The two women were talking to one another across the counter when the phone rang. Excuse me, Edith said and answered it. Okay, sure. Okay. Yes, well can’t you make them? They can’t tell you anything? What’s their number then, I’ll call them myself? Hello? Sorry, what? No. Absolutely not. I’m not about to put him through that again. Edith looked up and saw her father standing at the sliding glass door and asked into the phone, Is there a preacher or a minister or someone of that nature on post? Yes, like a chaplain.
Frank slid open the sliding glass door and looked at the two woman and came inside.
What’s is it? Edith asked. If it’s about lunch, I haven’t even started.
It’s not about lunch.
Nothing. I just came by to see did you need any help.
With making sandwiches?
That, or anything else. I saw the car and…
You saw the car and thought what? That I was doing something behind your back. No, only you do that.
Frank looked at the other woman.
Hi, I’m Clara, the woman said as she rose from the stool.
She’s interested in renting the space over the garage, Edith said.
Frank looked at her. Wasn’t aware it was for rent.
Well then, I guess I was wrong, I do.
Go behind your back, because it is and this is Clara and she’s interested, so. Edith looked at her. You are, aren’t you? I mean you will be after you’ve seen it, right?
Of course, Clara answered.
Good. Edith looked at her father. I’ll be out soon, she said and waited for him to leave and after he’d gone she said that they would take a look at the space and after she would draft up some sort of lease agreement. Nothing fancy, she said. Just enough to satisfy him and possibly the bankers.
Long story, Edith said and they walked outside. And I’m sorry to have done that to you. Sometimes, to get things done around here, it’s best to just spring it on him.
You’re sure he’s okay with it? He seemed a bit, I don’t know, taken aback.
Oh, he was totally taken aback. Quite the cheeky thing for me to do, as y’all say across the pond, right? But yes, to answer your question, he’ll be fine. As you’ll see around here, I am outnumbered by men in my life, five to one, and while they are, for the most part, good men, even good men—perhaps especially good men—need a little nudge of a reminder of who’s really in running the show.