Chapter 10 - The Real World

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Back at the market, the white Renault was still running its exhaust into Valentina's stall, scenting her goat cheeses and soaps with petrol. She had promised herself she wouldn't get into it with him today, but she was at her limit. Everyone else had their own stalls to attend to, so she had to risk leaving all her things unattended. She marched into the bistro where Martin Martin was gossiping with two other post middle-aged cronies – smoking, eating andouillette, and drinking beer. He didn't take any notice of her standing there looking furious, quietly waiting for him to finish his conversation and continued on with his conversation:

«[Those lazy Polacks. They think I'm paying them for today. Fuck their mother if I will.]» The others nodded their heads in approval. «[It's my own fault, I'm too soft-hearted. The useless girl can hardly lift a side of bacon. All the money I've wasted training them,]» he bellyached, through his mouthful of sausage and potatoes.

«[The blonde? Haha! she could make her money better bent over the end of my cock,]» said one of the cronies who was portly, red-faced and balding like Martin Martin. He had a frown shaped mouth and unusually large lips that collected an excessive amount of saliva in the corners when he spoke. He reminded Valentina of a French Mastiff. «[You're too good Martin, I would have chucked them all out myself... Unless that one wanted to give me a good ride,]» he gestured crudely to affirm what the poor girl would have been in for if she worked for him. The three laughed with gusto and Martin ordered a brandy. They made no attempt to keep their voices down; they might as well have been talking about the football.

With the mixture of strong tobacco and smell of andouillette added to the petrol fumes, the thought of some poor girl having sex with any of them suddenly made Valentina feel like she needed to vomit. She wanted to say something to knock them back, but her French wasn't fluent enough for a situation like that and she knew she would only get tongue-tied and they would laugh at her. (They would probably even find it titillating – undoubtedly it would be more attention than any of them had had from a female that wasn't buying their wares, or married to them, in ages.) When Martin's other crony started describing the appearance of his man-parts due to lack of sex, Valentina interrupted:

«[Martin, I am videoing your Renault.]»

«[Oups! Annnd there we go, another foreigner,]» he said covering his mouth, yet speaking in remarkably loud hushed tone.

«[I am videoing your van for 20 minutes. You move, or I call the police.]» Threatening Martin with video proof of his antics was one of the only things that seemed to work with him.

«[WHAT! Those stupid Polacks! I'm taking the petrol out of their pay! See what I mean?!]» he moaned to his friends. «[DO-YOU-SEE-WHAT-MEAN?! As if a Frenchman has petrol to waste!]»

Valentina turned on her heels, leaving before he had finished. He obviously must have meant he was taking the money out of a previous pay, since he had already declared he wasn't paying them for the day at all. And while he was being so 'soft-hearted' and spending so much on 'training' them in the best way to carry the severed leg of a pig, he obviously hadn't averaged in all the money he was saving, paying them a fraction of what he would have paid a French worker, she thought, feeling her dislike for Martin grow.

As she passed, she wanted to tell the young couple what Martin said about not paying them, but she had enough trouble on her shoulders. He would just claim she was lying and she would end up looking like a troublemaker yet again. She bought a Coke from a vendor to try and settle her stomach. She put it under her sweater to warm it up and went back to her stall. She could soon hear the shouting up the row. Martin stomped over in a fury and parked his van inside the archway behind Valentina.

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