Two men came into the shop today together, and I thought they were brothers. This is because they worked shoulder to shoulder. First they had to check in.
‘Did you get it?’
‘No not yet.’
‘Come inside. There’s another one in here. Try it. Might work better.’ They found my app printed and hung up in a different place.
‘That one out there must be on a shadow or something, generally I get it, don’t I.
The other man instructed him.
‘Come back a bit. Come back a bit.’
‘It’s been working beautiful till now.’
‘Yeah, I know mate. Come back a bit, you have to get the whole thing in.’
‘I’ve got it.’
‘No, you haven’t.’
‘Ok, I’ll have to sign the thingo. Don’t know why that is, it worked beautiful in the bakery, sorry to be a nuisance.’ He looked at me apologetically. I said, ‘Not to worry.’
I rewarded them with Melody Gardot through the speaker. They swayed.
I watched them move. Gentlemen, with hands in pockets. Silence. Leaning over the books with courtesy and interest. One men went into Art. The other man swayed, listening. They passed each other twice in the same narrow space. ‘You right?’
‘I am, mate.’
Hats on, black, coats on, blue, shoes stout helping with winter. Silence and breathing.
Suddenly their wivesentered, signing in efficiently. There are three of them. Who is the third?
‘Come on, girls.’ The see their men.
‘Oh, ello stranger, fancy meeting you here.’
One of the men responds, ‘Do I know you?’
Why are you in the children’s books?’ They don’t answer.
‘Come on Sue, let’s get Nora Roberts.’
Sue, in a beautiful red coat moves gently and slowly. ‘Did you sign the thing?’
‘We did.’ They move off, Sue with a walking stick. They ask each other.
‘How much is this?’
‘Is there a section for crime?’
‘I know what author I’m going for.’
‘Here, watch your step.’
Meanwhile, the husbands are still in art, shoulder to shoulder. They are examining their wallets. I listen to them when they pay for the art book.
‘Hans Heysen, not a bad bloke.’
‘He didn’t do too bad, did he?’
‘Now that I’ve retired I should put my finger back into the apple pie.’
‘Well, I’ll tell you what…’
Then they left, alone, and without their ladies. Outside in the cold, I could hear them still talking, still bent over the book he had open and was holding out under the afternoon cold.
‘Have they gone? Where are they?’
‘The men have left us behind, Sue.’
‘They’ve all gone, have they?’
‘They’re probably looking for us.’
‘Well, we can get back to the car. Don’t need them.’
Then they left, but I can still hear them outside the door.
‘I’ll just look round the corner.’
They moved slowly out and on and past the window. I can still here their voices…
‘…well that’s their fault for just sitting at home…’