FRAMED: Episode 3, "Poopie"


Austin checked the alley again. No camera’s hidden anywhere and hardly any night-lights. This town was about thirty years behind the times on safety, but besides the truck, everything seemed quiet.
There really better be a legit case happening next door, or he’d have to ring Danny’s neck. He was already going to ring the man’s neck for not telling him how good-looking or curious Miss Frame Shop was. He’d just agreed to work side-by-side with her for a few weeks in this small shop. A man only had so much will power. He imagined it was about to be tested to the limit.

Violet shuffled through a stack of papers on the counter top and snuck a peek at Austin working the saw. He’d worked nonstop for three hours without so much as looking up and when he did, he spent his time staring out the window. And from the moment he walked back inside her shop from dumping the trash, he’d hardly spoken two words, other than “Excuse me,” as he moved his workstation to the corner of the room.
Her skin tingled at having her shop discombobulated, or was it from the way his triceps flexed as he worked the saw? She wasn’t sure which, maybe a mixture of both, but what she was sure of was him working there was only for a couple of weeks. Once the Christmas rush was over, Austin would be gone, and she’d restore her workspace and her life back to normal.
Hallelujah. Normal. Something she hadn’t found since Gram died. Violet had a history of people leaving her. First her dad, then her mom died in a car wreck when Violet was only fifteen, and to top it off, her dog died the same week. That’s when she’d turned to Danny, Kim, and Gram. The three had been her rock through high school. That’s what had made Danny leaving her so much worse. She’d lost one of her best friends. And now with Gram gone, her only friends left in the world were Kim and her church family.
Thank God she had them.
She sighed. Pucker up buttercup. Time to get to work.
She had bills to pay. Pictures to frame, and focusing on the past or gauging her employee’s physical assets weren’t going to help her keep her shop. Besides, he reminded her too much of Danny. Clean cut, trim, an assessing gaze, like he was constantly aware of his surroundings. It was enough to make her think he was also a cop. And if he was a cop, why was he out of work? Why would Danny send him to her shop? Why not send him to the station to fill out an application?
Something didn’t add up.

Read the entire installment in the October 2019 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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