When a parcel arrives with the emerald green shoes that have been ordered for the Mayoress of Salisbury, I’m delighted to pass on the good news. Chummy has become a frequent visitor to the shop.
“Where are they? Where are they?” Chummy clasps her hands together in anticipation, as soon as she walks in later that morning.
As I open the door to the office, I beckon for Chummy to enter. Bambi is sprawled on the floor in front of us, with a green leather strap protruding from her smiling playful mouth. A half-overturned shoe box still protects one perfect, emerald-coloured, stiletto shoe. But, the other is scattered in riotous colour around Bambi’s black paws and excitedly thumping tail.
“Bambi! Cattiva! Bad dog!” I lunge forward and then gingerly gather the pieces of chewed leather. Bambi is very still. She looks up dolefully, conscious from my tone that she’s done something wrong.
“Chummy, I am so, so sorry.” I stand before the stricken woman who has not said a word. “There’s still time … opening of Parliament … it’s not until June,” I stammer, thinking on the spot. “We can order another pair.”
Just then, Eugenio walks in. He takes in the awkward scene and immediately confirms my statement. “Definitely! We’ll put a rush job on this and get it sent out by express. Come, let’s go back to the front counter. I’ll phone Rizzi’s—the shoe place in Italy—as soon as they open.”
Chummy is still silent as Eugenio takes her arm and leads her out the room. I follow and start to close the door behind me. Bambi lets out a mournful yelp.
I hiss at her, “Cattiva! Bad dog! You can stay in here for now.”
“I’m alright. Truly. It was just a bit of a shock. But, I’m fine,” murmurs Chummy from a chair behind the front counter. “No, no thank you. I won’t have a cup of tea. Just place that order and hopefully …” opening her bag, Chummy takes out a tissue to blow her nose, “hopefully, the new shoes will arrive in time.”
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