apologise and help Martha

"I'm so sorry, Martha! I didn't know, honest! If I had known..." Ian was lost in his own apologies, and the only thing that snapped him out of it was the rake of hard pink-and-blue nails across his arm.

"Ian, please help," Martha said. "If you're going to be sorry, then at least do something worthwhile with your making-it-up time."

"Sorry! I'll do it right away!" Ian bent down to help with the cleaning of the floor when he realised there weren't enough serviettes. "There's only one serviette."

"I know that," Martha said. Ian got up and started for the counter. "And don't bother looking for any; there are none left."

Ian whipped around and moaned. "What then? What do you expect me to use, toilet paper?"

Martha momentarily stopped hear cleaning and looked up at Ian. She held his gaze for a while before turning back down to her floor.

"Oh, no, surely you don't expect me to..." Ian whispered.

"I expect you to, alright," Martha said without turning her head. "After your rudeness, I only think that it's fair."

Ian sighed, and went into the bathroom to get some toilet paper. He came back with three rolls of the stuff. By then people were staring and murmuring to one another like curious onlookers tend to do. Ian wanted to glare daggers in their direction, but he knew that that wouldn't be very good for Martha's business, and he owed her that, at least, now.

"Got it."

"Great," Martha said, still not looking up. "Get started."

After half an hour of hard work, they had finally removed all the meat from the tiles, and they were now spotless, if not a little dissolved.

Ian stretched up, pulling down his sleeves and staring at the soggy mess of toilet paper on the floor. Martha probably wanted him to clean that up, too. Ian sighed.

"I'll get started on the toilet paper," Ian said, starting to bend down again.

"No," Martha said. "Stand back up, Ian. You've done more than enough to pay back for your rude behaviour. You are still a customer, no matter how much I know you. Go, I'll deal with the rest."

"Are you sure, Martha?" Ian asked. He had done so much that now, he didn't like the idea of leaving when there was still work to be done. Martha nodded.

"Enjoy your 9 and a half hours of life."

Ian's eyes widened. He had completely forgotten all about that! And he had been thinking about what he'd do at work the next day while he was wiping! Ian stood up and kicked some toilet paper out of the way.

"I'm so sorry that I have to leave right at this moment, Martha. I really have to live my life now," Ian said.

"That sounds really bad, you know," Martha said, looking up at him with a twinkle in her eye. "But I know what you mean. Go. See you tomorrow."

Ian laughed awkwardly, trying to find some joke to make. "Well, I'm not planning to become a regular customer again any time soon."

"Shame," Martha said. She looked up and Ian was already out of the cafe. A satisfied smile made its way to her face.

Ian decided to...

The End

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