where there’s smoke

It started with a slight mumur as I was leaving the post office counter.

Not like whispering behind my back, mind you.  The speech was directed at me, though offered a tad tentatively.  Too soft to be understood, but loud enough to make me stop mid-stride, turn my head, find the source. 

The woman who spoke leans against the tall glass case display of DVD titles.  She shifts her weight, snickers nervously when our eyes meet.

“Hmmm?” my face implores.  She repeats herself, tossing her salt and pepper head to one side and giving another snicker.

“Your boots are hot.”

Knock me over with a feather.  Did she really just say that?

“Thank you,” I laugh, blushing and turning away. 

From the woman at the counter who just waited on me, “Yeah, I noticed too.  Hot.”

“Thank you,” I laugh in both directions.  And then split.

Spotting a dreamy jacket in a shop window a few minutes later, I stop.  Holding it up for closer inspection, I’m interrupted by “ooh la la — those boots.”  I look into the smiling beautiful butternut face belonging to the spicy accent. 

She gives me a little shimmy, adding, “Now those boots are for me.”  Her co-worker’s right there with “oh yah, gotta have those.”

What is going on here?  Am I on candid camera?

“Thank you.  Yes —,” I’m laughing again, “well — thank you.”

In the next shop, I linger over a fresh looking sprig of a scarf no more than a moment before it happens again.  “I just gotta tell you — those boots are—”

Then, in unison with her co-worker — “Hot!”


Next stop, shoes and bags.  Barely get my hand out of the holster to feel up a sweet pair of pink pumps, when —

“I’m admiring your boots,” she purrs.  “Hot.”

 From her smartly dressed sidekick, “Super sexy.”

By now I want to bow.  Throw a few kisses.  These things aren’t boots.  They’re rock stars. 

Then it hits me. 

I’m a veritable pied piper in patents with not a single male follower!

Is my smoke blowin’ up the wrong chimney? 

I’m standin’ there shakin’ in my boots for a cool minute when I see a man approaching.  Watching his face closely, I notice his eyes shift toward the floor in front of him. 

Down so far his eye brows just about crash into his nose.

Oui! Oui!  Mille fois oui!!!

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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