She showed up in my office on Monday morning like the crack of doom. She walked with a purpose, stomping her stacked heels across the cheap parquet floor. I could tell she was on a mission and wasn’t going to be put off.

I took a deep breath, wishing I had a slug of whiskey to clear my head. Or muddle it. I knew what she wanted, and I wasn’t about to give it up without a fight.

She stopped in front of my desk, the folds of her polka-dot sundress swirling around her knees and her arms crossed under her bosom. My gut was twisted tighter than a strand of DNA, but she looked as cool as the other side of the pillow. I sat perfectly still, my feet propped on the edge of my desk, next to the overflowing ash tray and well-thumbed copy of Kirkus Reviews.

“You know what I’ve come for,” she said in stern voice. “It’s long overdue.”

“And if I say no?” I tried to sound nonchalant.

“You won’t.” Confidence. Yeah, she had it in spades.

I decided to try a different tack and put on my best roguish smile. The one that always got me an extra shot in my Irish coffee from the gals down at O’Malleys.

“Listen, sweetheart….” I didn’t get any further. She was around the desk and opening up the top drawer before I could even stammer a protest. There it was, right where I’d left it, the latest volume by Elmore Leonard, with it’s uncracked spine and pristine pages. As she placed it in her leather tote, I choked back a sob. Real men aren’t supposed to cry.

“I told you two weeks for new books,” she lectured, her ruby lips frowning in consternation.

“But it was just getting good,” I appealed.

Suddenly, her eyes softened a bit.

“I understand. Really I do. But I have a responsibility to the whole community.”

I nodded. She was right. Damn her. I watched her go back the way she had come, taking the book, and my dreams, with her. At the door she turned,

“By the way, we just got the newest Carl Hiaasen in. And I’ve already reserved it for you.”

And with that she was gone, on her way back to her quiet shrine of learning, leaving behind a scent of cotton blossoms and a sense of hope.

What a swell dame.


I’m Katie.
Drop me a line.
A.Swell.Dame AT gmail DOT com


One Response

  1. For such a dainty wren, you’ve got a swat that packs a wallop- and you can knock out my optics anytime.

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