Saturday, April 14, 2007

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part LXXII ...

The silence in the store was almost deafening ... the sizzle of the broken water pipe spraying on the exhaust system of the car ... the ticking of the car motor and the intermittent tinkle of glass falling to the floor were the only sounds as they followed J-- from the kitchen back into the wreckage strewn shop. They picked their way carefully through the debris, each of them looking awestruck at the carnage spread before them.

"Oh My Gawd," wailed Bonnie as she stepped past the ice cream cooler and the full extent of the accident became evident. Tables and chairs were scattered, the couches and counter were crushed under the weight of the car, and scattered everywhere was the remains of what moments ago had been a coffee shop brimming with beverages and refreshments ...

"Kinda puts the fire in a whole new perspective doesn't it?" snickered J-- as he poked at a soggy cinnamon wedge with his toe.

Jay-Dee and Dani snorted and supressed a smile.

As they stood the door of the car opened and three teenagers piled out on to the wreckage covered floor. They looked up and scurried over each other as they headed to the now gaping front windows and began running down the street.

"Hey," shrieked Bonnie dashing after them, "where are you going? Get back here ..."

Jackie, one of the EMS workers pulled her radio out and began talking into it, "Yeah, dispatch. I'm at Chipperfields, and we've had a bit of a problem." She stepped out on to the sidewalk and turned to watch the three teens flee, "Can you call the RCMP and let them know that a car just crashed through the front window and the suspects are running up the street?" She paused and held the handset up to her ear to listen to the reply. "They're running up toward the gas station ..."

Ross was pulling Bonnie back into the store as she continued to shout at the fleeing suspects running south on Main St.

"Dear, leave it to the police," pleaded Ross, "they'll deal with it."

"Yeah," added Kriss, "I know who they are ..."

"And where they live," added Abigail, the other EMS person quietly, "when the member shows up we'll get them where the kids are."

"Besides," added J-- with a grin, "they left their wallet and cell phone in the car." He leaned in the door and pointed to the items resting in the console.

A small crowd was gathering out in front of the store and people began talking and asking questions as they took in the vista of devestation spread before them.

Suddenly Jackie's voice cut through the din, "Will you all shut the hell up? I'm trying to listen to my radio and you're making too much noise ..."

Onlookers glanced at her nervously, but all of them suddenly silenced themselves.

"Thank you," Jackie said, shaking her head as she returned to her conversation on the radio.

"Maybe we should shut off the water?" asked JayDee noting the growing puddle of water that was spreading across the floor.

"Killing the power probably wouldn't be a bad idea too," observed Dani.

The two of them headed off to the back of the store to tend to that while The Rev and J--, lead Bonnie out to the street and to the passenger seat of their car.

"It's only a building," observed The Rev, "you can always rebuild it."

"Again," moaned Bonnie.

"We have the technology," offered J-- with a laugh, "we can rebuild him. Stronger, faster, more powerful ..."

"You watch way too much tv," said Ross shaking his head, on his face was a dumb-founded, "this is not some bionic man who needs to be rebuilt. This is a business."

"Oh I know," snorted J--, "but right now, you either laugh or you cry. And don't you think it is better to laugh?"

Ross stared at J-- and grinned slightly.

As the three of them stood by the open door of the car while Bonnie buried her face in her hands the RCMP car pulled up and threw on it's roof lights. The member stepped out with a smile.

"Bad day huh?" she asked as she strolled around the front hood of the car.

"Adds new meaning to 'Grand Re-Opening' doesn't it?" said J-- with a laugh.

The officer laughed as she walked over towards Jackie, who was still on the radio and the two of them began discussing with Kriss who the suspects were and where they went. As they spoke a second RCMP car pulled up, followed closely by a van from the Gas company. Across the street in the Hardware Store parking lot the editor of the town newspaper pulled up and hopped out of his car carrying his camera.

Ross looked around at the still increasing crowd and said, "Too bad we couldn't put on coffee for everyone ..."

J-- glanced around and laughed, "Yeah, we haven't had this big a crowd on Main Street since the Church fire ..."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part LXXI ...

The door opened and in strolled J-- and The Rev, both were smiling.

"So, how goes the battle?" asked J-- with a wide grin, "almost ready to re-open?"

"Almost," said JayDee as she flopped down on the couch and smiled back at the two men who were now standing glancing around at the clean up and restoration that the staff had been rushing to get done before Bonnie and Ross arrived home later that day.

"So, do Bonnie and Ross know about the fire yet?" asked The Rev.

JayDee shook her head as she picked up a coffee mug and sipped it, as she put down the mug she spoke, "We tried their cells, but they were out of service, and we emailed them, but got no reply."

"Did anyone just go up to the house and knock on the door?" asked J--, still grinning.

"I did," said Dani as she walked up from the back of the store. There were sploches of paint on her cheeks and in her hair, "But there was no answer."

"Did you look in the windows?" asked The Rev, his eyebrows lifting in amusement.

"No," said Dani, she paused then gave in to the smile that was fighting to come out, "actually I looked in all the windows and knocked on them ..." with that, she blushed.

"Were they home?" asked J--, a broad smile crossing his face, "or were they really out of the country?"

"I don't actually know," said Dani seriously, "I couldn't tell."

"Was Ross' car there?" asked The Rev.

"The garage was locked up tight, and the window blinds were drawn over all the windows too," said Dani, her face becoming more intense, "So, it could have been, but I just couldn't tell."

"Well," said J-- thoughtfully, the smile fading from his face for a moment, "when are they due back?"

"In about an hour," said JayDee leaning back on the couch and stretching.

