Saturday 21 June 2014

'When you know, you know' by Gemma Govier

My grandmother left the shop to me, saying “Everything comes to he who waits”. She always talked in cliches. Every dog has its day, I thought. Nobody expected me to inherit, least of all myself. I suppose they all thought I would run it into the ground, make a dog's dinner of it, after all a fool and his money are soon parted. Well I didn't. It turned out I took to it like a duck to water.

Every day was the same. I started with the dusting and gave the silver an extra polish. I made sure grandmother's clock behind the counter was straight and showing the correct time. Then I hoovered and tidied before pulling back the iron door bolts in order and turning the key in the lock. Finally, I flipped the closed sign over before standing guard behind the counter. I was successful because I knew what they wanted. Office workers on their lunch break; a watch battery replacement. Well turned out young couple “in love”; an engagement ring from our premium range. Less well turned out couple “in love”; an engagement ring from our value range. And so on. I actually knew what they were thinking. I had a gift. The last young couple “in love” I had in here were a case in point. She was thinking my shop was old fashioned and she wouldn't wear a ring from here if you paid her. He was thinking about another woman. I treat them all the same, of course, because that's business.

The day he came in I knew straight away. I almost enjoyed it because of the shock on his face. He wasn't expecting me to be ready. I pulled out grandmother's gun from its resting place under the counter. A place for everything and everything in its place. He thought I was a foolish old man who he could rob blind. “Rob me will you?” I said. Then a devilish idea came to me, “Put your watch on the counter, your wallet and your phone” I said. What a joke, I was robbing a robber. “Now walk slowly backwards with your hands up”. The sweat was pouring from his brow as he did what I asked. Then he finally turned and made to leave my shop, tripping over the doorstopper as he went. More haste less speed, I thought.

“And don't teach grandmother to suck eggs!” I called after him.

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