Pages or Words: 239 pages/82,000 words
It was shortly after lunch on Friday that Mrs. Jones came in. Although she had shown such tenderness to Audrey, I was still in fear and awe of this woman. To me she was curt and demanding. I still dreaded Fridays on account of her. Today she barged through the door: middle aged, shaped like a tank, with a formidable purse that I suspected she could brandish as a weapon if she so chose. I shamefully admit that I hid, shaking, in the back room. I remained hidden behind the door as I watched through the space under the hinge.
She marched straight over to Tommie, who was innocently concentrating in his chair, bent over his laptop. He didn’t stand a chance.
Tommie looked up and scanned the shop. Not finding me, he sacrificed himself for the greater cause.
He said something I couldn’t hear then he looked around the shop again, I supposed in a vain hope that I might come rescue him. I saw him take a deep breath, preparing himself for the inevitable. Poor man didn’t have a clue what he was up against. I knew I should come out of hiding, but so help me, I didn’t have the strength. I had been dealing with her on my own every Friday for over a year, and my morbid curiosity wanted to see what she could do to someone else.
“What can I help you with, Ms. ––?
“Mrs. Jones.” She said it decisively and firmly. No question about it, she was Mrs. Jones. Like no other, she stood like a rock.
He nodded and snapped his laptop shut. “What can I help you with, Mrs. Jones?” When he stood, her eyes scanned down his body like a CT scan, slowly taking in and savoring every inch carefully.
He carried his laptop and set it on the shelf under the front counter. Mrs. Jones took in the view from behind, her head tilted thoughtfully.
I remained silent. This was getting interesting. I was seeing a side of Mrs. Jones I hadn’t known existed. I was anxious to see if Tommie could handle her.
“Well,” she said a bit breathlessly. “Tommie, your jeans are a bit tight.” He turned slowly, but her eyes settled on his midsection, centering on the zipper of his jeans.
“My eyes are up here, Mrs. Jones.”
“Totally inappropriate!” But her eyes still wandered appreciatively over Tommie’s landscape.
“Very well, Mrs. Jones,” I saw him smile pleasantly then ask, “But may I help you find something?”
I didn’t hear what she said, but to my dismay, he led her to the closet where my adult books were stashed. I almost came out to prevent the disaster that I anticipated, but instead of indignation, within moments they returned to the front desk, and I watched as he rang up her purchases. She had chosen several books.
“I hope you enjoy these, Mrs. Jones.”
“You’ve been most helpful, Tommie, not like that naughty Fox that you work for.”
She waved goodbye happily and blew him a kiss as she went out the door, her purchases held tightly to her ample chest.
“Coward!” I assumed he was talking to me, although he didn’t look up.
Meet Fai Dawson:
Fai Dawson lives in a small town thirty miles northeast of Seattle Washington in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains with her beloved wife, Becky. Together, they work on restoring their 110-year-old Victorian home. She spends her days writing, blogging and walking Moxie, their Newfie-Chow through the rainy streets of town. Pepe, a brave and proud tuxedo cat is her muse, ever mindful of providing inspiration for her next project. Although she has filled countless journals in her life, she began writing seriously in 2009 as a way to deal with anxiety. She is currently working on her next manuscript.
Where to find Fai Dawson:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/faimariedawson?fref=ts
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26016051-please-understand
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Melody Pond
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