Tuesday 25 June 2024

Anytime Anywhere Carpets R Us by Lynn Clement, saucy cheeseburger with hot chocolate


‘Is it a shag you’re after?’


‘A shag – in the bedroom. Is that what you want?’

‘Oh, yes please,’ I say.

Gregory, his name badge says with a hint of pious dictatorship in block red print with gold edging, shows me to the shag pile carpets. Running his fingers along the textured sample, his tongue flicks over his yellow nicotine-stained teeth.

'This silver shag is most satisfactory,’ he says, his dentures sliding off his gums every time he pronounces an ‘s.’

‘Super,’ I enthuse. ‘When can you do it?’

‘Anytime and anywhere.’ He echoes the company motto. His cheesy smile crinkles his eyes and makes his black thick rimmed glasses slip to the end of his sharp Roman nose.

‘I’m not sure about the colour,’ I state, deciding to dance a bit of a tarantella with Gregory in an attempt to … get a discount.

‘Oh,’ he sighs, and I know I’ve deflated him.

‘How about, a bed of sand? Or I could lay you, on a lawn of green?’ he suggests waving at a biscuit-coloured roll and a rather revolting carpet in emerald.

‘This is simply sumptuous,’ Gregory smooths his hand over the gruesome green.

 I look at his dentures, wondering whether I’ve cleaned the sink macerator recently.

Gregory pulls his hand sharply away from the green carpet. There had been a crackle and a disguised ‘ow,’ from the static shock it gave him.

‘I don’t think any of these will do,’ I say, backing away from his eyes which are halfway down my cleavage.

‘If you let me have your measurements, I’m sure I have something that fits,’ he offers sensing my waning enthusiasm.

‘I could even come and measure up – bedroom you say?’ His fat fingered hand is placed in the small of my back.

‘Walk this way and I’ll take your personal details.’  - I am reminded of Hannibal Lecter and those fava beans.

A child squeals at the back of the shop.

‘Kids!’ he spews – forgetting himself. ‘Do you have kids, miss?’ he asks, pushing his dentures into place with his tongue.

‘No,’ I say, ‘and I’m Mrs.’

‘Oh,’ Gregory says, barely able to contain his disappointment.

‘But you’re not wearing a ring!’ Piousness surfacing.

‘Eczema,’ I state.

‘Do you know, I have a marvelous cream for that. Would you like me to get it out for you?’

‘No, I don’t think so,’ I say, standing up, having had enough of this tarantella.

Gregory sniffs loudly and I assume he’s offended.

‘What is that suspicious smell,’ he yells.

We look towards the squealing child, who is running his plastic sword up and down the pile on the ghastly green carpet, whilst his unaware father is smelling an Axminster.

‘No!’ shouts Gregory … but too late. The plastic carpet has a tiny flame flickering in its perilous pile.

‘Stop that silly child,’ decrees Gregory, at which point his dentures loose purchase with his gums and skitter over Karndean flooring in the office part of the showroom.

            The errant choppers skid towards the child dressed as a pirate. ‘Part of a skull!’ he delights, hoisting them aloft.

Gregory throws a bucket of water over the pile and the pirate, snatching his dentures in the process.

I walk towards the showroom door, having made my mind up about my purchase. No silver shag or emerald-green plastic for me – I was having Karndean in my bedroom.

‘But we don’t actually sell or lay that,’ says Gregory blocking my exit, dentures now restored. He straightens his tie and pushes his specs up his nose. A dribble of sweat makes its way from his brow down his cheek and onto his flabby chins.

‘Oh, too bad,’ I say moving his bulk away from the door. ‘But I know a man who can.’

And I go off to meet my husband who knows a thing or two about laying on hard flooring.


About the author 

Lynn is a regular writer for Cafelit. Her first flash fiction collection, The City of Storiesis published by Chapeltown Books. See 5-star reviews - #amazonthecityofstorieslynnclement Lynn has stories in The Best of Cafelit 11 12 & 13
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