Elouise stood hunched over in her flowing lime-green mumu and hot pink pearl jeweled sandals, flipping through the stack of frames, her mouth puckering as she hemmed and hawed over the images of dreary birds, seedy landscapes and the dead.
Check this one out Gert, she yelled across the room to the wrinkled white-haired fossil in neon pink across the room. Wonder who these folks were, bet they were Catholic. Look at all those kids. Damn if I wouldn’t seal my legs closed after the first two if I were that breeding mare, yep, damn right I woulda. She held up the sepia image in the old wooden frame towards her friend.
Gert pulled her head out from between the mottled fur coats and down jackets, peering from behind her Coca-Cola thick glasses, she squinted towards the picture and wrinkled her nose. Her cane wavered in her hand as she shuffled past the prom gowns and scarves that she pushed away cautiously, as if they were snakes hell-bent on seizing her and dragging her into the depths on the rack.
Holy Moly, you got that one right Elouise. Although they all looks to be ‘bout the same ages give or take and I don’t recall one woman giving birth to a litter that big, a hound dog yes, but not no woman that I ever heard of. She reached out for the small image and Elouise handed it over, turned with a nod and resumed flipping through the rest of the photos on the shelf. Gert turned the photo over and pushed her glasses farther up her nose to get a better look.
It smells kinda funny in here today, wouldn’t you say Elouise, she said with a snort and with dismay, turned to see the large man in sweat stained clothing loping her way with a crooked smile smeared across his grease smudged face. Elouise caught her breath and looked panicked. Gert let out a sigh.
Oh God, here comes Albee, dang, there’s nowhere to hide. Her eyes darted both ways but Albee seemed to be blocking the only escape route. Elouise slipped down behind the stack of pictures. Lemme know when he’s gone, and don’t be paying him too much lip service, just send him on his way, and quickly too!
Gert moved forward blocking the view of Elouise and Albee stopped a few feet shy of her.
Well hey there now Miss Gert. How y’all been doing? Haven’t seen much of Elouise round the shop lately, I hope everything’s okay with her. I kinda miss hearing that sweet voice of hers.
Gert raised her eyebrows and took a step forward as Elouise’s hand reached out and grabbed her from behind by the hem of her skirt to keep her right where she was. She stopped and stayed put.
Albee Kincaid, nice seeing you here. It’s a hot one out there, for sure. Nope, haven’t seen Elouise in a few days but I’ll let her know you’re missing her next time I see her. Now you get on with yourself, and why don’t you put on a fresh shirt, that ones getting riper than the mangos rotting on the ground at my house. Albee rocked back and forth on his feet and looked down at the ground. I’m a bit pressed for time here so I’ll just let you skeedadle back to your shop now, kay? Oh, and have a nice day too.
She turned away from Albee, carefully blocking Elouise from his view and looked down at her friend who sat like a caged cat behind the shelf.
A loud “hmph” escaped her tight lips. She looked at her friend with a glare, annoyed now at having had to deal with the man. Albee shuffled away, the scent of body odor hanging in the air like a foul-smelling cloud, as he slipped out the front door like a frightened church mouse, the tiny door bell ringing out his exit.
To be continued……
A story I’ve been working on based on this picture I bought at a thrift store awhile back…..let me know what you think, good, bad or otherwise 🙂