Friday, November 28, 2008
Let's have another excerpt from The Best Selling Toy Of The Season. This takes place immediatly after the excerpt I posted two weeks ago. A beautiful clerk has just helped Tommy find a gag gift to take to a party, and now he's ready to check out.
Tommy glanced at his watch; he was going to be late. He hurried to the checkout line, and there time stood still. Every register had an enormous line, and it took forever to check out even one customer.
Finally, his turn came. He thankfully paid for his gag gift and joined the throngs of people either going out or coming in. He saw Bill English and lifted his hand to wave goodbye, but he didn’t see the woman in front of him until he plowed into her. Both he and the young woman who had helped him find his gift went sprawling to the floor. Something in her bag broke with a loud crash when Tommy’s knee smashed into it.
All the Super Mart employees in the vicinity came running, including Bill English. “Are you guys okay?”
“I’m fine,” Tommy assured him as visions of lawsuits danced in his head. “Ma’am, are you okay?”
To his horror, the young woman burst into tears. “You’ve ruined everything! Teddy and Michael are going to be so disappointed, and I guess they’ll stop believing in Santa Claus, but you don’t care.”
She jerked her bag toward her and held out two broken toys for Tommy to see. “These robots are all that my boys asked for this year. I put them on layaway back in September, and I finished paying for them today. They’re the best selling toy of the season. You can’t find them anywhere, and now you’ve broken mine.”
She shot Tommy a look of bitter enmity. Wiping the tears from her cheeks, she scrambled to her feet and stalked out of the store.
“Be ashamed,” lectured one of the customers. “You ruined her boys’ Christmas.”
“Yeah,” a man in the crowd contributed. “You could at least have offered to pay for it.”
The Super Mart employees nodded their agreement. “Look at the way he’s dressed. He’s got money to burn. He won’t even pay for Nikki’s loss, and it was all his fault.”
The crowd drifted away, and Bill picked up Tommy’s bag and handed it to him. “It was an accident, Tommy. I know you didn’t mean to do it.”
“Who was that woman? I’ll go back to the toy department and buy two more robots to replace the ones I broke. Give me her name and address, and I’ll have them sent to her tonight.”
Bill shook his head. “She told you the truth. Everybody’s sold out of those little robots. You can’t buy them anywhere.”
A look of determination came to rest on Tommy’s face. If Bill had ever seen Tommy in court, he would have recognized it immediately. Many of Tommy’s legal opponents shivered when this expression crossed his face, for as one of them put it, ‘A rotweiller would turn a steak loose quicker than he’d give up when he looks like that.’
“You let me worry about finding the toys. What’s her name and address?”
“Her name is Nikki Lane, and she lives in trailer number five in Higgins Court.”
“Nikki Lane. Isn’t she Dan Wakefield’s cousin?”
“Yeah, she is.”
“I thought so. Dan trains my horse, and he asked me to get her no account boyfriend to pay child support. Did they ever get married?”
Bill laughed shortly. “No, not hardly. He pays Nikki because he knows that he has to, but he doesn’t want anything to do with her or the boys.”
“Why not? Is he blind? She’s drop dead gorgeous.”
“Oh, you should have seen her six months ago. She dyed her hair brassy blonde and frizzed it all over her head, she wore enough makeup for three people, and her clothes made her look like a… well, you know.”
“What happened to her?”
“Her cousin came to visit and gave her a few pointers.”
“Oh. Could you write down the name of the toy for me?”
“Sure, but don’t hold your breath. I don’t think you can find them anywhere.”
The Best Selling Toy Of The Season will be available December 1 at www.midnightshowcase.com