Quiet as quiet. I can hear the teacups and spoons chatting next door in the bakery – I can hear that through the wall. There is nobody outside.
Wait, that’s wrong. There’s a ute pulling a Jim’s Mowing and Garden Care trailer. The driver is jogging across to the bakery. Now three women climbing from a car in front of me, looking in my window but passing on by.
I update all the displays.
A young couple with a pram passing the window. He looks at the window and says, ‘I’ve read that.’ She says, ‘Come on.’
There are now two Jim’s Mowing units parked across the road. The drivers are standing together eating lunch. A car skids around the corner opposite the carpark entrance, and both workers look up and across.
A lady phones for Juliette Marillier books. Someone phones for Alexander McCall Smith books.
I spray Riverland Orange with Lemon Rind fragrance around the shop and stand admiring the smell for a while.
I sort all the orders and look up Emily A. Duncan books for a customer. Redo the Christmas books, clean the windows, shelve the newest volumes, and put all the David Eddings back in proper order.
Someone buys a Yates Garden Guide. Someone buys 3 Australian fiction books for a Chris Kringle. I finish The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin (brilliant).
A couple admire my Christmas tree through the window: he keeps tapping the glass, possibly thinking the optic lights are responding to his tapping. His wife moves on, and he continues tapping for another minute.
Outside, one car honks another car waiting to turn right. It’s a long aggressive blast. The driver, who is exactly level with my desk, glances into his side mirror and smiles. Then he gives the other driver the finger and very slowly moves around the corner.
The beeping car yells out, ‘Getting ice at Woolworths’. Then they’re all gone, and it’s quiet again.
Two ladies walk past together, and one says, ‘This shop looks very nice’, but they don’t come in.
Two men walk past, and one says, ‘Yeah, well I thought he was serious.’
A young man comes in and asks for any books by Patrick Leigh Fermor, who is a travel writer, and one of the best ever! But I don’t. Then he asks for Jack Kerouac (which I have) and Ilija Trojanow (which I don’t).
I turn on all the fairy lights, clean up the counter, and update the status of all orders.
A child passing with two adults reads my sign out loud, ‘Open. Bookshop.’ Then she says, ‘I don’t like bookshops, but I like some bookshops if they’re open.’