There's a man stood behind me in the queue verbally abusing his wife. (What the fuck am I doing at Morrissons anyway?) I glance back. They're both in their sixties, broken-down. He's got a thicket of white hair, and looks he shaved with a lump of broken glass, she's got a sadsack face that's sucked right in from biting her lip too much. She's carrying the basket, he's carrying his stick. Then he's dropping his stick. Then he's abusing her for not picking it up. He says "I'm going to get rid of you, you're useless." Her face puckers up some more. He swears at her, then bites that they're going to the pub after anyway, like that's somehow connected. She makes a little choking noise, and I look around to see a dumpy old lady with a face like a dried-up pear and great round glasses about to cry. Then he growls that "she should stop that, don't even start that." And I can hear her trying to hold the tears in, blinking them back so they spatter on the glass.
After a bit, while I'm moving my shopping along, and placing the crappy Next Customer nameplate for them, she asks, hesitantly, if "we can go to get a cup of tea". He roars at her, a belly-roar, and says "No! We're going to Rosie's pub." Then she asks if he "wouldn't mind carrying some of the shopping" and he gets really nasty. He says No! I can't, I'm holding my stick, and if you don't stop that, you'll feel it around your neck soon." He shakes the stick for effect. "You're so damn lazy, I've got to get rid of you." At the neck comment, I've turned around, as it's obvious he really does use the stick on her and I want to intervene, want to stop him, and tell her to leave this filthy old monster, so she can be a lonely unabused old spinster but all I can come out with is "I think you should calm down mate." He laughs at me and says"You don't have to live with her, she's lazy, she's useless." Another growl, at her. I turn away and pack my bags, and don't look around again.