Thursday, June 28, 2007

Overheard at Chipperfields Part LXXIII (part deux) ...

Bonnie walked out of the arch way from the kitchen to the front of the store and stopped dead in her tracks, "What the hell is going on here?" she raised her voice, "we're not even supposed to be open, and we have a line up of customers already ..."

The cluster of people gathered around the counter looked at each other and someone said, "Customers? I don't see any customers."

"Honey," Ross' voice was soft and calm, his face reddening, "The only customers are J-- and The Rev, and they don't really count."

"You can say that again," growled Bonnie as she pulled a pump pot from the counter and jammed it under the brew machine.

"Hey?" exclaimed The Rev.

"Nice to see you too Bonnie," said J-- with a broad smile.

"I just meant," Bonnie's voice trailed off, "oh never mind." She glanced at her watch then looked up at Adeline who was standing nervously by the counter, "what time is it?" Bonnie's voice was harsh and sharp.

"Um," Adeline paused and hesitated before she glanced at her watch nervously, "it's almost 9 am"

Ross spoke up hopefully, "It's almost time to reopen."

Bonnie snorted but said nothing.

"It is time," said JayDee in an accent appoximating Rafiki from The Lion King.

Kriss smiled broadly and offered in a sing-song voice, "Sumpee Sanna Squashed Banana, Sumpee Sana Squshed Banana ..."

"What?" asked JayDee smiling.

"Shhhhhhh," said Kriss, "Dee monkeys are s-eeping' ..."

"What?" repeated JayDee.

"She's quoting from kids programmes," said a new voice from the front door.

"Hi Honey," said Kriss with a broad smile, "you not off to work yet?"

"Just need a coffee for the road," said Carter.

"Sorry," said Kriss, "but we're NOT open yet," her voice was sarcastic, and her gaze shifted to Bonnie who stood open mouthed at the implication, "and our Boss said we have to wait until we are officially reopened."

"I never said anything of the sort," said Bonnie.

"Well, you won't serve us," said J--, "and you insulted The Rev here, I would hope you don't give Carter special treatment just because he's marrying one of the staff here ..."

Bonnie's jaw dropped, "I never ..."

Everyone's laughter stopped Bonnie's comment.

"Give him a coffee," said Bonnie pointing to the pump pot under the brewer, "and give these two whatever they want ..." Her thumb jerked towards The Rev and J--. She glanced at Adeline who was still standing nervously leaning against the counter, "and YOU," nodding towards Adeline, who jumped nervously in response, "you can unlock the door and turn on the light. We might as well let everyone else in now ..."

"But honey," said Ross smiling, "it's only a quarter to nine, are you sure ..."

"Ross," Bonnie growled, and Ross laughed.

Adeline dashed around the counter and headed for the front of the store and unlocked the front door.

"There," said Bonnie, a satisfied grin on her face, "it's offical, we're reopen ..." she watched as Adeline snapped on the neon sign, "we're as good as new."

"Not quite," said Ross glumly.

"One word about your juke box Ross," snarled Bonnie with a smile, "and you will regret it ..."

Ross' shoulder sagged and he said nothing.

J-- stepped up to the counter, "I'll have my usual, and I'll buy Carter's coffee too," he put a ten down on the counter.

"I'll have my usual too," offered The Rev.

"Sure thing," smiled JayDee as she lifted the cup and began pumping the coffee into it, "anything else?"

"Not today," The Rev said with a laugh.

The front door opened and instinctively everyone turned and glanced at the two men who stepped through it into the store. The two men were wearing large stetson hats and cowboy boots.

The shattering smash of the mug falling from JayDee's hand to the floor did little to mask the gasp of shock she uttered. Her eyes were huge as she watched the two Ranchers approach the counter.

"Well, hello dawling," said the first Rancher in a heavy American drawl as he swept his stetson from his head and nodded at JayDee in greeting, "it's been along time ..."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Overheard at Chipperfields Part LXXIII

Bonnie wiped a drip of sweat off her nose as she looked up from the painting she was finishing in the front window. She noted JayDee and Kriss busily painting the wall where the couches would soon return, and she notice Ross carefully placing his remaining antiques on the new shelves built over the retail display behind the coffee serving counter. Behind the counter the part timers were busily getting everything set up. Bonnie glanced down at her watch.

"Can we be open in another hour?" Bonnie asked loudly.

Everyone nodded. Kriss answered, "If you keep working and stop worrying about what the rest of us are doing..." Ross winced and smiled to himself, carefully avoiding making eye contact with Bonnie.

Bonnie's jaw tightened.

JayDee smiled sweetly and said softly, "Bonnie, you're a little tense, just relax. We're all doing what we can, and we'll be open when we're open ..."

