Goldie and Red Bear
Copyright 2009, John Manimas Medeiros
Goldie went walking downtown and looked for a good spot. She stopped at the plate glass window of the Red Bear and checked her face. Mr. Bear had all kinds of stuff in his window, ceramic horses, baseballs, boxes of chocolates, wooden model kits, five and dime magazines and books. Goldie noticed that her white-blond hair had become very curly. Her eyebrows were white-blond too, which didn't look quite right. Too much bleach, and things looked a little blurry too.
Through a little gap in the window display she saw all the magazines and newspapers inside the small, cluttered store. This would probably be a good spot to start. A young man with money would come in the store and look at the magazines and newspapers, and see her, and she could start a conversation. She went in. Mr. Bear was there, sitting behind his cash register, reading a paper. When she came in, he stood up, as though he was ready to take her money whenever she was ready, but he didn't look at her. She didn't have any money, either.
She looked and looked, at nearly naked women showing their stuff, sailors, men standing beside race cars or table saws, boats, giant letters spelling out SCANDAL! and HOLLYWOOD and SEX and LIES.
A young man did come in, he looked like he might be a college student because of his nice clothes, including a fluffy sweater with a letter "M" sewed on it. He picked up one of the magazines and opened it which you are not supposed to do. She saw her chance and approached him.
He just looked at her, surprised, but with no clear expression of interest.
She smiled and asked, "Would you like to take me to a movie?"
He said, "Why would I want to take you to a movie?"
She lifted her jersey and showed her bare breasts, young and clean and beautiful. His eyes popped like they were going to jump out of the sockets. She delighted in his rapture, and she continued holding her jersey up when she was supposed to pull it back down quickly, like her mother said. Then he let out a soft gasp and looked up at something behind her over her shoulder. She turned and looked over her right shoulder and while she was turned away his left hand leapt to her right breast and squeezed it twice like it was a rubber bulb.
"Oink! Oink!" he said as he squeezed, and then ran out the door, with the magazine.
Her hand had bumped his when she sped her jersey back down.
"Dammit!" she nearly shouted.
She turned to look at Mr. Bear, who just stared over his glasses at his cash register and didn't seem to have noticed anything. She felt mortified because you're not supposed to swear in public.
"Shit," she whispered.
She adjusted her clothes and brought a magazine toward his counter with the register, to ask how much it cost.
He still didn't look at her, just nodded his head.
He opened the register and said, "Be right back."
Mr. Bear went through an open doorway that had no door to it, and it was dark in the other room, which appeared to be no more than a big closet. No light went on, and it was quiet. She had no idea what he was doing. She noticed that the register was open, and there was a dollar on the edge of the counter. She lifted her hand with the intention of reaching into the register and feeling for a wad of money, but then she thought he was going to come back right away and if he caught her with her hand on the money she would be arrested and put in jail. She took the dollar, set the magazine with the picture of a flat-roofed house on the counter, and left Mr. Bear's store.
She always remembered that night, because that was the night she saw Grace Kelly in Rear Window and her life was changed forever. Not long after, she noticed that Grace Kelly did not marry an actor, but she married a prince and became a real princess. Many years later still, when she had become a grandmother, she remembered that Mr. Bear left a dollar on the counter.
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