"Look, I found something to show you" he says, walking in the direction of the fruit aisle.
"What?" I say, catching up at the chicken.
"Look" he's still walking away from me.
"What IS it?" I say, jogging past the leafy greens.
"There" he says "look in there".
He's pointing into a low-lit cardboard box. There are three coconuts in it and the way the light hits them, I think there's mould growing on them and have to muster some effort to take a step towards them.
Mouldy coconuts? That's what he wants to show me? I've been hating myself for 60 minutes on the crosstrainer and he wants to show me damp exotic fruit. It's sweet, I suppose, given how I always ALWAYS point and say "aw, lookcoconuts, aw!" but I've been sweating from my elbows, godfuckit and I can scarcely stand upright.
I step forward ("Uuuuuuuuuurgh" goes my inner dialogue) and I see that no, it's not mould. They're just coconuts. One though, has a face. And I say "Aw, a sad coconut, aw".
"Should we buy it?" Ideal Brown asks.
No. If I buy it, I'll eat it and I already eat too much face - and this one looks intelligent to boot.
I take a photo. He laughs.
"No, it's just that I took one too"
We go home. Shower. Feed. Sofa.
Before I head to bed I remember the coconut and post the photo on Twitter. "Emotional coconut in Tesco. Shaaaaaaaame."
Today however, I awake to retweets. Lots of them. Over 100, which for me (in the realm of cat and painting photos) doesn't happen. So I was shocked. More so because people were commenting. Getting upset. MrsWhyAye (Sunderland) said 'That coconut's made me feel dead sad :-('
Someone else likened it to a seal pup.
Shit. And I left it there. In the box. All these people care about the coconut and I left him (note: "him" not "it") behind because of my fear that if I didn't, I'd go home, crack his little head open and transfer his glorious natural fats right onto my thighs - the ones that worked so hard the night before that sweat ran down my back and pooled on my arse, as if I literally shat exhaustion.
Tesco Customer Care tweeted at me: Poor emotional coconut! #savehim
"Fuck! The mothership is sending me orders!" I needed that fucking coconut. "Think, quick!" Unless winning them at a carnival on the town moor, do Geordies even like coconuts? Is there actually a chance that someone, between the hours of 19:00 and 9:00 would have thought to go and buy one? Other than for the obvious reason: that they saw the poor face and couldn't walk away without it - because no decent human being could see a face like that and leave it to rot in the dank reserves of Tesco's unsold coconuts, forever in the shadow of the mid-winter banana glow.
I ran back to the store. Ran.
And when I got there, I found that the staff has replaced 3 coconuts with roughly 40 coconuts.
There's no amount of good-natured chuckling that covers "I know I look unhinged, but this is for a thing. You'd get it if you were on twitter this morning" as you unpack two boxes of coconuts in the middle of tesco, peeling their barcoded stickers off to reveal "the expression" on "their faces".
That's what I've always loved about coconuts; they all have both of those things. The Tripp family ritual was a brutal one; when my dad came home with a coconut, my brother and I would cheer and race to garage where my father would grip it in the vice so we could tear the hair out to reveal the face.
He'd say "See, Candy? It's a face!" and I be thrilled and then we would watch as he drilled through both of its eyes.
My brother liked the coconut milk. I didn't. My brother LOVED the flesh. I loved the idea of it but could never actually manage to eat much of it. I love the slaughter. The pulling apart of a hairy ball to reveal an ugly face that we could drill through. I also loved Kinder Eggs.
I started to panic that the first face I saw would look as much like the emotional coconut as the second, third, and fourth. I pulled out my phone and held the photo up to every brown ball. I felt like an agent in a b-grade TV crime drama, standing at the back of a white van with its doors thrown open to reveal 40 smuggled faces peering out at me in quiet, desperate horror.
"That's the one" I thought, high with glee and then suddenly sick with guilt - because of all the others. I couldn't save them all.
I saved one though, the important one. Its face was turned downward, toward the floor. I had to hunt it down.
I showed Ideal Brown. "It's not the same one" he said.
I turned it around and he said "oh shit! It is!" and confirmed it by holding up his own photo on his own phone.
Thank fuck I got him, because by the time I arrived back at my studio (the space I now rent in town, from Ideal Brown's office) Adrian Edmondson had somehow seen my tweet and retweeted it. He got behind the sad coconut cause and with his 55 000 followers, I knew that my tweet was going to be repeating on me for an unknowable number of hours.
"Thank FUCK" I thought. "Thank fuck I went back, because now I can show them this!