Polished

Clack.  Aruba Sands.  Clack.  Caribbean Turquoise.  Clack.  Sunset Orange.  The petite brunette, gagged, bound, and thrown beneath the cargo cover of a small SUV, is Sunset Orange.  And a small bottle of shimmery, gold and tangerine nail polish that once lived in a shoebox above her lingerie drawer rests in the jeans pocket of her abductor.  Nearly a month ago…

***

She dropped by a drug store during her lunch break.  Her prescription was not yet ready and she had fifteen minutes to kill while she waited.  Before she left the counter she grumbled to no one in particular, “What’s the point of calling ahead if you have to wait once you get here?” I won’t be coming back here again, she thought to herself.

She strolled over to the cosmetics section as she checked her watch.  Secretly she was glad for the delay.  A promising day in the research lab had turned to shit while she slept the night before.  A few bottles of bacteria cultures decided to contaminate themselves when she had other plans for their demise.  So she had another sixteen-hour experiment waiting for her back at the lab.  No hurry.

A nail polish display caught her eye – Sizzling Summer Shades! – and it reminded her of an upcoming vacation.  Might as well pick up some Sizzling Summer Shades to wear on the beach, she thought, even if I’ll never see (clack) “Aruba Sands” or (clack) “Caribbean Turquoise”.  But, hey (clack) “Sunset Orange”, I will see you soon.

***

He observed her from the counter.  She spent a long time at the new high-end nail polish display near the front of the store and he felt his muscles tense.  He urged his manager to place the display there citing inventory control as a reason.  And so the cardboard stand was placed in full view from his spot behind the register.  He needed to see more of her but she kept her back to him as if on purpose.  His muscles tightened further.

She moved away and he busied himself with stocking cigarettes when she walked up to his station, three bottles of polish in hand.

“Did you find everything you needed?” he asked.

“Oh, yes, thanks.  I just came for a refill and ended up with more junk, ” she said while pushing the bottles towards him.  Finally.  A glimpse of what he ached to see.  “I can’t leave any store without picking up more than I came for.”

He scanned her hands in that instant.  Short – a little too short but that can be easily rectified – oval nails without polish, not even a clear gloss.  Most importantly, no disgusting, deceitful plastic nails.  Healthy.  Looks, race, age, body type, these things didn’t concern him too much.  She needed to be female and she needed the perfect hands.  Correction, the perfect finger nails. Strange, self-admittedly, but everyone has a preference.

He murmured an agreement and rang her up.  “That will be $25.55.  Do you have a savings card?” Please have one, please have one, he thought. You will save me so much trouble if you have one.

“No, I don’t,” she said. “Really? $26 for nail polish?  Guess I got carried away.  Oh, well, a vacation is a good reason to splurge I suppose.” Vacation.  File that one away.  Very handy.

He murmured again then asked, “Would you care to sign up for one of our savings cards?  It just takes a moment.  All I need is an email address and phone number.  You can fill out the rest later.” Just fill out the application, damn it.

“Will it save me anything today?  This isn’t my normal pharmacy.  I don’t know how often I will be back.”

“I’m sorry, savings won’t accumulate until your next visit.”  And…I just lost the address and phone number.

“No thanks.  I’m tired of keeping track of all of those cards and key things.  Too much information floating around.”  She swiped her credit card and handed it over for approval.  Bingo!  And she didn’t even have to hand me her card, he gloated.

“Oh yes,” he said. “I understand that.  The internet makes it hard to be anonymous.  Have a great day and enjoy your vacation.”  Ten to one, you have a Facebook account, JOCELYN H BRIARS.

“Thanks, you too! And I’m not leaving until the end of the month but I can NOT wait!”

***

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