Monday, 26 January 2009

Shop Girl Lives Dangerously


Rita used to have the market stall in front of our shop.
She’s known me since I was as big as a bedside table lamp.
I watch her looking at the picture frames and it dawns on me that I’ve never given her a hug.
“How are you?” I say, rubbing her arm.
“Alright...” She glances at the door. “Don’t you get afraid when you’re in here all by yourself?”
I notice that I’ve left the yellow Stanley knife on the display shelf.
“No, not really,” I say.
I reach over and pocket the knife.
“Do you remember the man who took the clock?” she says.
“Yes. My brother got it back though.”
He’d gone for the thief like a tiger.
He’d jumped so high he’d got the guy’s cap as well as the clock.
“You should keep the door shut,” Rita says.
“But then no one will come in.”
I spot a screwdriver on the floor and pick it up.
Perhaps I should be more worried. This shop is armed.
“It’s not that easy to steal a chandelier,” I say.
Unless it’s lying on the floor.
“And you’d probably break it before you got too far.”
“Well...” she says.
Frankly, I’m in danger of being knocked out before anyone’s even come in.
It’s the low hanging lights.
You either stand up underneath one and get concussed, or you get caught up in the crystal.
Yesterday I got hooked up in the shop window.
I was crawling around the picture frames when my hair was pulled back by a gold-plated special offer.
The more I struggled the more tangled I became.
I was stuck.
Passersby looked on and wondered what sort of bulb I took. Maybe they thought my transformer had packed up.
Shoplifters could’ve cleared the whole shop out in the time it took me to break free.
We call them Dippers.
They work in twos or threes.
One of them fires endless questions at you while the other does the stealing.
“How much is that light?” they’ll say, pointing at the ceiling. “Is that good for a bedroom?
I’ll feel something is wrong.
“What about that one?” they keep on, “is that good for the kitchen?”
They point upwards to keep my eyes away from their friend who is either trying to nick stuff from the front of the shop or slip pass me to get to the till.
I’m less worried about offending now than I used to be.
I don’t follow the finger.
“Yes, it’s great for the bedroom,” I say flatly. “It’s great for the kitchen. In fact, you can put that light anywhere you want to.”
“What, that one?” they insist.
I stare ahead.
“Yep.”
“What about that one?”
“Yep. Perfect.”
Someone tried to take a bulb without paying for it once.
I was too annoyed to be afraid and pulled it out of his hand.
He told me to stick it up my derriere.
Charming, I thought, but I was smug I’d got it back, even if I was more snatching monkey than leaping tiger.

5 comments:

Max said...

Laugh out loud moment: more snatching monkey than leaping tiger!
Love it Em!! :)
xxxxx

Anonymous said...

Your wit certainly comes from mum. Enjoying the blogs keep em comin as they remind me there is life outside of working in lighting shops and their perhaps not as boring as they feel!!!
Paul Howie

A. Keri said...

Just read your latest-it's brilliant. You're going from strength to strength. Love the understated humour and the way you develop the theme, with a neat little tie in at the end. Well done shop girl!

piera lizzeri said...

you go my little tiger padawan....may the crystal be with you.

lucinda said...

Love it.
Hate the thieving little snakes.
Matt
x