The next day at nine o’clock in the morning I heard the main door open and come to a juddering halt as it collided with the door stop. A bell jingled loudly and I rose from my chair my hand’s gripping the desk firmly.
“I’m sorry, we’re not open yet. Call back at ten” The person stayed where they were.
I cleared my throat, maybe they didn’t hear me, “Excuse me, we don’t open until ten”
“Then why was the door unlocked?” it was a girl, late teens or early twenties I never was good at guessing ages. Her hair was cherry cola red and framed her face in a mane of mess. Her hair was the most exciting thing about her everything else looked plain and bored. Immediately I lost interest.
“May I speak to the manager?” she asked me politely while tucking a strand of hair behind her right ear. She was wearing strange home-made earrings; paper clips and metal tags from cans of drink.
“I am the manager” her eyes flashed with surprise but she quickly recovered. I felt my lips tugging into a grin.
“Oh? You look very young to own a bookstore”
“I get that all the time” I’m young, young enough to probably be in the same class as her if we were both in college.
“That’s good, means you’ve still got your looks” That was odd, no one ever said that to me before. Before I could ask her why she wanted to speak with the manager, the main door juddered open again and the jingling arose once more.
“Hey Joseph let me save you the speech. I know I’m late but you’ll forgive me when you see just how good my hair looks this morning. The hairdresser said-”
Claudine stopped talking.
“Who on earth are you?” Claudine was never known for her tact. The girl grinned, like she knew something huge that we didn’t.
“Why don’t you ask him?” the girl gestured to me and I knew I was in deep trouble. Claudine crossed her arms and frowned.
“Oh that’s how it is, eh Joseph?” she flounced off to the storage room in the back leaving me and the strange, annoying girl by ourselves.
“Thanks for that” I groaned.
“No problem” she lied, “how about I make it up to you with coffee. At twelve. In the Jolt” I got the feeling like she wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I agreed. When she left, Claudine emerged from the storage room eyes rubbed red raw.
“I never trust a person who does their own hair and she definitely does her own hair” She patted her blonde hair style falling in curls down her back and disappeared back into the storage closet. The only sound I heard from her until I left at twelve was the occasional muffled sob and large clunking against the wall.