosely from hairy hands. Snarls and uggs emitted from the throng as they scented easy prey.
“We’ve been looking for you Hellion. Our boss wants a word. You may of met her; woman, straw hat, indescribable facial features, a tad riotous.”
“We might’ve met briefly.” I said, trying my sneaky backwards walking trick again. I fidgeted with myself, in a manner of speaking, and my hand brushed against something in my back pocket. Coughing loudly and unconvincingly I gripped the package, slowly lifting it out of its recess.
“But surely she doesn’t want to see me. Does she?”
The eloquent thug paused, surprise in his eyes.
“’ere, how did you know my name was Shirl-“
With a whoop I yanked the packet of Rowntree Random’s into view of the thugs and tore the bright green plastic into shreds. A variety of garish coloured jellies scattered and bounced across the floor, splodgy noises accompanying them.
PLINK, SPLUT, BOING, SLURP, THUMP!
As well as something else. A large metal canister rolled across the floor, recoiling slightly as it bumped into my shoe.
The savages’ slowed their slovenly slouch towards me, staring in wide eyed surprise at the canister.
“What is that?” Asked the intellectual goon, leaning in to get a better look.
I picked it up, feeling the weight of the thing in my hand.
“I’m not sure. Honestly I was hoping there’d be a bear again.”
Then, there was an explosion of colour. I don’t mean one of the figurative pulses of light that come from being knocked unconscious. I mean an actual proper blast constructed from all the colours of the rainbow.
With an ear wrenching SLURP the paint bomb went off, blasting me half way across the supermarket on a river of emulsion. As I glided over the pet food aisle I watched the thugs flip through the air, smacking into shelves and displays. Prehistoric gurgles and grunts followed their pointless mid-air flailing. An entire pallet of Pantone slopped over the aisles, oceans of Dulux undulating and making a right old mess of Sainsbury’s.
I let out a celebratory whoop just before my head impacted a 46” HD flat screen.
“Oh stop groaning, moron.”
I groaned a bit more, because I’m a stubborn sort, before opening my eyes. Philomena was leaning across me, the briefest hint of concern in her face as she pressed something cold against my forehead.
Reluctantly I sat up, groaning some more for good measure. She leant away, dropping the bag of frozen peas to the floor.
“Well, the diversion worked, by which of course I mean you. We managed to get the Lover’s out of the store without any problems.”
“Oh yeah, that. Thanks for the backup by the way.”
“Hey, I did whatever was needed to do to get my people get back to work for Monday.”
“Well aren’t you a saint. How long have I been out?”
“Couple of hours. My dad wanted to drive you back to ours so you could sleep your concussion off in peace, but it seems the store manager wants to speak with you about the er, mess you made.”
“Yeah. Then after that there’s a constable Wagmin who wants to have a few words. He mentioned something about criminal damage, not to mention inciting a riot.”
“Inciting a riot?”
“I told you not to mention that.”
I flopped back to the floor, groaning with all my might.
So, that’s what happened. Putting aside the enormous fines I’ve accrued and the community hours, well weeks, I have yet to endure repainting Sainsbury’s I’m still not very happy with you guys.
If it wasn’t for your companies yes or no stance on Marmite, this could of all been avoided. You’ve only got yourself to blame for the length of this complaint y’know.