"Gonna be re-opened by then?" asked The Rev.

"Yup," said JayDee, "we all worked the last three days after Cascade Cleaning came up and tidied up. We've cleaned machines, we've painted, we've re-decorated, and we've gotten everything ready. We are good to go ..."

"Congratulations," said The Rev, "but did you remember to get the baked goods ready to sell?"

"Yes," said JayDee, her eyes narrowing, "I thought of THAT." She glared at The Rev, show simply smiled back at her, "I had everyone do something at home, so our cupboards are well stocked."

"Good for you," observed The Rev, "that's why you get paid the big bucks right?"

"Sure," said JayDee, picking up her coffee and taking another sip.

"So, what's left to do?" asked J--.

"Not much," said Dani, "we've got everything done. We just need to turn on the sign, and wait for Bonnie and Ross to come back from their vacation."

"Their stay-cation you mean?" said J--, "I still think they were hiding out in thier basement."

"You never know," said JayDee, standing up and stretching as she picked up her coffee mug and headed over to the switch for the neon sign, "we ready?" she asked as her hand reached out to the light switch. Dani nodded and JayDee flicked the light on for the first time in five days, "Chipperfields is once again open for business."

"Yeah," said J--, "can I have my usual?"

"One Organic Manitoba coming up," said Dani as she headed around the counter, "you want your usual too Rev?"

The Rev nodded as he again glanced around the store, "Other than the loss of the crap on the top shelf over the office, no juke box and the new pictures on the wall where the juke box used to be, you'd never know there was a fire here less than a week ago."

JayDee nodded, "The only worry I have is the freezing rain this morning," she nodded out the winow, "all we'd need to have happen now is a car to come careening through the front window and shut us down again."

"Yeah like that would really happen," observed The Rev, "like they say - 'lightning doesn't strike twice.'"

J-- snickered behind The Rev, "now that you've said it, it WILL happen."

"I hope not," said JayDee glancing about the store nervously, "it's been a bad enough week, we don't need any more problems."

As she spoke the door opened and Kriss strolled in, "they back yet?" she asked as she glanced around at the work she and the other two had accomplished in recent days.

Dani and JayDee both shook their heads.

"They could be in any time," said JayDee glancing at the clock behind the counter.

"If they really left," observed Kriss laughing, "I still think they've been on a stay-cation in the basement. The picture we had was compelling."

"Yeah if someone hadn't left it on the table before the fire," said The Rev smirking as he glanced at J--. J-- shrugged and laughed as Dani slid his tea across the counter. s J-- reached for the tea JayDee gasped behind him.

"They're here," she observed pointing out the front window at Ross' car that had just pulled up at the curb. The view was blocked momentarily by to EMT personnell walking past the front window and coming in the door.

"You open?" asked one of the Paramedics.

Dani answered with a nervous smile, "Yes, what can I get you?"

The other paramedic replied, "Two Rolos to go please?"

"Coming right up," Dani was nervously watching Bonnie and Ross step out of the car as she spoke.

The store fell silent as those assembled watched with some apprehension as Bonnie and Ross walked in the door themselves.

"Hi," said Bonnie as she stepped into the store, her tone more of a question rather than a greeting. She glanced at the faces of all those standing before her and said accussingly, "Okay what the hell has happened while we've been gone?"

Ross stepped up behind her, his face was unshaven and looked relaxed until he notices the group gathered in front of the counter, "Oh oh ..." he said the smile leaving his face, "why does it look like someone has died ..." he glanced over to the corner and noticed the lack of a juke box and swallowed nervously, "and where is my juke box?"

"Ross. Bonnie," JayDee's tone was level and calm, "there is something I need to tell you."

"What?" Bonnie had the look of a deer caught in the headlights of an on comng semi, "what?"

"Well," JayDee was measuring her words and thinking of how to break the news of the fire gently, "last week we had a tiny problem with the juke box."

"What kind of problem?" asked Ross, his hand reaching out to a table to steady himself. He glanced around himself as though he were searching for a wayward Juke Box.

"It kind of started a fire," said JayDee quietly. You could have heard a pin drop, but no one had one handy to let fall to the floor, instead the only sound to break the silence was the shrill voice of one of the paramedics who suddenly screamed.

"Holy ..." she pointed out the front window, "that car is coming straight for us ..." Her finger pointed to the late model Taurus that was sliding diagonally across the intersection on a direct collision course for the front of the store. It was as though everything shifted into slow motion. The nine of them who were standing in various places around the front of the store suddenly began moving towards the back of the store while the car ricocheted off of the front of Ross' Toyota and then careened into the front windows of the store.

With a deafening crash the car shattered all four sheets of glass, crushed one of the couches and sent the display stand, the computer and the bar stool chairs flying across the front of the store. The car continued on its trajectory crashing through the display case, the counter and ploughing its way forward until it was resting in a heap of debris from which the glass fronted cooler was poking up. What was once a counter with an assortment of equipement, machines and coffee carafes was reduced to a broken pile of wood, metal, glass and assorted other items that no longer resembled their original purpose.

For a long moment the only sound that could be heard was the spray of water from the broken taps, the skitter of debris falling to the floor, and the intermittent tapping of the car motor as it cooled with various internal knocks and clunking. With a wisp of smoke, and a smattering of dust floating in the air, nine heads poked out from the kitchen doorway to take in the devestating vista spread before them.

They stood silently taking in the tableau with no one able to speak until J-- shrugged and with a broad mischievious smile said; "Gee, I didn't know you were planning on setting up a drive thru?"