Spotless Sips
Joanne Faries
Doorknobs Winner

Callie plopped in the cushy armchair, her feet propped on a blue striped ottoman in the captainís den, known for its seafaring colors and nautical themed accessories. The vacuum cleaner stood at attention in one corner of the room, and her dust cloth crumpled on a cherry side table. †

Summer, 1989, I was newly promoted to manager of Jonís Ethan Allen West. I haunted the store, sales by day and processing paperwork by night. Iíd watched Callie early evening on our security cameras. In her cleaning exertions, she spread a lemony gleam. I couldnít fault her spotless attention to detail. However, after closing monthly reports, I glanced at a screen and found her settled in like one does in oneís place. †

I was nonplussed by her casual use of my furniture. I mean it was my store, my product to sell, and Iím sure clients would not be thrilled to see a sweaty cleaning lady lounging on their dream style. Callie had good taste. That was a pricey piece. †

Suddenly she arose and left the room without taking the vacuum or dust cloth. Reappearing with one of our best crystal brandy snifters, she reached into her apron pocket to pull out a flask, and poured velvety liquid into the glass. She sniffed, swirled, and sipped. †

Appalled, I croaked over the store microphone system, ďYouíre fired.Ē Callie quaffed her drink, wiped a condensation ring, and exited. I heard the smashing of glass as the door closed. †

First published: May, 2010
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