Enduring on the Lake

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chapter 3

I tapped the shoulder of a boy that must have been about ten or twelve and said, “Excuse me, I’m looking for Mr. Slowthower.” 

He jumped and ripped the earbuds out of his ears. “Yeah.  What do you want?” 

I blinked as he pointed to his name tag and then asked, “An older Mr. Slowthower?” 

He looked over his shoulder and then bellowed in a voice that was way too big for his frame, “Junior!!  There’s a chick out here to see you!” 

I heard a sigh mixed with a growl and a guy came around the corner snapping, “Listen you little … I don’t have time for …”  He skidded to a stop when he saw me.  “Oh … uh …” 

Feeling some unwilling sympathy for the guy I said, “Ricky Slowthower or am I looking for another one?” 

The boy said, “Call him Junior.  The rest of us do.” 

“I suspect you do it just to hack him off too,” I told the boy who suddenly tried to look a lot more innocent than he obviously was.  I looked at the guy who was about my age and said, “Mrs. June from down at the Quilting Shoppe said you take consignments.” 

“We do.  But they have to meet my grandmother’s standards and they are pretty high.” 

“May I speak to her?” 

“She isn’t here.  She laid up with a turned ankle.  You’ll have to come back some other time.” 

“That’s not what Mrs. June said.” 

“Yeah … wellllll …” 

“Deep subject.  Look, I’m not talking about junk.  You see what I’m wearing?” 

“Yeah.” 

“I made this … or should I say I made it over.  Your shop is called Trash to Treasure.  Well, I make over old clothes.  I don’t charge an arm and leg for them either but I won’t give them away if you’re going to charge an arm and a leg.  But, I don’t expect you not to make a decent profit either.” 

He was walking around me like I was a car he was thinking of buying.  “You did this?” 

“Yeap.  It started as a hobby in middle school and has grown like Topsy ever since.” 

“What’s that mean?” 

“Heck if I know, just something my father says and seems to suit this situation.  So are you considering or am I wasting my time?” 

“I’m considering.  Let me get my girlfriend.  This looks like something her and her friends will wear but let me check before I put my foot in it.”  He texted something on his cellphone and not a minute later this girl in a barely there tank top sauntered in.  “Geez Pattie, put a shirt on will ya?”

“Like what you see?” 

“Yeah and I don’t want anyone else seeing it.” 

“But you’ve got her in here.” 

“Who’s her?  Oh you mean her her.  She’s just looking to place some things in consignment and I want your opinion on ‘em.  You know what the customers like, you think they’d go for stuff like she’s wearing?” 

She turned to me and really looked for the first time and then I saw a spark of interest.  “Your mom or something make these?” 

“No,” I told her to be polite since apparently her opinion mattered.  “I did.  Mr. Slowthower thought you’d be able to tell him whether customers would go for it.  If they won’t maybe you could tell me what they will go for.” 

She chewed her bottom lip for a minute caught between left over jealousy – of what I had no idea – and her ego at being asked her opinion.  “Well, I won’t lie.  I know a lot of girls around here would think that’s cute but there ain’t a lot of local money right now as things are tight.  And most of the tourists are either those crazy health and nature nuts that hike the local trails or raft the Chattooga.  Those that aren’t are usually older or kinda stick in the mud family types that go more for cheap t-shirts or shot glasses or spoons.”  She tapped her chin then looked at Junior/Ricky.  “You know who might go for this stuff are those auction people we get through here once a month when Moose Harper’s dad has the warehouse gigs.” 

A gravelly voice from behind us said, “Gran used to pay Mr. Harper a fee to let her set up a booth every time he had an auction scheduled.” 

Ricky glowered at the new comer and asked, “Zane!  What are you doing here?  Who’s looking after Gran?” 

“Relax little brother, Aunt Nina showed up in full sail and insisted on taking Gran out to have her hair and nails done while I was to head to the store and pick up some nibbles.” 

Ricky rolled his eyes.  “Oh my Lord, tonight’s game night isn’t it?” 

The newcomer grinned, “Yep.  And you get to ‘fotch and carry’ for all the nice old ladies.” 

In disgust Ricky snapped, “No wonder you were laughing at me this morning.” 

“Not laughing Junior, just … just enjoying the moment for a change.”  The guy stepped out of the shadows and I realized he walked with a strange roll to his gate.  I didn’t get a chance to notice anything else because he looked me over and said, “I know you from someplace.  You own one of the vacation cabins around here?” 

I shrugged.  “It’s been in the family for a couple of generations but yeah, I guess I qualify except it’s my parents who own it.  I’m going to be living there as the caretaker for a while.” 

“Which place?” 

“Why?” I asked showing my cautious streak. 

Instead of being offended his face suddenly cleared and he said, “You’re Mr. Z’s daughter.  He always kept you on a tight leash.” 

Ricky and Pattie said, “Who?” 

I grinned and said, “Zitterbarth.  Don’t bother trying to say it, your tongue will just get tied up.  Call me Syd … short for Sydney.  It’ll be easier on all of us.” 

Before anyone could say anything else the bell over the door rang and in came Mrs. June from the Quilt Shoppe.  “Oh good, you’re still here.  I thought that was your car.  I was wondering if you had taken my advice and come see if they’d be interested.  Ricky, now I know you’re cautious and with reason but three ladies stopped to enquire about that outfit she’s wearing and she was only in the shop long enough to order some muslin and empty my clearance bin.”  She turned to me with a wink and said, “Got a lead for you if you’re interested Honey; don’t know why I didn’t think about it while you were in the store except that bus from the retirement community over in Littleton had just pulled in.  There’s a thrift store heading back towards the lake that is going out of business.  Given your haggling skills I bet you’d make out well as I know they’ve only got till tomorrow at noon to clear things out before the bank’s people comes in and takes the rest.” 

I took out my notepad and had her give me the directions, vaguely recalling the sad strip of stores that I thought had been closed since several had been boarded over.  It sat back from the highway on a steep bank that wouldn’t be easy to drive in anything less than a four wheel drive.  I turned to the others in the store and told them, “Well, I’ll give you time to think it over.  I’ve got a cooler of groceries calling my name.  It’s been nice to meet you.  I’ll …” 

Ricky interrupted with, “You got anything else besides what you’re wearing?” 

I stopped and eyed his interest but had to admit, “Not with me.  You only want clothes or crafty kind of stuff too?” 

“Bring a sampling next time you’re in town.  I’ll look things over and we’ll see if we can’t come to a meeting of the minds.” 

“I’ll be in town on Friday.  I’ll stop by then if you’re not busy.” 

The youngest Slowthower snorted and said, “We’re never busy.” 

I shook my head and left with a grin after Junior Slowthower decided that if his little brother Max didn’t feel busy that he’d rectify that problem.

1 comment:

  1. Oh poo! I went and read them all after promising myself to save half for tonight!! Good chapter! Already wishing for more lol. You are so good at writing stories that even with this abundance you have been giving us, I still always want MoAr! Thanks so much Mother Hen!

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