By Bill Turner All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Humor

Chapter Sixteen

Martha One was two duct tape roses and a wallet into her morning when she caught herself staring at Griffin across the square. She had never noticed how his eyes crinkled at the corners when he laughed or what wide shoulders he had for someone with such a slight frame. She wondered what he was thinking behind that purple brow of his. It seemed the more she tried to focus on her duties as duct tape diva the more she became distracted by his every move. He sat so comfortably in his folding chair behind his card table with that roommate of his. She didn’t care for Jacob or his sister for that matter. She wondered what someone like Griffin saw in those tedious siblings. Griffin laughed at Jacob’s joke. The mere sound of his chuckle caused Martha One’s heart to skip a beat. She was brought back to reality by the whining child before her with a wad of duct tape tangled in her hair.

“Oh, honey, how did this happen?”

“You did it.”

“I most certainly did not!”

“Yes you did. You were supposed to be helping me make my flower but you kept looking over at that man. You stuck the flower on my head instead of this pencil!”

The tiny crafter held forward the pencil that was in fact void of any duct tape.

“I’m sorry, sweetie. I’ll fix it.”

Martha One began gingerly pulling strands of hair from the superior quality adhesive on the high quality duct tape she now regretted purchasing.

Across the square Griffin reached beneath his table and withdrew a small chalk board and table top easel. He began to write.

“Wine Tasting starts at noon.”

Martha One craned her neck to see what he was doing.

“Ow! You’re doing it again!” The girl now had a hot pink and zebra-striped clump of duct tape stuck to the crown of her head. “Mommy!” she cried as she ran off.

Martha One watched the child scurry toward a woman in the distance. The exchange between mother and daughter resulted in a long distance stink eye aimed at the craft booth. Martha cringed and mouthed an overwrought “I’m sorry” then refocused her attention to the Still Wine booth.

“That man’s handwriting is atrocious,” she said to herself. She retrieved her purse from behind her easel and withdrew her compact. She checked her hair, applied fresh coats of lipstick and cologne and checked her teeth for any unwanted morsels. After a quick once over of her wardrobe she started toward Griffin. She paused and thought for a moment. She gave the zipper on her sweater a quick yank, revealing another few inches of cleavage before continuing toward the tent.

“Bogey at two o’clock!” Jacob elbowed Griffin as he pointed toward the incoming Übermom.

Martha One swept into the tent and went directly to the chalkboard.

“Allow me.”

With the graceful movements of a maestro conducting a symphony orchestra, Martha One chalked an illustration of a grape cluster amongst roses whose vines framed a calligraphic call to a wine tasting at noon.

“Wow! Thanks. That makes us look trey class-ay!” Griffin started to stand but was waved off by the artist.

“My pleasure. So, noon, huh? Is there some kind of law about giving out wine samples in the morning?”

“Not really. We don’t have that much product. We’ll run out if we give it away all day. We’re hoping to make enough to at least break even,” Griffin chuckled.

Martha One laughed a breathy “huh” followed by a flip of the hair as she leaned forward into the table. It was that classic move seen in old movies where the eager female would try to gain the oblivious male’s attention by subtlety displaying her attributes.

“Does that ‘no sampling until noon rule’ apply to lil’ ol’ me?”

Griffin was filling a cup before she even finished her sentence.

“Lil’ ol’ me?” Jacob mocked under his breath. Griffin chastised him with a sharp nudge from his elbow.

“I detect much more of a floral note than I remembered. Have you changed your recipe?” Martha said as she swirled the elixir.

“Nope. Still the same mix of potpourri and rainwater we always add. Maybe this batch got a couple more rosebuds in the mix.”

Martha swirled her cup once more and tipped the cup to her mouth allowing the last bit of wine to swirl past her lips.

“Yummy,” she said as she leaned across the table even further. She shifted the cup between her fingers and held its base between her thumb and forefinger. “How about a wee bit . . . .”

She was about to finish her request for a refill when a foam-tipped arrow clipped the cup from her hand and flipped end over end through the air. The arrow then bounced off of the ridge of Martha One’s perfect cheekbone just below her right eye.

“Oh, my. Are you okay?” Martha Two came sprinting toward the tent, bow in hand. The crispness of the autumn morning was made evident by the swellings in her sports bra. The sweater that would have rectified this situation was tied at her waist separating her washboard abs from the top of her yoga pants.

“I’m so sorry, sweetie. It just got away from me!”

“You need to be more mindful of where you point those things! You’re gonna poke out someone’s eye!” Martha One snipped.

“The arrows have safety tips, no worries.”

“I’m not talking about arrows.” She pointed at the perky pair of nipples that demanded everyone’s attention.

“Well, look at that! The girls are being quite attentive, if I do say so myself!” Martha Two swayed side to side allowing the girls to bounce a bit. “So, wha’cha doin’?”

Jacob swallowed hard and gripped Griffin’s arm. Martha One breathed in deeply with disdain.

“Ahem,” Griffin cleared his throat, “we were just re-sampling the wine you had earlier. Care for another sip?”

Griffin filled a fresh cup for each of the women. Martha Two quickly downed hers and held out her cup for a refill. Martha One grimaced.

“Just keeping pace!” she smiled. “Cheers!”

The two women swallowed their samples with the same consideration they would have given to night-time cold medication. They both held their cups out for another refill.

“While I’m flattered that you both seem to enjoy our little beverage,” Griffin stammered,” don’t you have booths you are supposed to be running?” Griffin nodded his head toward the unmanned booths filling with eager children.

Martha Two made a pouty face. Martha One duplicated the effort adding a whimper in an act of one-upmanship. The competition for Griffin’s attention had lost any subtlety it could have had.

“I’ll be back at noon for another. . . ,” Martha Two licked her lips, “. . . sample.”

She slowly turned and walked toward the awaiting archers.

“I can’t wait,” the other Martha winked, “for our nooner.”

“What in the hell was that all about? Did you win the lotto, or something? Typically those women wouldn’t give you the time of day, and now they look at you like you’re David Beckham carrying a puppy,” Jacob said, dumbfounded.

“Beckham carrying a puppy?” Griffin asked.

“You see, Beckham is dreamy on his own, but you throw in a puppy and he’s so much more.”

“And you know this because . . .”

“You would have to be blind not to see it.”

“I’ll give you that.”

“Face it. You ain’t no Beckham.”

“Maybe it’s my remarkable charm.”

“Must be, ‘cause you ain’t no Beckham.”

“I get it!”

“I’m just sayin’.”

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