Greetings, WYMOP readers!
I’ve posted before about where some of my story ideas come from. I’ve also occasionally written of my customers, and how fun and funny they can sometimes be.
This is one of those fun times when those two concepts collide.
I recently sold a short story to an titled “Moving House.” It’s a witch story, and in it I have a character, an old woman, who has a thick Russian accent. I believe in the story I compare her to Mr. Chekov, the helmsman in the original Star Trek series, who said things like “Keptin! I cannot awoid the alien wessels!”
That’s, Captain! I cannot avoid the alien vessels! for those of you who never saw the show. Anyhow, I was concerned I may have gone a little overboard with the portrayal of her accent. Luckily, I have several Russian folks on my route, and for several of them English is definitely a second language—and don’t think I’m knocking them: I speak six words of Russian that have nothing to do with food, so they have it all over me in the language department. This brings us to Mrs. F.
Mrs. F. is the matriarch of a family who apparently runs an antique shop, and she occasionally receives things registered or insured in the mail—stuff requiring a signature, in other words. She doesn’t speak much at the door—she’s polite, but no chatterbox—and she always thanks me by handing me a little box or canister of cookies. I do my job: I get cookies. It’s a great deal for a guy with a sweet tooth, and they’re usually gone in less than an hour. Fifteen minutes, if I walk into it feeling peckish.
Lately, though, she’s begun receiving more registered mail. Like two to three times a week, compared with her usual once a month or so. I don’t know if that’s a good sign or bad for her business, but I do know one thing: she’s been giving me a lot of cookies. So many that the other day, when she handed me a packet of sugared butter cookies, I actually felt guilty, and decided to say something.
“Mrs. F, thank you, but you know you don’t have to do this.”
“No,” she said. “Don’t be silly. You take.”
“Well, okay,” I said, thinking hey, I tried. “But you’re going to make me fat.”
The door opened a little wider, and she looked up at me. “No. No. You swit. Yes? Walk all day. Hot day. You walk, you swit.” She stepped back and spread her arms slightly. “I swit all time. Do I fet?”
It was the most she’d ever spoken to me at one time, and she was asking me “Do I fat?” in a perfect Mr. Chekov accent!
I looked her right in the eye and said, “No, Mrs. F. You do not fat.”
She made a satisfied sound, pressed the cookies into my hand, and closed the door. I walked out to my mail truck, chuckling, satisfied that I’d done the accent in my witch story justice. And eating cookies. Then, just as I was climbing into the driver’s seat, it hit me, and I sat for a minute staring at my sweet snack.
What if she’s the witch from Hansel and Gretel, I thought, and she just brought some of her old kid-fattening stock with her when she retired?
I vowed right then to fly like the wind if Mrs. F. ever asks me in to help her with the oven.
I’m also almost done with a short story titled “Do I Fat?”
Talk to you later!