The Gloria Stories, Part 2
I didn’t want anybody I knew to see me wearing the hat, so with it I wore a disguise, a red wig and large sunglasses. The wide-brimmed straw hat was decorated with assorted plastic fruits, to which I had added real grapes.
The plot was that at the restaurant, whenever we noticed other luncheon patrons glancing in our direction, I’d find some pretext for bending head my head forward, and Gloria would pluck a grape from the hat and eat it, while I pretended not to notice.
We did that, but it wasn’t satisfactory. There was no noticeable reaction. People were too polite or the restaurant was too upscale or something.
The real fun didn’t begin until we went, separately, into Spencer Gifts. I’d bend down to examine merchandise on some low shelf and Gloria would sneak up behind me, pick a grape from my hat and pop it into her mouth.
Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of ceiling-to-floor mirrors in Spencer Gifts? Those are two-way mirrors. After Gloria had stolen several grapes from me, one of those mirrored doors swung open and out came a detective and accosted her.
I continued wandering about, pretending not to notice.
“Ma’am,” said a man’s voice behind me.
I turned to face the detective. “Yes?" Then, eyeing Gloria, "Is there anything wrong?”
“I caught this woman eating your hat. There’s no eating or drinking in the store, you know.”
I couldn’t resist. I said, “Well, I’ll eat my hat!” and then, glaring at Gloria, added, "I will eat it, not you!"
“So the question,” the officer continued, “is whether you care to press any charges? It’s petty theft.”
Ah, sweet revenge! I said yes.
Then after a moment, I said, “Can I think about it a few minutes?”
“Well, I mean…”
“I’m absolutely desperate for the ladies’ room!” I said, and bolted. “I’ll be right back!” I called, over my shoulder. “Hang on to that crazy lady!”
Instead of running to the bathroom, I sauntered over to the Orange Julius stand.
The girl behind the counter exclaimed, “Oh, I LOVE your hat!”
“Really?” I said. She loved this gaudy, tasteless thing? Well, not exactly tasteless, but… The grapes were nearly gone and many, ugly, twisty stems were now adorning the front of the hat.
“Oh, yes!” she assured me. “It’s great!”
“Would you like one or two of the grapes?” I asked.
“You mean they’re real?”
“Sure! I wouldn’t have offered if they weren’t.”
“Oh... Well, in that case...would you mind if I took a strawberry?”
I let her take a grape instead.
I was about to order a drink when I remembered, no food or drinks inside Spencer Gifts. So back to the store I went and told the detective those grapes hadn't been worth very much, and if this woman would pay me enough to buy a large, cold drink, I would consider us even and would be willing to forego any formal charges.
Gloria, scowling, handed me three dollars.
"I hope you'll stay out of trouble from now on," I told her, sternly. "And now if you will both excuse me, I'm off to the Orange Julius stand!"
Gloria's drink was waiting for her when she joined me there a few minutes later.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The Gloria Stories, Part 2