If you missed the first installment, it can be found here
You can get your butt off the floor now, he’s gone. Fraidy cat sissy, that’s what you are. Why don’t you just tell him you don’t want to go out on a date with him. Stop avoiding it. This here’s a small town and you’re gonna have to face the music sooner or later. Just put on those big girl pants and be done with it, then you won’t have to be hiding out on no dirty floor no more.
Elouise cautiously got on her knees and grabbed at Gerts cane to heft herself up. She reached out for the picture but Gert pulled it to her chest. Nope, this one’s coming home with me. I kinda like the old style of the frame, could craft it back into shape with some paint and some doo-dads to snazz it up a bit. Five dollars, now that’s a deal. Besides, you owe me for making me talk to that fool Albee. So there, don’t want to hear nothing more ‘bout it. It’s mine fair and square.
She hobbled up to the checkout counter that was always covered in stacks of used clothing and knick-knacks. Hettie, the teenaged daughter of the owner, stood behind the counter cruising with her jet black fingernails on her cell phone screen, ignoring Gert as she set the photo on the top of the case. Gert looked down through the glass at the jewelry that sat in small boxes and on trays in the showcase, all costume stuff from the drawers of old dead people, she thought to herself and then spied the sapphire and diamond ring.
How much for that pretty ring, the blue one up there in the corner? Hettie finally looked up from her internet surfing, clearly annoyed, and sat the cell phone down. Glancing through the glass, she slid open the rear door of the case, her black claw-like nails reaching in like a spider moving in on a fly and pulled up a peach faux pearl necklace.
I said the blue one you nitwit. Blue with the diamonds, the ring. Big difference between peach and blue and a necklace and a ring, geesh. Hettie set the necklace back in the box and grabbed the ring and held it up.
I was getting the necklace to look at for myself, hadn’t seen it before and I kinda like it. I know what blue is, my hair is blue you old bag. Gert stared at her, appalled at what the young imp had said and held her hand out.
Well I say, can I SEE the ring Puhleeze? and Hettie held it up higher waving it in the air and laughed at her, her too loud donkey bray filling the room. See, right here, can you see it?
Gert glared at her from behind her thick glasses and held out her hand again. Give me the ring now….or I’ma gonna tell your Mom what a nasty little girl you are….you shouldn’t be working helpin’ good God-fearing folks with that mouth of yours, should get your sorry butt in church, learn some manners. Besides, I want to try it on you nasty child, make sure it fits. I’m not gonna steal it or anything, now hand it here.
Hettie held it between two fingers as if it were a dead cockroach and dropped it into Gerts shaking hand. She slipped it over her gnarled knuckle and was excited to find it fit perfectly. I’ll take this too, how much didja say it was?
I didn’t say how much it was. Just came in today in a box. Same as with that picture you’re buying. But it’s fake so I guess it would be ten dollars like the rest of the rings. She peeled the sticker off of the frame, wrote something in a big binder and bagged the picture up. Her blue and fading pink hair falling in her face and catching on the chain that reached from her ear to her lip. She looked up at Gert with a sarcastic smile. Is that your family in the picture by any chance, seems like your generation and all, must be late 1800’s at the very least, she said with a snicker and then went stone faced as Gert moved in close glaring.
Does it look like I’m a Catholic sweetie? she spoke with each syllable enunciated. I was the only child I’ll have you know, they done broke the mold and the oven too for that matter after they made me. One of a kind. Besides, this photo was taken well before my time too I must say, smartie. She reached her craggy fingers out to take the bag from the now startled Hettie.
Broke the mold she says, well thank heavens for that you old crow, she said under her breath as she handed Gert the bag. All sales final, and have a nice day, she said with a false smile as she slipped from behind the counter and went through the employee only entrance, her rainbow hair bouncing as she walked away.
Did you hear that young pup Elouise? Hmph, how very rude this generation is. Now if I ever talked to an adult that way, I’d be tarred and feathered. My Mama was a good woman, raisin’ me to be a fine upstanding citizen. Oh, and that hair color, now that just ain’t right I tell ya. Gert turned to look for Elouise who was already heading in the direction of the door. Did’ja hear what I said Elouise?
Gert tucked the bag under her arm and turned the ring this way and that in the sun that was streaming through the window, smiling as the crystals glinted like stars surrounding the big blue stone. The warmth from the band felt wonderful on her arthritic knuckle and as the sun hit the stone, it emitted a greenish glow and a small vibration shook her.
Elouise, come here, you gotta see this, I think it may be a magical ring. It’s glowing and moving I tell ya. Elouise? Where the heck you going Elouise? Yep, got me a steal here today I must say, a dead family photo and a magic ring. Knew something good was gonna happen today, yep, something amazingly good happening right here.
She grasped her cane with her gnarled hand, opened the door as the tin bell above her head rang, walked out into the steaming hot humid Florida air and closed the door behind her. Wait for me Elouise! Want to see the pretty bling ring I got?
to be continued…….