Cash or card: the exchange

This exchange, between me and a couple of passionate readers, was fast and professional.
They had seven books, very nice.

They are a couple. He took out his wallet and wondered about how to pay.
He said, ‘Card or cash’, and looked down at his tie, thinking.
She said, ‘Use card, Ken.’ But he already had the cash out.

He put it away and looked at all the books again.
She asked, ‘Did you use card?’
‘Not yet.’
‘Well, use cash, then.’
He put the card away and gently pulled some notes from his wallet.
She came over. ‘Maybe use card if you’ve got it out.’
He folded the notes back in, and she leaned over.
‘Is that the cash?’
‘Yeah.’
‘Well use it.’ He looked at the books and his wallet. He leaned over and went strongly up and down on his toes a couple of times.

I ached to help, but I too, was paralysed, and the books sat flat and helpless.
The door opened, and the spell was broken. He edged cash across the counter. I gave change. We all gave thanks.