I entered the car showroom to pick up my boss’s new van. The silence shouted at me. Something made me not call out. I peeped over the high reception counter. Papers were strewn all over the floor.
I found I was holding my breath. Slowly I let it out. Then a telephone rang. The noise shocked me. Surely someone would come and answer it, but no footsteps sounded. Why was the place deserted? I noticed a mug on its side with dark coffee leaking onto the desk. It reminded me of when Mrs Bainbridge had collapsed at work. She’d knocked over her coffee as she fell to the floor, knocking over all the buckets of flowers nearby. Is that what had happened here?
Glancing around I caught an image of myself in a mirrored pillar. My face was white and drawn. It looked ghostly against my blood red blouse. The flared jeans almost hid my comfy shoes, one of which was tied with string instead of shoelace.
I realized I was screwing up the paperwork for the new van. I smoothed it out against the side of my leg. On the floor was a scrap of paper. I bent down to pick it up. It said, ‘Give me the money from the safe and don’t make a sound’. What an earth was going on?
‘Here you! What are you doing here?’ shouted a man from the other end of the corridor, as he ran towards me.
I shoved out my hand with the contract for the van in a defensive action.
‘I’ve come to get Mr Bainbridge’s new van’.
The man reached inside his jacket and fetched out a warrant card. ‘Detective Jones. There’s been a robbery here today miss. What was it you just picked up?’
I handed him the scrap of paper, which he pocketed into a plastic bag.
‘I’m afraid you won’t be taking the van today. The receptionist has been injured by the burglars and we’re in the middle of a serious investigation. Leave me your details and phone up tomorrow’.
I walked down the slope away from garage. Mr Bainbridge would have to wait a while for the new van. It didn’t bother me. I liked the old one. How many bouquets of flowers had I delivered driving ‘old faithful’?