Tata: Okay okay okay, just about the time I would usually close the family store I’m helping a lady at the half-price jewelry section, which is at the very back of the store. We’re looking at half-price necklaces without price tags when over her shoulder by the back door I see something move. Then I see it again. It’s a field mouse! I thought the top of my head would blow off.
Pete: Did you step on it?
Tata: Are you kidding? I had a customer! And the new goal of my entire being was to focus her attention away from the indoor wildlife. She made me a wacky offer for the jewelry and I plastered a springy smile on my face. I said something like, “Gwabbflep blibbity jooop,” which she understood to mean, “I’ll wrap that up for you.” In any case, she didn’t look for the exits, which could have been reasonably disastrous.
Pete: So what did you do?
Tata: She asked if we had Halloweeny stuff and I almost burst a blood vessel with happiness. “That’s up in the front of the store. I’ll show you everything.” I dragged her to the front, where she found more things for sale. She liked bags of wire spiders and found a crappy fairy doll thing I wouldn’t mop cobwebs with but it didn’t have a price tag either. I saw my chance, picked up her merch and ran for the back door. The mouse, however, took umbrage at the open door and ran the other way, eventually deciding the completely visible corner by the bathroom was where he’d sit and hyperventilate.
Pete: So…now did you step on him?
Tata: No way, Jose. I called the toy store, where my sister Corinne answered. I purred into the phone, “I need your help desperately.” A moment later, Corinne appeared at my side. We talked about the mop-like remaindered doll as the customer wandered over to another jewelry counter. I leaned in very close and whispered in Corinne’s ear, “There’s a mouse by the bathroom door.” Corinne didn’t move a muscle but whispered back, “Where?” I tossed my head as only a distressed Jersey chick with high hair history can in the direction of the pitiful thing. Corinne and I both smiled like we were radioactive as the customer came back to settle up. Then, Corinne was over by the bathroom door, doing something. Then she wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know what happened, because at this moment, the customer decided she wanted to chat.
Pete:Omigod, it’s Fawlty Towers over there! What’d Corinne do with Basil the Rat?
Tata: I don’t know! Corinne’s an animal lover. Anyway, she was gone and less than two chatty minutes later, my brother-in-law Dan popped in the back door and said, “Hey, did someone have a question?” I said, still smiling like my face was on springs, “Ask Corinne.”
Pete: Then what?
Tata: I closed the store and bought a bottle of wine I could drink through a straw.