#AtoZChallenge, April 2, 2018, The Bargain Den
26 posts. 26 days. And 26 letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter, in April. Follow me as we visit the not-quite-normal retirement village of Twilight, Arizona, where reality clashes with the unexplained.
In today’s story, learn what lengths one woman goes through to end a relationship.
The Bargain Den
Lois Walker grabbed the truck keys from the hook by the back door.
“Are you coming?” She’d long ago abandoned the effort to not sound impatient. Life rushed at her, a thousand ideas a minute whipped through her brain, and she had no time for stupidity, ignorance, or waiting. Grab life by the horns and hang on had been her motto since day one of her sixty-five years.
Her partner, Deb, checked her purse, ambled to the refrigerator to grab a water bottle, then stopped to stare out the kitchen window.
Damned hummingbirds. I’m sorry we bought that feeder.
Lois turned her back. “I’ll be in the truck.”
Tapping my toes, waiting as always.
Lately, impatience had spilled over into rage, especially when it came to Deb. Although three years younger, she’d started acting older. Or maybe Deb’s recent retirement and their move to Twilight, Arizona had upset their routine. Whatever the reason, after ten years, Lois’ attraction slipped.
A full five minutes later, Deb stepped into the garage, testing the service door twice to make sure it locked. She settled into the passenger seat and arranged her purse and water bottle before clicking her seat belt. Lois tried to ignore these irritating habits and backed into the alley.
“We’re going to be late,” she muttered, swinging the F-150 toward 104th Street and the route south.
Deb checked her watch, another irritation. Why did she still wear one and not use her smart phone like everyone else to tell the time?
“It’s ten to nine. They won’t open without us.” She unscrewed the top to her water bottle, took a careful sip, then screwed it back on, not offering any to Lois.
“Uh-huh.” Maybe it was better to avoid talking.
Less than five minutes later, she pulled into The Bargain Den’s parking lot, joining at least thirty cars. A line of people waited for the doors to open.
“I told you.” Lois slammed the truck door then had to wait for Deb to open hers before she could lock the vehicle with the remote control.
She’s killing me. We’re going to have to talk soon.
She hustled to the back of the line, beating another woman who had the build of a supermodel.
“Sorry,” she said, and waved for the other woman to take her place. They were late anyway, what did another second matter?
“Thanks, but you were first.” The woman smiled and held out her hand. “I’m Jill.”
“Lois Walker. This is—” She turned to introduce Deb, but she still stood by the truck, rummaging in her purse.
“Forget it. Do you come here often?” She hated small talk, but Jill had been decent about her spot in line.
“First time. I’m looking for a chest of drawers. I just moved here from Wisconsin.” Her blue eyes smiled as well.
“No kidding. I’m from Wasau.” When Deb retired, they’d decided to exchange cold, black ice, and getting stuck in snowbanks, for 92% sun.
“Green Bay,” Jill said, pointing to herself.
“Go Packers!” they cried in unison, turning heads of those around them.
The line shuffled forward. Deb found first gear and joined them as the doors opened.
“Discount Thursday,” she breathed in awe.
50% OFF EVERYTHING EVERY THURSDAY claimed the window signage.
Shortly after moving to Twilight, they’d learned the area’s half-off day schedule. Salvation Army on Wednesday. The Bargain Den on Thursday. Goodwill every other Saturday. Add in estate and garage sales, and they’d found enough furniture and other items to resell and supplement their income.
Lois followed Jill to the furniture area.
“I saw a nice chest of drawers when I was here yesterday.” She’d scoped out the inventory and had her eye on a love seat. Twelve-fifty if she could snag it, and at least forty when she sold it through the various social media outlets she used.
It was still there, a nice neutral tan with no marks or tears. She tore off the sales ticket and looked around for anything new set out overnight.
Most of the furniture had little resale value, but adrenaline shot through her whenever she found a bargain like this.
She spotted Jill opening and closing drawers of a bureau and hurried to her side.
“Take the ticket if you’re thinking of buying it. It’s a wonder someone didn’t grab and hide it. This is a nice piece.” Her hand caressed the beautiful maple patina.
“I don’t know.” Jill stepped back and surveyed the bureau. “There’s no way to get it home.”
“I have a truck.” Lois pulled off the ticket and handed it to her. A spark leapt between them. No doubt about it, a definite vibe existed.
“Tell you what,” she continued, two thousand ideas a minute whipping through her brain. “I’ll buy it if you don’t, and if you change your mind, I’ll sell it back at cost.”
“That’s generous, but I think I’ll take it if you don’t mind delivering. I’ll pay.” Jill fumbled in her pocket as if to pull out a wallet.
Lois grabbed her arm to stop her. Another spark jumped in the air. Damn, it was like the 4th of July.
“It’s what I do,” she said, her voice husky. “Buy and resell. Deliver. I don’t mind.” She’d like to prolong this encounter for as long as possible. From the look in Jill’s eyes, she did, too.
“Do you trade as well?” Jill pointed to a sign.
TRADES WELCOME. SEE MANAGEMENT.
“Do you have old furniture? I can give you a better deal than what they have here.” Maybe they could take her on as a partner.
I’d like to take her on as a partner.
“Not furniture.” Jill lifted her gaze to the front of the store to an approaching Deb, who wove her way through the other shoppers. “Not furniture at all.”
Lois’ heart cha-thunked in her chest. She moistened her suddenly dry lips.
“I think that can be arranged.”
Jill looped their arms together. “Then let’s go see management.”
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Twilight, Arizona, all the stories now available on Amazon
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Tomorrow’s #AtoZChallenge, April 3, 2018, The Cameras
What if someone watched you in your home, their cameras hidden in plain sight?
Until then, blessings,