In “Slights”, one of the people who inhabit Stevie’s dark room is a shop keeper.
This is how I describe their interaction:
I liked to dig for hours on end, sleep, eat, buy my needs from Mrs Beattie at the corner shop. I really enjoyed entering that place. It was dark, cool, small, the goodies all lined up like a marching band. I loved picking things up and putting them down, just out of place, until Mrs Beattie said, “Can I help you?” as if I hadn’t worked there for three years, from the tender age of fifteen. Her arms were fatter than ever, and she hadn’t bought a new dress in years, so you could see a tight line of strain pressing into her flesh.
The thing she hated most was the way I bought lollies. I had half the kids doing it too; they had a fine instinct for what irritated an adult.
“I’ll have a red traffic light. And a green traffic light. And another red traffic light. And a yellow traffic light. And a green traffic light,” until my bag was full. I don’t even like lollies; I gave them to all the sugar-starved children.
The shop I describe was inspired by the corner shop where I lived in Rose Street, Annandale. I passed it every day but rarely shopped there, because, like many corner shops, it often didn’t have what I needed. It was indeed quite dark with a great sense of age about it. I can’t remember if the shopkeeper had fat arms or not!
Now the old shop has been turned into a cafe! Jonathan Shaw, at his Me Fail? I Fly! blog has photos and a description. Revolver looks fabulous from the photos. If I ever write another story about Stevie, I’ll have to make her go and order a coffee in an irritating way!
Here is Jonathan’s history of the shop.