Mr. Murphy and The World

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Nobody tells you that life is not like in the movies, they let you figure it out by yourself. No big events, no spectacular happenings. It was smooth sailing through the murky waters of existence for Mr. Murphy. He was staring through the glass walls of the store, looking at the passers by on Moore street. He liked looking at them, so colorful and so different, this was one of the little things he liked about his job, he could look at people and nobody thought it was strange. They did not pay too much attention to the old and fat security guard watching them from the cheap store.

He was not even sure if the customers coming into the store saw him, except of course from the ones that were trying to hide from him. His days melted into each other without trace. If you were to ask him what he did two days ago, he could not remember anything in particular. I woke up, had coffee, showered came to work, stood on my feet all day, went home, watched some TV and slept. This was his life, and he was grateful for it, especially when he saw through the big glass windows people sleeping on the street or being chased by the Gardai. That kind of excitement he did not need. He liked the routine, but sometimes, some days he felt an emptiness inside, a lack of purpose, and could not but wonder if all he was meant to do was survive. He did not make a difference to anyone, and no one made a difference to him. He wondered, that maybe, this was his midlife crisis, but then he banned the thought, as he could not afford a midlife crisis, he had to go on, no matter what. There was this ad on TV, with the Irish guy that buys an island, the Loto ad. He did not need an island, but it would be so amazing that even, for once in his life, to have enough money, so when he goes into a store, he does not think twice about buying that or that, in case it might affect his budget for rent and bills. He would like just to go into a store and buy what he wanted, care free. That must be an amazing feeling, he thought, as he was changing his weight from one side to the other. As he was about to go back to his thoughts, he saw them. The fifty shades of gray gang. He named them like that because of their eternal grey sweat pants, in different shades of gray, in different degrees of cleanliness. They were 5 or 6 young men, loud and in your face, that disrupted the life of the street whenever they came around. He had seen them many times, he did not like them because they created a tension, a state of unease whenever they came around. Happily they did not much care for the cheap store, it was beneath them, no brands to speak of here, but sometimes they did come in, when they wanted something to drink or eat. Mr. Murphy looked around to see if there were any Gardai on the street, nope, none. Ok, I’ve got this, he thought to himself, and went next to the entrance taking his security guard pose, puffing his chest as much as he could. Maybe they will not come in, he hoped they would not, but he had to be ready. He watched them with the corner of his eye, while pretending he was just scanning the street. They stopped talking loudly and seemingly conferring so as to what their next move will be. One of them made signs that he was hungry. Not good, Mr. Murphy thought, the cheap store was the only one on the street that could provide some food, fast and hassle free, for them at least. He took a deep breath, he was ready no matter what. He was right, they were coming. The young men made for the store flaunting their care free attitude. We can do anything we want, they seemed to say, and there is nothing you can do to stop us. Mr. Murphy tended to agree, but still he had to maintain a semblance of authority. He was afraid, but it was not like he could run out of the store, they had done nothing, they were just like any other customer. They came in and passed him without saying a word, without acknowledging his presence in any way. It was 6 of them, he had counted, he was only one. Mr. Murphy could see the worried eyes of the cashiers looking at him. What was he to do now? He could not follow around 6 people at the same time, he did not want to make them feel followed, as he knew that would provoke them, even if they had no bad intentions. They were very loud, they pulled stuff from the shelves and looked at it, if they did not like it they threw it on the floor. One of them saw a young girl and tried to chat her up, she left the store in a hurry looking at Mr. Murphy with what he felt was disgust. He had to do something, but what? Realistically, he did not stand a chance in front of the 6 young men, he was not a martial arts master, he was a bloke from Finglas that had been in a few fights but nothing this major, and he did not want to provoke them, they were volatile, he knew that. The customers had started to leave one by one, sheepishly, trying to save their skins. The young men were clearly disturbing the peace, so it was his duty to do something. He had a duty. With his heart in his throat he approached them.
"Fellas, come on, if you shop shop, but there is no need to behave like animals. You are scaring the other customers."
They started laughing, apparently they liked being compared to animals, and they liked the idea of being scary. Mr. Murphy had chosen the wrong things to say. He understood that. They must have mothers though.
"Lads, think about it. What if it were your mother or sister in the shop, and a bunch of men scared them, you would not want that would you?"
The young men were looking at Mr. Murphy not understanding what he was doing, why was he talking to them? Mr. Murphy decided to take advantage of the momentum. He continued his idea.
"They just went to the shop for some milk or bread, and there, some young men would frighten them. Would that be right? Do you think that wold be right? Or your granny, she could have a heart attack."
Mr. Murphy’s questions were so random, that the young men were a bit unsure of what to do next, now they were thinking about their mammys and grannys, now they were human. Right at that moment, an old lady came in the shop, not knowing what was going on, and totally oblivious at the tense conversation, she went past the group and grabbed a pint of milk. As she was passing one of them, something made her say "That is a good young man."
She went to the cashier, paid and out she went. For some reason the young men followed suit. They did not say anything, they did not buy anything, they just left, leaving Mr. Murphy in a dazed state. Nothing happened. He could not believe it. Nothing happened. A feeling of elation came over him. A cashier came over and started picking up stuff from the floor, putting them back on the shelf. Nothing happened and he had not run, and he did not hide. For a brief moment he was happy, he was proud. For a brief moment he felt like he had done something meaningful, and then the moment passed. He went back to staring outside the window at the passers by, and lost himself in his thoughts.

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