Business is quite brisk at The Greene Grocer these days — truly the mutt’s nuts — and I am afraid I don’t have enough arms or legs to keep the shop running properly. I shall need an employee.
The question now is, “Whom among the town’s parade of eccentrics shall I choose?” I put the question to one of my regular customers: a stout, country woman called Sandra Bullock. Unlike her famous namesake, Sandra is as ugly as the back of a barn door, and perhaps as wide; but she’s delightfully funny, with a 24 carat heart.
“Well,” Sandra offers with a gleam in her eye, “you could ask Stella Lee from up near Devil’s Port. She’s the one who writes all them poems. Modeling herself after Sylvia Plath, she says. But she probably wouldn’t work for you long, if you know what I mean.”
“Very funny,” I reply. A literary bumpkin, this Sandra Bullock. It occurs to me that life in Chipping Norton is like living in an American version of The Vicar of Dibley.
“You could always ask Dog Walker,” says Sandra, now grinning from ear to ear.
“Sorry, Sandra, old girl,” I say, “but who is Dog Walker?”
“Real name’s Clarence Williams, but everybody calls him Dog Walker on account of all them dogs he totes around. You seen him. He likes to dumpster dive out back of Mitzi’s Bar and Taxes.”
“Oh, now you’re just taking the piss, Sandra,” I say. “What about you? Are you available part time?”
“I reckon I could give it a try!” she says, gleefully scurrying behind the till. At that moment a familiar slate blue Subaru eases to a halt outside the shop window, and the taut young woman who visited the shop weeks ago emerges, her mobile phone affixed like a growth to her ear.
“Good morning, and welcome to The Greene Grocer,” chimes Sandra Bullock. The young woman raises her little finger in acknowledgement and sweeps across the room to the coffee section without interrupting her cellular monologue. She paws one bag of coffee, and then another, finally selecting the perfect one, which she plops down in front of Sandra at the till.
“Is this coffee locally grown?” the young woman asks over her mobile.
“It’s coffee, darlin’,” is Sandra’s sweet reply. “And this is Virginia.”
“Yes, I realize that,” retorts the young woman with well-practiced arrogance, “but is it locally grown?”
Sandra’s mouth works up and down for an imperceptible second, but no words come out. An instant later she answers, “Why yes, darlin’, it certainly is. Let me ring it up for you. Is there anything else I can get you today?”
The young woman pays for her coffee and breezes out of the store, engaged once again in vigorous one way conversation. I look at Sandra in utter amazement, and she beams back at me before we both erupt in howls of laughter.
“You’re hired!” I say, wiping away tears of joy.
© 2014 Middlechurch Musings, LLC