seventeen || leslie's questionable queue

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After a leisurely three days off work for no good reason, Leslie decided to venture into town on Friday for a bit of an outing, running the risk of bumping into Jackie or Sue. They usually took their lunches in the back room but there was always the chance that they either would leave. She figured if such a meeting occurred, she could argue that while feeling better, she was probably still carrying the contagiousness of her imaginary disease and was thus unfit to be serving customers, though parading around town was quite alright.

She drove in to give herself plenty of energy to pound down the high street pavements. It was still sunny, almost unthinkably so for the last day of February, so Leslie enjoyed the freedom of a cotton sundress, parading her freshly waxed legs and newly painted toes in a pair of wicker flip flops. She caught the attention of a number of men, and women too, as she sashayed around town with the hip swing she seemed to have gained since entering into a relationship with a man she adored. She popped into the discount pharmacy to stock up on essentials, filling her basket with shampoo and conditioner, soap and a razor, condoms and tampons. She added a sandwich to the mix, as well as a packet of crisps and an iced latte from the fridge for a picnic in the park.

Her phone rang. She put her basket down and searched her bag for it, coming up triumphant with the old thing desperately in need of replacement. She was quite attached to the ten-year-old brick, though. It served a purpose and it served it well.


“Hey, Les, it’s me,” said Cloe.

“What’s up? Shouldn’t you be in a lesson?”

“Nah, it’s lunchtime. Anyway, are you around?”

“I’m in town. Why?”

“I don’t have any lessons this afternoon and I was wondering if maybe you want to go out for lunch?”

“Well, I was going to go for a picnic in the park, if you want to join me.”

“Sure. You were gonna go on your own? Isn’t that a bit sad, eating alone in a park?”

“Nothing’s sad when you look this good,” Leslie said, admiring herself in a narrow mirror in the make-up aisle. She tucked her hair behind her ears and, holding her phone with her shoulder, clipped it back with a couple of bobby pins.

“Does your boyfriend find your ego attractive?” Cloe remarked.

“It gets him hard.”

“Too much information, jeez, Les. My poor ears are so innocent.”

Leslie laughed. “Are you getting a bus or do you need to be picked up?”

“I’ll bus it. Can I meet you in the park in about half an hour? Get me something delicious.”

“Will do.” Leslie hung up and added more food to her basket. Perusing the aisles she had already passed, she added a tube of lube to her stash. She had found that since Greg had become a part of her love life, she had been getting through it at an incredible rate and the last thing she wanted was to be caught out.

At the till, she loaded up the conveyor belt food first, followed by hygiene, then her bathroom essentials. The woman in front, who looked to be about ninety and moved just as fast, was taking her sweet time with a long line of loo roll and soap, adding things from around the till much to the poor cashier’s distress. Leslie leant against the till with her arms folded, knowing she would be there for a while. A man joined the line, closing her in. His basket consisted of deodorant, shaving cream and food. He glanced at Leslie’s queue of items, his eyes lingering on the last few. She caught his eye.

“Do you have a problem?” she asked, leaning back with her arms folded and her ankles crossed. It was a casual position and there was nothing confrontational in her voice. He was a startlingly attractive man, not the kind she usually bumped into in town, but he didn’t even begin to compare to Greg.

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