“What do you think is sexy?”
“Sweat, skin, teeth - tugging and fucking, nothing too complicated.” Arthur played around with his cigarette. It wasn’t lit, he was trying to quit, but it was a good excuse to leave the supermarket for a five minute break now and then. Sitting on the stairs outside watching the bins being emptied he felt strangely relaxed. But of course Alfred joined him just seconds later with a chocolate bar barely clinging into his greasy smile as he settled to chat about everything and nothing and his favourite subject - sex.
“That sounds disgusting,” Alfred said and bit off a piece of the chocolate. He gnawed on it with quick, hasty teeth as if eating was a job he had to finish as soon as possible with as little enjoyment as he could manage. He had two more bars sticking up from the pocket of his jacket.
Arthur eyed them cautious and poked the filter of his fag onto his closed lips. “Why?”
“What? Why it sounds disgusting? Sweat, I mean… Sweat stinks and is slippery. That’s not very sexy.”
Arthur slowly smiled and gazed towards the dustmen. They were shouting at each other as they tried to direct the car into a perfect parking spot by the containers. “You watch too much porn,” he said. “People sweat. It’s not disgusting, it’s natural. Don’t tell me you shave your chest as well just because you once spotted Peter North’s slick muscles?”
“Who’s Peter North? No, seriously Arthur, I just don’t like hair.” Alfred licked at his chocolate bar. He only had a little bit left and it was melting between his fingertips. They were getting dirty but instead of just finishing his last bite Alfred was watching the chocolate melt as he thought about what to say. It was almost annoying to watch. “Do you know what I think is sexy?”
“Feet?” Arthur popped the smoke free of his lips and looked at Alfred surprised. He was now really fiddling with the chocolate and soon he licked it into his mouth and quickly started cleaning his fingertips. He was trying to look distracted but he was blushing deeply. “Why feet?”
“Why do you sound so surprised - feet are natural, even more natural than sweat, so don’t give me that look.”
“What look?” Arthur asked staring at Alfred as his smile grew. “You have a fetish!”
“It’s just, I don’t know… Like, I don’t know…” Alfred unwrapped another chocolate bar and had half of it in one go. He kept speaking while eating it: “They’re covered with shoes and shoes can be really nice, and then you unwrap them? And the toes are tiny and- oh, fuck you!” Alfred threw his sweets at Arthur as he started laughing. The dustmen were looking at them.
“Sorry, Al’, but that’s just really weird!”
“You like sweat! Give it up!”
“You like feet!”
“Don’t throw trash!” The two men jumped at the sudden shout and looked up as a shadow fell over them. It was one of the dustmen; tall, broad and with wrinkles covering his forehead as he reached down and swiftly picked Alfred’s bar off the ground.
“Sorry sir,” Arthur calmly apologised while Alfred stuttered:
“I didn’t mean to.” The dustman looked at them before walking back towards the car where his friend was choking on his laughter. Alfred watched them as he slowly licked his lips. “He smelled of sweat,” he whispered and Arthur grimaced.
“He also wore shoes, doesn’t mean either of us fancy him. My break is over anyway.” He stood up and popped the cigarette back into his jeans before opening the back door. The sound of a customer calling for help in the storeroom reached him immediately and he sighed. “Back to fucking work..”
“Hey, Arthur?” Alfred called and turned to look up at him. His eyes were nervous as he mumbled: “Do you really think I’m weird?”
Arthur hesitated at the doorstep as he watched his younger colleague. Then he patted his pocket. “I smoke unlit cigarettes. Do you think I’m weird?” he asked and they both smiled at each other. “I’ll have another in two hours. See you then?”
“Yeah. Wear those shoes,” Alfred called and Arthur quickly closed the door.