Polo Mints

My boss, Javid, asks me if I have been taking packs of Polo mints and not putting in for them. I tell him no and he tells me he’ll take the money out of my pay, just in case.

‘Okay,’ I say.


My brother leaves me a three-minute voicemail telling me not to, but I look you up on the DVD rental file. You were the last person to hire Under Siege and your name is Shannon Jones and you are on Google and you make short films and also pottery. I do not know much about pottery, so I Google pottery. I now know more about pottery but would not be confident in discussing it beyond the most basic aspects.

I get up from my seat at the counter and go over to the magazine aisle. I pick out a retro videogame publication and flip through, looking at the pictures. I take the magazine back to the counter and sit down on my seat. I eat more Polo mints.


You come into the shop. You come into the shop and you return Rob Schneider’s The Animal. You hand it to me and I ask if you liked it and would you like a Polo mint? You say you loved it. You pause, think about something, and then you say you didn’t really.

I push two Polo mints out of the wrapper and onto your hand. You put one in your mouth and the other you just hold in your palm. I have four Polo mints in my mouth and I feel self-conscious. You laugh for some reason, and we agree to meet up for a cup of tea and a biscuit somewhere.


We meet for a cup of tea and a biscuit. You tell me about your films and your pottery and I act surprised. You tell me that you like to watch bad films and I tell you I am uncomfortable around you because I have bad skin and yours is perfect. You tell me I’m crazy, I tell you the same. We have another cup of tea and then we leave.

We are outside. Chorlton is raining, and I hope we can stay here for a while.

Richard Owain Roberts has had work published in 3AM Magazine, Dogmatika, and in the Redbeck Press Short Story anthology You Are Here. He is writing a book.

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5 Responses to “Polo Mints”

  1. January 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm, JoeG said:

    Certainly very sexy, it reminded me of I’m not sure what. More please.

  2. January 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm, Ian D. Smith said:

    Excellent portrayal of a puberty, awkward self-consciousness, embarrassment, identity problems and infatuation. The whole spotty mess is as clear as his brother’s advice to stop. The polo mints are not exactly the perfect crime, more of what would be described as a ‘cry for help’. Shannon spots the problem (two polo mints is one too many), and responds brilliantly. The sudden self-awareness, the mutual craziness, the move from inner to outer, ” we are outside, Chorlton is raining” is a big growing-up moment. Happy story. I like it.

  3. January 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm, Amy Lloyd said:

    I really enjoyed this. I like that it’s quirky without feeling forced, it’s really pleasent to look through the eyes of a character who has such a unique perception. Awes.

  4. February 04, 2010 at 1:38 pm, Katie G said:

    Well-written and an intriguing read. Loved the line where he feigns surprise at her hobbies, have done this myself before.
    Enjoyed the naievity of the characters.

  5. March 31, 2010 at 10:44 am, Denise Sackett said:

    Excellent portrayal of obession. Love the rhythms of madness


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