Thursday, 3 April 2008

Episode 26 - The Grand Opening

Ken groaned as he lifted the last box from the van ‘Where do you want this one putting?’

‘Just leave it on the trestle table babe, I’ll unpack it in a minute’ Lizzie called from the back of the van.

As much as it pained him, Ken had to admit that Lizzie was thriving on all this hard work. She had spent hours securing this pitch in the market, and days sorting all the stuff that Frankie had sent out from England. Though, who would want to buy this stuff god only knows. Who wants a picture of rocks on their wall? He thought for the tenth time this morning.

‘You’ve got some strange clobber here Lizzie, are you sure you’re going to be able to flog it?’’

‘What do you mean strange, this is classy stuff’ said Lizzie pushing her fringe out of her eyes, ’it’ll sell like hot cakes, have some faith’ Not now she thought, please don’t start with the negative comments not when I can see Michael and Sonny coming over. ‘Hi boys, see anything you fancy, I haven’t quite finished setting the stall out yet though, give me another five minutes and all will be revealed’ she giggled.

‘You do realise that it’s a waste of time flirting with those two’ moaned Ken as Sonny and Michael made their way over to the fruit stall. Lizzie looked to heaven ‘Oh shut up you soft sod and take this box off me’

It was nearly half an hour later before Lizzie had the stall looking exactly how she wanted it. The pictures and the wall hangings were grouped along the back while the table had the cushions neatly on display to left, ornaments in the centre and large bowls of potpourri to the right. As she finished setting out the plastic wine goblets on a tray she asked Ken to fetch the orange juice and the Cava from the cool box. At the far end of the market Ken spotted Sonny and Michael heading for their car. ‘It looks like your boyfriends have given up waiting for you’ said Ken plonking the bottle down on the stall.

‘Michael’ yelled Lizzie ‘Sonny, you can’t go home yet, come and have some Bucks Fizz?’

‘Lovely, I could just do with a drink’ called Sonny pulling Michal away from the car ‘We’ll be right over’

I’m sorry about earlier’ said Lizzie as she passed them their drinks. ‘We didn’t realise how long it would take to set this all up. We’ll need to be here by seven o’clock next week if we have a hope in hell of being ready for a nine o’clock start.

Ken looked at her from over the top of his sunglasses ‘that’ll be the royal we I suppose’

Michael laughed ‘I’m sure you’ll get quicker. You’ve got some lovely stuff Liz. I’ve been looking everywhere for new cushions and these would look perfect on our spare bed. What do you think Sonny, isn’t this the most perfect shade of blue.’

‘You’re right they’re a perfect match for the lampshades, why don’t we get two, make the bed look really plush’ said Sonny choosing two satin cushions.

Liz hurriedly wrapped up his selection. ‘This is just the start boys. I’m getting new deliveries all the time. You must promise to check out the stall again next week, see if there is anything else you fancy’

‘I love those wall hangings’ said Sonny making his way to the back of the stall. ‘Maybe we could measure up the hall for this ruby coloured one’

‘Just give me a ring if you want me to put it away for you’

‘Oh what gorgeous potpourri’ Ken turned to see Gloria Westbury pulling Malcolm over to the stall, ‘that’s just what I wanted for the big bowl on the coffee table in the lounge’ Ken and Malcolm exchanged glances, Ken opened the coolbox and pulled out two bottles of beer. ‘Malc me old son, I think that you’d better come and sit in the shade with this. I think your missus might be here a while’

‘I can’t see the fascination with potpourri myself.’ Said Malcolm, taking the welcome bottle of cold beer from Ken. ‘seems mad to me, having bits of coloured wood shavings stinking the place out. But what do I know.’

‘I’m with you on that one Malc.’ Ken said as he finished his beer. ‘Fancy another one of those?’ he said holding out the empty bottle.

‘Not for me old chap thanks all the same. Have to keep a clear head, playing a round with old Turnbridge this afternoon.’

‘’Do you see much of Martin at the club?’

‘Not since his heart attack. Apparently doctors orders, no golf for 3 months.’

‘Poor bugger, far too young for a heart attack’

‘Too much stress I imagine’ said Malcolm conspiratorially ‘Fliss was telling Gloria that he had been having some business problems. All very hush hush of course.’

‘Of course old son, my lips are sealed.’

‘If you’ve finished your beer Malcolm we’d better get going. You know that Reg Turnbull doesn’t like to be kept waiting at the first tee.’ said Gloria picking up her parcels from the stall.

‘Just coming my love.’ answered Malcolm handing his empty bottle back to Ken. ‘Thanks for that old chap.’

‘No problem Malc, see you soon.’

By one o’clock as the market traders were packing away their stalls Lizzie was thrilled to find that she had sold nearly half of her stock.

‘I can’t believe it Babe, at this rate I’ll have my shop before you know it.’

‘Don’t get too carried away Lizzie. It’s only been one day. Let’s see how things go over the next few weeks.’

‘For god sake Ken. Couldn’t you just say well done? Why do you always have to be so bloody miserable about everything I do?’ Yelled Lizzie

‘I’m not being miserable. I’m being practical. We don’t want to pay out all that money for a shop if you’re not going to sell anything.’

‘I’ll show you Ken Jessel. I’ll make a go of this business if it’s the last thing I do.’

‘That’s what I’m worried about’ muttered Ken