The safe doors were then closed securely and fifteen minutes later the shop was ready to receive its first customer. Jenny let herself into the staff room and made a cup of tea for Mr Jenkinson and a coffee for herself. They had five minutes to drink up and have a chat before the final member of staff would join them. Daniel French was a craftsman. Daniel was single and lived alone in a flat above Coleman’s the butchers which overlooked the High Street. The word ‘oddball’ could have been coined just with him in mind.
As Jenny Turner and Chris Jenkinson made their respective ways towards the front door of Shatner and Sons each morning, Daniel would be watching them from behind his faded lace curtains. He would look at the old clock on the mantelpiece and check that they were on time. Once they were inside, he would shower, get dressed and fill his large flask full of hot sweet tea; then he would leave his flat and walk down to the door at the rear of the building. From there it was a brisk walk up the alleyway between the butcher’s and the Western Counties Building Society, into the newsagents for a copy of The Times and then Daniel would cross the High Street and ring the imposing brass door bell of the jewellers. His two colleagues would open the door, let him into the shop and the business day could begin. Daniel French would take up his position in the back of the shop to carry out his duties. Through the large one way glass window which afforded him a perfect view. Daniel could see everything.
As Jenny Turner picked up the empty cups on this particular morning, she heard the bell ring. She smiled at Daniel through the glass door and quickly deposited the cups in the staff room, then joined Chris Jenkinson and they opened the door. ‘Good morning Mr French’ said Jenny. ‘Good morning Daniel’ said Chris. Daniel gave them a brief nod, and then disappeared into his inner sanctum, flask and newspaper in hand.
Jenny looked at her boss and giggled. ‘Nothing changes much around here does it?’
Chris Jenkinson shook his head ‘Our Mr French isn’t a people person I fear, but he’s an excellent craftsman and has worked here ever since he left school. After his parents died, he sold their house and bought the flat over the road, apart from coming here to work during the week, I’m not sure that he gets out that much. His only interest appears to be the theatre. Mr Singh at the newsagents mentioned to me one day that it was Daniel that always put the posters in his window advertising plays put on by the Weston Amateur Dramatic Society.’
Just then a young woman entered the shop, looking for a watch for her husband. The day’s business had begun!
A collection of twelve short stories with an unexpected twist at the end. There are love stories, ghost stories and tales of revenge, all sprinkled with a touch of humour. In fact there's something for everyone, young or old. There are characters and situations you will readily recognise, but will you identify 'the sting in the tale' before you turn the final page?
Genre - Short Story Collection
Rating – PG
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