“What happened to the dog?”
“Oh, the neighbour got rid of it. Had it put down, I think, just to spite me. He got a rottweiler after that and deliberately mistreated it. It looked on the dog biscuits as if they were miniature poison grenades and once I'd tossed them over the fence I couldn't reclaim them. They were still there when he came home from work and gave him the method I'd won over the previous dog. He collected up the biscuits and gave them to the rotty, thus affirming his place as the provider. I gave up after that.”
“So you lost your cable TV?” Harold lifted his bag of shopping off the automated till. He left the receipt hanging from the output slot, an obscure and insignificant act of defiance between him and the store. He wouldn't have done if he'd paid by card but cash was sufficiently anonymous and, in his opinion of the cold war between supermarket night staff and their customers, forced them to actually acknowledge that the customers existed. Not that he'd ever expect a smile. He barely expected them to leave off discussing daytime television or sucking on each other's faces. Except for the spotty kid that seemed to do all the actual shelf filling and sweeping. There was always one of those.
“Actually no. He never found the connection. I expect it's still there, though I haven't been back to the flat since I...you know.”
“Right.” Harold headed toward the door but the direct route was blocked by a security guard. One of those lads who'd done a course in body building and pretending to be a soldier but wasn't actually bright enough to stock shelves, hired for their size and inability to be bored for excessively long periods. “Can I help you?”
“I have reason to believe you have items in your bag you have not paid for.”
“Oh good grief.” Harold rolled his eyes.