Dear Anna Parker,
I hope you’ve settled in nicely in your new town. From your previous email description of the place it seems like we couldn’t have picked a better place. An actual town square (unfortunately no gazebo), minute speed limits, stores knowing other stores, neighbours knowing neighbours; it seems all we need is a story. No pressure but it’s been a while now and we were expecting at least a semblance of a story. Let us know if you need help but do get back to us shortly.
I look forward to hearing your ideas.
I was beginning to feel apprehensive about the whole move for this job in its entirety. I didn’t think I’d feel so far out of my element but I was. No family and no friends of my own to settle me in and introduce me to new things and new people. I had to do it all on my own and suddenly I felt like I was back in first grade with all the butterflies raging around in my stomach. It was much easier to meet new people in a big city than a small town. Albeit a super nice novelty-looking town, everyone knew everyone here. I can only hope that I wasn’t the talk of the town just yet. As I walked down the flat-levelled street, I didn’t think so. Though I did turn heads I assume because I wasn’t a familiar face.
‘I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing,’ I texted Chloe. Probably the last of my friends I should be texting all things considered, but I know she could get me out of this rut. Oh man, I’m already in a rut! ‘My editor needs something now and I have nothing. Nothing I tell you!’
“Hey,” a girl said.
I looked up from my perch on a sidewalk bench at a woman wearing overalls and wispy, short, blonde hair. “Hi.”
She took the lollipop out of her mouth and it glistened red. “You’re the new girl, right? Annie?”
She nodded and smiled. “Close enough. Half a point?”
“I’m Lucy. Not like diamonds in the sky.”
“Hey, I’m…Anna.” Oh, kill me now.
“You need a haircut.”
“What?” I fiddled with the ends of my raven hair.
“My shop is just here. Want to get a haircut?”
“Sure.” Why not. Not like I’m in the position to turn anything down.
“Everyone knows about you,” she said as she placed the cape over me, lollipop in mouth. I pray she doesn’t salivate and spit all over me.
“Oh, yeah?” Told ya.
“Talk of the town you are. Though I’m proud to say anyone who comes to my shop knows anything.”
Duly noted. “It’s like I’m intruding on a family.”
“Yes it is.” I was taken aback. I didn’t think she’d agree with me. “But we sure do love the intrusion. It’s exciting. So, what brings you here? Running from something?”
I chuckled. “What?”
She shrugged. “People normally go from small town to big city, not the other way around. It’s been my observation that the people who come here don’t stay for too long because they get forcibly removed if you know what I mean.” I gulped and she snickered. “Oh, sorry. I mean to say we’ve had a couple of run-ins with fugitives before. So exciting. So, you. Why are you here?”
“I’m a writer.”
“Ah, can’t get a job anywhere else?”
“No,” I laughed at her brutal honesty and forwardness, “my job requires me to be here.”
“Oh, how cool. So, what are you writing about?”
I shook my head and shrugged. “Maybe about the first person I met who offered to cut my hair.”
“Offered? Girl, you are crazy. You are definitely paying.” We both laughed. I think I laughed harder because I was enjoying her sass.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t leave the house without my purse.”
“Where do you live?”
“A small townhouse up the road. Pretty nice for what it’s worth.”
“Ain’t that surprising? Things just trickle down in pricing the further away from it all you get.”
“Yeah, that it is.”
“Well, you can write about me if all else fails. I inherited this salon from my mother when she passed. Been doing hair for as long as I can remember. It’s in my blood. Along with a stiff drink and a good sense of humour.”
The doorbell rang open. “Package for Lucy!”
“Oh, hey Ricky!” Lucy leaned down. “Ricky is our resident postman and he’s like 100-years-old.”
“And still kicking!” Ricky said, winking at me. “How are you, darling?”
“Ya miss the Big Apple?”
“She’s from California, Ricky.”
“Oh,” he furrowed his brows, “now I gotta correct myself to the whole town.”
“That won’t be necessary,” I smiled.
“Oh, no, no, no, I’ve done wrong now I gotta fix it. You two ladies have a great day now.”
“See you later, Lucy!”
“So, you want to come to a small outdoor party with me. Get to know some people. Maybe we’ll find you a story there.”
“Yeah, sure. Maybe some people could get to know me.”
“Honey, by the time postman Ricky gets through everyone the whole town will have gotten to know you. No introduction needed.”