I sat at the back of the jewelry store curled up in the brown leather chair, hidden behind the glass display cases. We should have closed an hour before, but Aunt Merelda was waiting for something.
She streaked through the small store, touching this, straightening that, making sure everything was perfect. My mother had established the store before she died, which made it mine, but Merelda lived and breathed this store. At least, she did when it suited her, and today it suited her fine. She shined the rosewood panels and glass panes on the display cases. She made sure no hint of dust remained on the artifacts scattered tastefully around the place.
The collection consisted mainly of drums and tribal jewelry, which were not for sale under any circumstances. They were my mother's, things she picked up from all over the world before she had met my dad and settled down. I stroked a feather that hung from a Native American drum, remembering the anthropologist who had come in last summer. He had begged me to sell him a few pieces from what I called the 'permanent collection'. I refused. Instead, Merelda sold him a pendant for his wife. Merelda swore the necklace would be of more benefit than any 'moldy old drum'. Her words, not mine. His wife was thinking of leaving him; any bit of goodwill he could get from her would do him good.
Eventually Aunt Merelda went into the storeroom to put her clothes back on.
“Why do you keep doing that?” I asked through the closed door.
“Doing what, dear?”
“Streaking. Through the store.”
Merelda came into the front room, buttoning her blouse. “Look at it this way. We work in a store where nothing's for sale except a few crappy trinkets.” She pointed at the camera mounted near the ceiling, “Might as well have a little fun with the security men!”
Opening: Lela Simon....Continuation: Gwen Ever