Charli’s prompt this week is
May 11, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about trading. It can be the profession of old or of modern day traders on Wall Street. It can be trading places or lunches at school. What is traded? Is it a fair deal or a dupe? Trade away and go where the prompt leads you.
My gran was in trade. Once it was a sneery thing to say someone was ‘in trade’ like it was of the lowest class and unfavourably compared with having a profession. Not that she cared. She loved the cut and thrust of making a bargain. She made my dad money from his garden that allowed him to buy two greenhouses and umpteen tools and produce. And her abilities netted her a husband when she had resigned herself to a spinster’s life supporting her much put on mother, running the family bakery and grocers. She understood customer service and loyalty; she was ‘good with figures’ in the way a darts player may be ‘useless at maths’ but can subtract from 501 in seconds – practical through practice.
‘Netted a husband?’
My grandfather ran a motorcycle shop from a old pub near where my gran’s family had their shop. Grandpa was useless with the accounting side so Gran helped him. He was shy and never suggested he felt any more than a friendship for her. She was independent and would no more press herself forward than give a crook a discount. And then one day my great grandfather who was the epitome of a dirty old man did something which my gran felt unforgivable – whatever it was is lost in the mists of time – so much so she packed and left. Her mother, who had relied on her for a long time, understood she had to go. But where?
What took her to the shy mechanic Percy, war hero with many injuries? Whatever it was, she told him she was off. ‘Where?’ She had no idea. ‘Then marry me.’ And she did.
He knew the private secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury – they fought together in France – and procured a special licence that allowed an immediate wedding with no three weeks of banns being read – the Archaeologist still has that licence, fancy seal and all – and they wed almost immediately. He borrowed a plane – he was in the Royal Flying Corps in WW1 and his brother ran a flying school so he had the contacts – and flew them to Paris for a honeymoon. And all because she was ‘good at figures’ and understood trade. No sneering in my family for a woman who happily lived up to my father’s estimation as ‘one tough old bird’.
As for Penny and Mary,
A bargain’s a bargain, whoever you negotiate with
‘Mum, can I get a job?’
Mary peered over her glasses. ‘Have you something in mind’
‘The village clothes shop.’
‘In principle yes.’
‘Great. What do you mean? In principle?’
‘Well, what are the hours, the pay. Is it legal at your age? What about your school work, music practice..’
‘Ok. I get it. I can’t, can I?’
‘If you’re giving up so easily you don’t want it then.’
‘That’s not fair.’ Penny looked furious.
‘If you’re going to work in retail you need to know how to sell your product…’
‘Forget it. I should have asked dad.’
If you want to catch up on Mary and Penny and their family, click here.