Bonnie's mouth tightened into a line as she dropped the paint brush into the jar of paint thinner and she stood up, "I have good reason to be tense," she snapped, "My business has had a fire. Some idiot teen agers drove through the front window, and now as the busiest part of the season is unfolding, I'm trying" her voice bordered on a shriek with the word 'trying', "to get it open ... I think I have reason to be tense."

Dani popped her head up from behind the counter, "Bonnie," she asked gently, "Have you switched to DeCaf yet?" Her eyes were wide, and a slight smile crossed her face, but not enough for Bonnie to notice.

"What does that mean?" snapped Bonnie.

"Oh nothing," said Dani, her face blank of all emotion, "You just sound like your knickers are on a little too tight today ..."

The rest of the staff stifled laughter and turned away, behind the counter Ross disappeared form sight, feigning the need topick something up off the floor out of view.

Bonnie stood for a long moment saying nothing. Her eyes met Dani's. Dani's face remained free of emotion, her eyes wide and bright.

"Dammit," snapped Bonnie as she picked up the jar of paint thinner and stomped into the back room, leaving her staff to snicker under their breath.

As Bonnie passed through the archway into the kitchen Dani called out, "We love you Bonnie ..." The growl from the kitchen indicated that her comment was heard. The staff burst into laughter as Dani finally cracked a wide, warm smile.

JayDee, Kriss and Dani all looked at each other and laughed as Ross peeked his head into view around the corner of the service counter.

"Is it safe yet?" he asked, with a smirk.

"Yeah," said Dani, she's gone out the back door to check on the patio. As the words escaped her lips a loud "thump" marked Bonnie's exit from the building.

"So," Ross ventured tentatively, "will we be open by 9 am like we said." He glanced nervously around at the tasks still left to be done.

"Absolutely," said JayDee, standing up and sweeping her hair back with one hand, "the only thing left is to get the furniture back in place. Hang the pictures and get the coffee on."

Kriss interupted, "The stock is all in place, the supplies are being put away as we speak. We just need to run a broom around and tidy things up and we're good to go."

"Good to go," repeated Dani as she lifted her coffee to her lips, "all we need now is our customers to come back."

"Where are they going to go?" offered a strange voice from the front door.

Everyone turned to see J-- entering the doorway.

"I'm sorry sir, we're not open yet. You'll have to leave and come back later, or we'll call the police to remove you," Kriss smiled broadly as she spoke.

"Sure whatever," said J-- with a broad smile, "I'll buy them a coffee when they arrive." He glanced around the shoppe, "It's looking good. Hard to believe a month ago it had a car sitting in the middle of it and it needed structural repairs to keep it from collapsing."

"Don't remind me," groaned Ross, "the beam they had to run across the front of the store alone was half the rebuilding costs and most of the time," his hand waved to the space above the front windows, "it didn't sit well with the tenants upstairs who were wondering night after night if they were going to awaken in the basement."

J-- snickered, "Yeah, but they got it done, and you wouldn't know about it unless you were here to see it yourself."

"True enough," said Ross, once again looking around the shoppe, and noting the amount of work that had been done recently, "I guess the up side is that this round of repairs got rid of the smoke smell."

"Hey, speaking of smoke smell," said Kriss with a smile, "where did you get the old juke box? It looks almost like the one you lost when you were on vacation." The last syllable dripped with sarcasm as Kriss' face broadened into a huge Cheshire Cat like grin.

"Um," Ross paused, not sure if he wanted to answer the question or not, then thinking better of it, he pressed on and replied, "I found it on E-Bay down in the states and bought it for a song."

"Not country and western I hope," said The Rev, as he stepped in the front door.

"Rev," Kriss, JayDee and Dani spoke in unison, and burst into laughter as he stepped up to the others standing in front of the counter.

"It's looking good," The Rev observed as he glanced around the shoppe, "looks like you're almost ready to go."

"Yeah, the only thing left to do is to bring the couches in from the truck out front," said Ross, motioning through the front windows to the truck parked out front at the curb.

"That's why I'm here," observed The Rev, "remember you asked me to come at Rotary last week?"

"Did I?" said Ross looking stunned.

"You did," said The Rev, "so let's get them in here and get this place open. Minnedosa needs a good cup of coffee again."

"Yeah," observed J--, "with The old Dominion Cafe and Chicken Delight-ful gone, and the other Chinese Food Place closing, we need all the coffee stops we can keep ..."

There was a nodding of agreement around the counter.

"T minus 47 minutes," observed Ross, to the bewilderment of the staff.

"What does that mean?" asked Kriss, a smirk crossing her face.

"That's how NASA does the count down for launching rockets and space shuttle and stuff," Ross stated seriously.

"Oh," said Kriss with a smile, "really?"

Ross stared at her not sure what else to say ...