Possibly I was a little too impressed with the young lady for when I left Chang's I felt the need to pay my respects to my Mary. A little guilty conscience maybe; but more likely the pretty Colleen had stirred within me the desire for a little feminine companionship.
I try to time my dutch apple pie break about mid-afternoon, around three-ish, but two o'clock was close enough. I was having a very good day, the meter closest to the entrance to Shirley's was open. Beneath the front seat of Old Gray, I keep a discarded "Out of Service" bag for the meter. i know it's not BPD policy, but I sure find it saves me from having to hunt down nickels and dimes during the course of a day.
When I entered this home away from home, Shirley met me with a couple of messages, one from Scarborough and one from Sharkey, but both with the same message, "Call In." Mary was cleaning up the counter following the last of the lunch rush, polishing the chrome knick knacks: salt and pepper shakers, the cream pitchers, the napkin holders.
"Mighty early today."
'Yeh. I was on the way so I thought I better check my answering service."
"Pie and coffee?"
"The guy came by this morning and put some new records in the jukebox." Mary then turned to Shirley, "Hey, Shirley, okay if I play the jukebox for awhile?"
"Close your eyes, Ian. Nobody's suppose to know where the free play switch is." Mary walked out from behind the counter and push the secret code into the ivory buttons ... P333P1. The Wurlitzer lit up and then Mary added her first selection. "I think you'll like this one, a new one by Patti Page."
That magical contraption slipped the 45 out of its slot, S4, and onto the turntable. As Mary returned she gave Shirley a wink. And I thought, "Now what's this about?" Then Patti Page began to sing in that sultry voice of hers ...
When the kisses get so long that you can't catch your breath
And the huggin' gets so strong that it's gotcha scared to death
Most people get married
That's what they do-o-o
Most people get married
And that's what I wanna do with you
"Oh, brother." That's what was I thinking as I turned to catch Shirley and Mary just having a good old time at my blushing expense.
"Ah, don't worry, Mac," Shirley jumped in, "surely Mary will find somebody better than you before long."
I shook my head, ate my pie, drank my coffee and was mighty thankful when the next song up was one by the Four Aces.