May 25, 2006

At my first break, you can bet your sweet bippy that I walked down the street to see exactly what Jo-Ann, that megalomaniacal velour-selling bitch, had wrought. All morning, I had mentally tried out certain scenarios. Was Jo-Ann selling their cotton prints for fifty percent off? Seventy-five percent off? Did they carry a new line of novelty crafts for pre-teens? A celebrity in-store appearance? But none of my ideas had the requisite nightmare quality that would make Taffy weep and Lois slam doors.

No one had eaten any of the apricot coffee cake I had brought in that morning. It was a silent and miserable day, made even worse by this gut-churning suspense.

As I got closer to Jo-Ann Fabrics, I could make out a large red banner hanging over the entrance. "Come pump?" I read, at first (I wasn't wearing my glasses, dearies, naughty vain Mrs. Filthy!).

Then, with a few more steps, "Come Pimp Your Ride with Jo-Ann!" The full significance only hit me when I saw the front display, however; teddy bears, wearing do-rags and sunglasses cavorted among cut-outs of enormous tail-finned classic cars.

I couldn't endure the sight for long and had just turned to leave when I heard a wheedling voice from across the street. "Mrs. Filthy? Yoo hoo!" Honestly, who even said "Yoo hoo!" anymore? But, mes amis, I knew, even without looking. I glanced across the street and saw the mantis-like figure of Mary Barlow waving her raptorial arms at me.

"Do you have a moment, Mrs. Filthy?" Her simpering was so obnoxious, I could see it from the other side of the street. She was the last person I wanted to talk to. We had a history, that Mary Barlow and I, and it wasn't a pleasant one.

I merely shook my head and kept walking, but within moments, I heard the click-click-click of Mary Barlow's heels behind me. She had actually left her home territory to pursue me.

"Mrs. Filthy! Wait, please!" The tinge of desperation in her shrill voice made me pause. Desperation in those I don't like is always tres interesting.

"I can't believe you, Barlow," I hissed. "You're a common thief." But I had made my mistake in stopping, and Mary Barlow took that as an opportunity to bend my ear.

"Mrs. Filthy, why don't we let bygones be bygones?" She was trying so hard that her voice ratcheted up another octave. Soon, she'd have all the dogs in the neighborhood howling. "I think we could work well together if we tried."
"Why would I even be interested in trying?" I said as evenly as I could, but mais oui, I was getting a tad agitated.

Mary Barlow's fuschia mouth twisted into a smirk, but her cockiness only made me despise her more. "I could make you a full manager. You've been in that dumpy ol' Lois' shadow for too long. You're the one with the ideas, Mrs. Filthy."

"Get thee behind me, Barlow," I replied. "Not interested."

"I'll bet you a Singer XB500 Threadmaster that I could give you at least a twenty percent raise," she crooned.

"I've got to go back to work," I said curtly. I suddenly needed to be surrounded by my Hancock Fabrics friends, even if they were moping.

"And by the way," I added. "Your teddy bear display is tres gauche."

This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman