Contrary to what you might believe, the green grocer business is not all glitz and glamour. Certainly, there are rock star moments. For example, Tuesday I received a shipment of gourmet Chinese chives — an item none of my competitors stock (or have even heard of). When word gets out, I may need a bodyguard.
Yet today has been disastrous by comparison. The meat fridge is on the blink, and the delivery chap dropped off an enormous load of condom mints, whatever those are. I have no idea how long it will be before the mustards and relishes I actually ordered will arrive.
Worse, the combination pub/coffee shop has not done well. Unveiled on the same day of my chive shipment, my new attraction has served exactly one customer. I know it is only Friday, but I cannot discern why people aren’t flocking to The Greene Grocer to get craft beers and exotic coffees. I have put twelve hours of work in already today, and the prospect of sitting alone in my shop for another six hours waiting for beverage customers is numbingly depressing.
And worst of all, it has been four days since I’ve seen the exquisite Mary Robins. I have discovered that I would trade every rock star moment I’ve ever had for ten more minutes with her. I simply can’t get her off my mind, and I am certain she has no idea.
Through my shop window I can see the pink and lilac palette of the twilight sky. A gigantic Chelsea tractor glides to a halt in front of the shop and Tommy Higgins’ friends Bubba and Mike clamber from the cabin. I watch them as they head round the back of their truck and fish out several beer kegs, clattering them along their edges toward my shop entrance. They repeat this process several times, never once entering the shop. After twenty minutes the storefront is littered with expensive craft beer, and the the two men bound inside.
“You ready, your majesty?” bellows Bubba. “Gonna be a mob of people here in a minute! We brought you some extra beer.”
“Sorry?” I say.
“Oh, don’t be sorry,” says Mike with a goofy grin. “It’s no problem!”
“No,” I say, “I mean the bit about the mob of people. What mob of people?”
The sky is now the deep, amaranthine colour of fresh plums. As if on cue, first of Bubba’s people begin to arrive, each holding an identical baby blue flyer. The flyers read, “Enjoy a free pint on us at The Greene Grocer. 6:00 sharp! — Lord Greene.”
“Lord Greene, Bubba?” I say. “Really?”
Bubba and Mike doff their caps simultaneously and bow deeply in mock deference.
“Time to get busy, Simey,” says Bubba, grinning from ear to ear.
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