Shopping (February 2019, Round 3, Day 1)

The tinkle as the door opened gave the shop an old-timey feel that was out of sorts with the high-tech items inside. Bartlett looked for the bell responsible for the sound and only found a small white box with a red light.

“Nice, right?”

Bartlett turned and found herself face to forehead with an exceptionally awkward looking man. His hairline was receeding and his scalp was a mottled pattern of brown and red skin. Tearing her eyes away from the top of his head, she was surprised to find a face that seemed too young to have lost so much hair. His nose showed dents where glasses should be and his eyes were a bland not-color. His cheeks were pockmarked and sparsly covered with straw colored hair that did its best to resolve itself into a beard along his jaw and chin. He adjusted the collar of his oxford and gave her a genuine smile as he looked up at her.

“I designed it myself. All the sounds are historically accurate and there are fifteen to choose from.”

Bartlett looked back at the little box. “An historically accurate door chime?”

“Yep. I like its current setting – 19th century London.”

“Got it.”

“Do you want to hear the others?”

“The other fourteen?”


“I think I’m ok, thanks.” Bartlett smiled at him, “Can I look around on my own?”

“Yes, yes. M’name’s Antonio – let me know if you need anything.”


He gave her that smile again and she felt her cheeks flush. “My mother’s little joke. I’ll be behind the counter.”

Bartlett watched him move back to his post. Once his back was turned she put her hands to her cheeks and shook her head. A date was not on her shopping list and he certainly wasn’t her type no matter what her cheeks seemed to think.

She could feel Antonio watching her as she browsed and, in spite of herself, she enjoyed the attention. Bartlett wasn’t used to such things. She thought of herself as the person at parties that remembered all the stories and wasn’t in any of them. She was, in her mind, painfully average. She had dark brown hair that fell to her shoulders on dry days and stood out on end on wet ones. She was neither tall nor short, neither fat nor skinny. Her clothes were collected from resale shops and she tended towards neutral browns and grays. Today she was wrapped up in a brown trench coat and didn’t even remember what she’d chosen to wear before leaving her house. 

“Looking for anything in particular?”

“A gift, actually.”

“Who’s the lucky fellow?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Who’s the lucky fellow – or lady, if that’s more your speed – you’re shopping for?”

Bartlett flushed again. She felt like she’d walked on to the set of some alternative universe rom-com. ‘Who’s the lucky fellow?’ To Antonio she said, “no, no. Not like that. I’m looking for a gift for a friend.”

“Great!” Antonio came out from behind the counter again. 

One thought on “Shopping”

  1. I’m cheating. I’m voting twice. Sue me. If it comes to a tie, consider this a slightly less affirming vote, but a vote nonetheless.

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