Rayford looked out on the bright sunshine pouring out on the lawn as he sat poolside, a bowl of cut fruit near to hand. It was a happy scene, the flowers and Christmas cactus blossoming and spring green, but it brought no cheer to his heart. All he could think about was better days.
His wife Claire came stomping out of the house with her iPad. “Do you see this garbage? Angelina Jolie is no longer a Pitt. Who cares?? Why don’t I get actual news on my newsfeed anymore?”
Their marriage wasn’t what it used to be; money and comfort had changed them both. Rayford was more complacent now, and Claire more angry and domineering.
“I don’t know, dear,” Rayford mumbled, already tuning her out. He was losing himself in reminiscence. Back when they were a happy couple, back when they had less money.
“I think I’ll go back to that computer repair guy today,” Claire’s voice was growing fainter in Rayford’s ears. “He really seemed to…”
Her laughter sparkled like glitter on the wind. Rayford could lie here and listen to her laugh for hours. He loved her laugh. The smile broadened on his face as he reached to caress her shoulder.
Claire flipped around to look him in the eyes. “Pretty please, with sugar on top?” she asked in her sweetest voice.
“Your wish is my command, my darling,” replied Rayford. “My heart is a slave to your own.”
She slapped at him, playfully. “I love you, Ray. Your soul is a twin to mine. Promise me we’ll always be this happy?”
He leaned in to kiss her neck, and murmured the words into the hollow beneath her ear. “Always.”
Sometimes down and out is better than up and in.
Y’all. I worked 3.75 hours today (my second favorite shift after 3.25 hours) and I dealt with all these people.
- The girl who looked in the case of keychains, money clips, and card cases and then turned to ask me if we sell any rings we can engrave on. We do not, because we can’t engrave on rings. She asked me why not. This is the response I get every. Single. Time. So I told her the same answer I always give: because the engraver is not equipped for it. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. It irritates me to no end when people argue with me when I tell them what we can and cannot engrave. Your ring? Nope. Your $600 watch? Nope. Your $20 watch that you won’t open up the band or remove the back? Nope. Your giant plastic souvenir wrestling champion belt? Nope. And yes, I’ve been asked that.
- The lady who wanted a contact number for the hair straightener kiosk next door. I do not have one, nor would I give it out to a random shopper even if I did. You’re the one who spent way too much money on a no-name hair straightener from some good-looking smooth-talker at a mall kiosk, you figure it out. She got pretty upset that I didn’t have a phone number. Bet she didn’t even save her receipt.
- The old lady who called to ask how long it would take to get something engraved. People, unless you are walking towards me while you’re on the phone, I could have a fifty-piece order between now and the time you decide to show up. All I can give you on the phone is a rough estimate, which is, it depends what you get and what you want engraved on it, but usually same day. So she asked if I came right now, how long would it take? There’s about a two hour difference between one word on a plate and four different monograms on a set of red wine glasses. I told her an hour, and she said she would be there in a few minutes. When I left two hours later, she hadn’t shown up yet.
- The guy who keeps calling for my super-part-time coworker. I’ve talked to him four times this week. But at least today he identified himself and didn’t badger me with questions about when she’ll be in, which I won’t answer.
- The man looking for a flask. He may have a memory problem. He’s stopped three times in the past two months while I’ve been at work to look at flasks. He’s always forgotten his glasses, and asks if the same one is stainless steel and how many ounces it holds. Yes it’s stainless steel, but I have to look up the volume. He always argues that it should be stamped on the bottom. It’s not, on the one that he likes. He always gets excited about the price of the flask but leaves without a word when I tell him the price for engraving.
- The woman whose husband told her there was a Scentsy store in the mall. Now, I’m pretty sure we had a kiosk last Christmas, but other than that, no. But I don’t know. So I told her I don’t know. I don’t know why she got mad at me because I don’t know. So that’s now two things I don’t know, withing two minutes.
- The woman who asked me why this mall doesn’t have an Abercrombie. Now, nearly all of you have never met me, but if you’ve seen my Instagram feed on the right there, you could probably guess that I do not frequent Abercrombie. Possibly because it’s not my style, but mostly because their clothes would not fit me. Also, I work in a kiosk. I do not have a backdoor on the ins and outs of mall management’s tenant plan.
New assistant manager starts next week, fingers crossed.
Lynn pushed on her front door a bit, and it squeaked on its hinges. She knew she’d locked it and shut it firmly behind her when she left this morning, but there it was. Open.
She wondered briefly if she should call the police before deciding against it. That would likely cause more trouble than it was worth. She gave a soft cough, and entered.
Nothing looked wrong or out of place. Her belt still hung on the back of the chair nearest the door, and she noticed that she’d left the ranch dressing on the table. Her left hand absentmindedly reached to pick it up, and that’s when she saw it.
The tiny baby puppy cowering beneath the kitchen table, shivering.
Lynn had no way of knowing if someone had left the poor thing, or let it in, or if her door had malfunctioned and opened just enough for it to seek refuge, but she wasn’t arguing.
She carefully set the bottle of dressing back on the table and lay down on the floor, inching closer and closer to the dog. Finally, she was close enough to reach out a hand and pet its soft, damp fur. The puppy snuggled into her touch, seemingly unafraid. She scooped it up and held it against her chest, trying to warm it.
In a few minutes, the puppy fell asleep, and Lynn had fallen in love. She never forgot the day that her door was just a little bit open when she came home from work, and she loved little Bradley for a very long time.
Look at these birds of a feather
Frolicking gladly together.
The dolphin did dash,
The cow made a splash,
And neither one cared ’bout the weather.
And now for something completely different: today we have a guest post from my handsome husband.
violence is never the answer
until it is
fight of fly
take a swing
or breakdown and cry
one tear rolls
the rest soon follow
violence is never the answer
even when it’s the best one
“Leoma! Aren’t you ready yet?” Melody called upstairs. “The sale’s only on today, and who can argue with affordable? Hurry it up!”
A rhythmic thumping announced that Leoma was ready and heading for the staircase. Melody shook her head with impatience and jingled her keys in her hand as she stood at the front door. “About time,” she mumbled under her breath.
Leoma made her grand entrance for their exit, pausing at the foot of the stairs so anyone and everyone could appreciate the outfit she’d put together to impress the masses. But only Melody was there to see, and Melody didn’t care, so Leoma huffed and flounced out the front door and to the car.
Melody locked the front door and got in the driver’s seat to start the car.
“Mom, haven’t you had enough of these vices of yours? I mean, shopping is great and all, as long as it’s at a cool store, not these boring antique shops and estate sales.” Leoma crossed her arms and popped her gum, and turned to stare out the window.
“They’re not vices anymore, Leoma. I’m old enough now that they’re eccentricities, thank you very much. Buckle your seatbelt.” Melody put her hands at ten and two and steered them down the street.
“Cut it out, Mom. It’s not like you’re a cop.” Leoma rolled her eyes , but only because her face was pointed out the window where her mother couldn’t see.
“I’m the first law you’ll listen to until you’re eighteen, missy. Buckle it!” Melody ordered.
“Yeah? Lemme see yer badge, old lady!” Leoma giggled.
Melody elbowed her as she turned onto the highway. “I’ll badge you, now hush it!”