Every once in a while a little something slips into the first draft that just doesn't make the final cut.
This is one of those scenes. I can' stand to just kiss it good-bye, so I thought I'd toss it up here. Meet Chase...The Pieman
He's one of the heroes of It's Simple Simon, releasing in August.
Copyright © 2012 by Lee Brazil
"I need to return these." He dumped the bag of bedding on the counter at the service desk.
"Yes, sir. How may I help you?" A bright perky voice and a wide smile weren't going to cover for stupid very long.
Chase took a deep breath and spoke in his slowest, calmest, please-understand-me voice. "I need to return these items." He nudged the bag closer to the vacuous clerk.
"Yes sir. Let's see..." The little blonde eagerly dove into the bag, pulling out sheets, pillow cases, blankets, and a fluffy comforter. "Oh yes. We carry this design."
"I know. I bought them here last week." Chase checked his watch. Someone behind him in the line coughed and he scowled. Keep your germs to yourself!
"Do you have a receipt?" Cherry red lips parted in an impossibly bigger smile.
"Right here." He handed over the receipt, waiting patiently.
The clerk accepted the receipt and peered at it intently. The smile dimmed a little. The brows drooped. The smooth brow wrinkled. The clerk looked back up at him, seeming to take in his size and appearance for the first time. "Mr. ummm?"
"Garvin, Chase Garvin." He supplied. "Is there a problem?"
"Just a small one. These items were on sale when you bought them."
"Yes, I know."
"I can't take these back if they were on sale." Pretty lips thinned to a stubborn line. The people behind him shifted and muttered. Heat rose in his face. Not sure why he was so embarrassed, it wasn't like he was paying in pennies or anything.
"The clerk in the department said I could bring them back if they didn't work as long as I had the receipt." He insisted.
"I see." The blonde reached for a pad of pink white and yellow forms and began filling it out with neat bubble writing. "Why are you returning them?"
"I bought a new bed." That was understatement. He'd bought a whole new bedroom, including king size furnishings, new paint, carpets, etc. to impress a man who wouldn't ever see them.
Blue eyes widened in disbelief. "That's not on here. I can't put that." She pointed with her candy cane pen—in June! "It has to be: wrong size, wrong color, flawed. Are they the wrong color maybe? Cause this color probably makes you look yellow."
Well, thank you very much! "No, this is the color I wanted. It might make me look yellow, but it makes my boyfriend's skin glow." It might be an exaggeration to call Simon his boyfriend, but...
Perky's turn to blush.
"Look, just put wrong size, okay? These are full size and I got a new bed that's king size."
It should have been all over. It wasn't. Perky picked up a small phone and mumbled into it, pushed the bedding aside. "I have to get the department head's approval since they were on sale." She seemed not to notice the restless natives in line behind Chase, but he was more than aware of the impatient huffs, the shuffling feet and the mutters. He was tempted to turn and run, but Perky had the linens, and he didn't have the refund, or the store credit, or anything, and it was a hefty sum of money.
When a few minutes later the serious faced department head approached the counter wielding a bright red pricing gun and a box cutter, he heaved a sigh of relief. "They didn't work," he blurted. "You said I could return them if they didn't work."
She looked at him, spun the pricing gun in her fingers, snapped her gum and clipped it to her belt. "Lessee what we got here." She peered into the bag, waved Perky over. The two conferred in tiny little whispers that Chase couldn't make out.
"You've opened them." The department head said, moving to the front counter. "I can't take them back if you opened them. I have no packaging to put them in."
"What? You didn't tell me that!" He scowled, checking his watch again. "How the hell was I supposed to tell if they worked or not if I didn't open them?"
Perky and the department head just stared blankly at him. "Who's going to buy them if they don't have packaging?" Perky asked matter-of-factly.
"For all we know, you used them, threw them in the bag and brought them back unwashed." The DH chimed in, nodding her chin resolutely.
"For fuck's sake. You can still see the crease marks where they were folded!"
"They smell like cologne." The DH said, as though that ended the matter.
"You've got to be kidding me. I just stood in this line, at this counter, when I have a plane to catch, and you're not going to give me my refund." He was going to miss his flight.
"No refund," The DH slammed her box cutter on the counter.
"Fine." He spun out of the line and the customers behind him melted out of his way as he stalked off.
"Sir!" Perky called after him. "Sir! You forgot your stuff!"
"Keep it!" He yelled over his shoulder. "The fuck am I gonna do with sheets two sizes too small?" Besides, even if he checked them on the flight, the airline would probably lose them. Not to mention, he'd have to pay extra for them to be on the flight at all.
Pounding feet skidded to a halt next to him. He glanced at the brave soul who'd approached him out the corner of his eye. It was the DH. He kept walking, lengthened his stride so she had to really hop to keep up.
She shoved the bag at him. "We can't keep this, it's illegal."
He ignored the bag. "I'm late. I won't press charges. Deal with it. You have no problem with unethical business practices. I'm sure you can find something to do with those sheets. Trash them for all I care."