'What are you, about a 44-long?'
I turned to see who said it. My eyes became wide as I saw this vision from Paradise, this blond haired, blue-eyed femme fatale.
'Good morning,' I said, smiling a wide smile.
'Good morning,' she returned. 'Are you looking for something in particular?'
'Not anymore,' I said, making her blush as I looked her over.
She was beautiful. Absolutely stunning. Her very blond hair was long and flowing, and her eyes were a magnificent cobalt blue. Her lipstick made her lips a rosy red. Her body was shapely and enticing.
'Are you looking for something for a special occasion?' she asked.
I stood there, gawking, and thinking of how to best answer her question.
'I'm looking for a sport coat or a suit to wear to a friend’s wedding next week,' I said, unable to take my eyes off of her.
I dreaded going to the mall, but this department store was advertising a sale that week.
'Are you about a 44-long?' she asked again.
'I don't know what size I am anymore,' I said, getting down to business.
Instantly, she whipped out a tape measure. Stepping in front of me, she shoved her hands under my arms, forcing me to put them into the air. She reached around behind me, getting a piece of her tape in both hands. Our bodies were front-to-front and her arms were around me.
'Oh my!' I said. 'Look at the position we're in, and I don't even know your name.'
Stepping back, she looked up at me and smiled.
'Just as I thought,' she said, bringing the tape together. 'You're a 44-long.'
'I knew I was long, but I used to be a 42,' I said.
The corners of her cute little mouth turned up as she let out a little giggle. She probably thought that it was funny that I had gained a few pounds in recent years.
'What color did you have in mind?' she asked.
'White,' I said, looking at her pretty, fair face.
'White?' she asked, objecting my choice.
'I mean...I mean...' I stumbled.
'How about navy?' she said, pulling a handsome jacket from the rack.
She stepped behind me and held it up for me. I fumbled awkwardly to get my hands into the sleeves. Once I got it on, it fit perfectly.
'How does that feel?' she asked, fixing the lapels.
'It feels great,' I said. 'How does it look?'
'It looks good. You look great in navy.'
Great? Did she just say I looked great?
'Do you have a shirt to wear with that?' she asked, pulling me over to the shirts.
She handed me a cream or ivory colored shirt in its plastic wrapping.
'Wear that one,' she said.
'Do you have a red tie?' she continued, pulling me by my elbow to the tie racks.
She quickly selected a crimson colored one, speckled with a design, and held it to my throat.
'Perfect,' she said confidently, throwing the tie onto my shoulder.
'Slacks,' she said, pulling me to the slacks. 'Size?'
'I don't really...'
I hadn’t even finish what I was saying when she whipped out her tape measure. Again, our bodies were front-to-front as she put her arms around me to measure my waist.
I caught a whiff if her perfume, intoxicating me. Her closeness stirred emotions inside of me. I wanted to touch her flowing, luminous hair, to caress her firm shoulders, to fondle her soft cheek, to kiss her sensuous lips...
'How long?' she asked.
'All of my life,' I answered.
'What?' she said. 'How long are your slacks?' she asked, bringing me back down.
'Oh! Um, I think they're 32 or 34,' I said.
With her tape measure in her hand, she got down on one knee.
'Wait! Wait!' I ordered. 'Wait! They're a 34. I wear a 34,' I insisted, avoiding an embarrassing moment.
She pulled a pair of navy and a pair of tan slacks and handed them to me.
'Go try everything on and let's see how they look,' she said, escorting me to the dressing rooms.
I didn't say a word. I couldn't say a word. She knew what she was doing.
As I undressed, I heard her voice as she spoke to somebody else. I imagined that she was in the master bathroom of our house, doing her hair, as we were getting ready for a formal evening together.
'Wear this belt,' she insisted, startling me, as a belt was flung over the door of the little room. It was now quite obvious that she was working on a commission.
After about five minutes of dressing, zipping, buttoning, buckling, and tying the tie, I open the door of the little room and stepped out.
She was standing there waiting for me.
'No good. Go put on the navy slacks,' she ordered.
Once again, I opened the door of the little room and stepped out. Again, she was standing there waiting for me.
'Wow!' she gasped, her mouth staying open.
'How does it look,' I asked.
'Turn around for me,' she said, looking me over real good.
'Well?' I said.
'What color shoes will you be wearing?' she asked.
“Black,' I said.
“Do you have brown shoes?”
“Wear black,” she said.
“Okay. I’ll have to find them. I haven’t worn them since…”
'Turn around for me again,' she said.
'Tina,' she said to a coworker, 'Come here and tell me what's wrong with this picture.
Tina made her way over and looked me over once… twice… three times.
'Very handsome, but no wedding ring,' she said, turning and walking away.
I chuckled, not expecting that answer.
'My name's Linda,' she said, holding out her hand to shake mine.
'I'm Biff,' I said, shaking her hand lightly.
'So, this wedding you're going to,' she said, pausing for a moment. 'Are you taking somebody special with you?'
I felt the temperature around me suddenly shoot up 20 degrees. Her beautiful blue eyes looked at my plain brown ones.
'Yes,' I managed to utter. 'But that all depends on if you can get the weekend off.'
'Don't worry about that,' she said, smiling ear to ear. 'I'll quit if I have to.'
'Ok if I take this suit off now?' I asked, smiling at my new friend.
'Go ahead,' she said. 'And be careful that you don't put any wrinkles into it.'
I wondered what she meant by that.
I quickly changed into my old clothes and came out of the little room. She waited for me patiently over at the register.
'Is this going to be cash or credit?' she asked, beaming.
'Credit,' I said, pulling my VISA card from my wallet.
As I handed it to her, she handed me her business card. On the back of it, she wrote her phone number and her address. I flipped it to the front and looked at her last name.
'Kristofferson?' I asked, 'What is that, German?'
'Swiss,' she said. 'My parents came from Switzerland.'
She looked at my name on my credit card. “Remington? As in Remington Steele?”
I was mesmerized by her beauty as she scanned the barcodes on my purchases. Though, she focused on her job, I knew her mind was somewhere else.
'Do you need anything else?' she asked, looking up at me.
'Where are the socks?' I asked.
She pointed to my left.
'That comes to $595.08 so far,' she said.
'I have socks at home,' I said, turning back.
'Oh, wait,' she said. 'I forgot to give you my discount.'
'Oh, a discount?'
'Ok, that comes to $243.45,' she said.
'Wow! That's quite a discount,' I said.
'Employees get 50% off,' she said, 'But I have to use my own credit card.'
Stunned, I looked at her as she handed my credit card back to me.
'You can pay me back next week when you pick me up,' she whispered, cocking her head to one side as she looked at me.
'I promise,' I whispered back.
She handed me a bag with my new shirt, tie, and belt in it, and handed me my plastic-covered suit by the hanger.
'Thank you,' she said, smiling like a salesperson. 'Call me.'
'No,' I said, coyly, 'Thank you, and I will call you.'
'I'm on break in ten minutes,' she informed me.
'Now, that's even better,' I smiled. 'I can meet you in ten minutes at… how about Starbucks?'
'Which one?' she asked. 'The one next to J. C. Penney, or the one next to the music store?'
'Which one's closer?' I asked.
'They're both the same distance,' she informed me.
'Then the one next to the music store,' I said. 'Who knows? Maybe we'll make some music of our own,' I said, smiling.
'See you there,' she said.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
© 2012 Biff Remington, Model Citizen - 4/11/12