He spotted a '94 Adams Tesselation [an antique rarity featuring dark and light mallards] hanging from a metal swinging arm down the aisle and quickly slid behind it. The air was dry, tasted like rubber glue, and suddenly sucked in at the click click of heels moving down the same aisle.
Discount section my foot... Somebody certainly likes ducks...
The Adams Tesselation swung back, revealing a tiny old woman with poodle-frizz hair and thick, cat's eye glasses. She squinted. Blinked up at Harold's red face. "Do you work here by chance, young man?"
Her thoughts didn't show any surprise at finding a man in an awful, pea soup green vest with Raymond Kraymon Carpet Co. screen printed in red across the front cowering behind a carpet. They also didn't seem to register the whole pea soup vest thing, either.
"Yes, miss, I do," he whispered in as sweet a voice as possible, under the circumstances.
The woman frowned, twiddled a knobbled finger in her ear. "What's that?"
Where is that son of a -
Harold clenched his teeth, grinning inanely, "How may I help you this lovely day, ma'am?"
That's better, little git. "I am looking for a," she trailed off, her eyes flicking towards the metal shelves above the salesman.
There's his manager. What was his name? Rich? Rick?
"A persian hearth rug", Harold mouths desperately. He's beginning to sweat again, he can feel the slick warmth of it on his arms and the sudden shock of wet cotton.
The woman scratches her wiry hair and digs in her baggage. "Siamese? No, that's not right," she pins the salesman with the magnified eyes behind her glasses. "That country everyone's trying to free now - Tibetan?"
"Persian hearth rug," he hisses through clenched teeth. His fingers twitch.
She narrows her eyes and leans up on her toes. "Are you quite allright?"
"No, actually," he levels down to her eyesight, nose almost brushing her greasy hook. "Actually, I am perfectly not quite allright. In fact, I am so not allright that if you don't go off and get that stupid sodding PERSIAN HEARTH RUG you may just end up in a shallow grave wrapped in the thing. Got it?"
The heavy lids fly back, and so does she. She skitters to the end of the discount section, remembers herself, and shakes a finger in Harold's direction. Naughty little... There is still a bit of ear wax on the tip, but she click clicks off again before the salesman can point it out.
Harold Cothanger breathes, sinking back against the rolls of carpet poking out from the metal aisle shelves.
A russle from the top. He looks up.