Tag Archives: Shopping

#blogchallenge: Fortune Cookie #15


byLillian Csernica on May 15, 2018

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Today’s fortune says:

Avert misunderstanding by calm, poise, and balance.

THE POWER OF THE POSE

The Almond Walk pedestrian mall took up a third of the oldest part of town. That meant most of the CCTV cameras were busy watching traffic patterns. Anna kept to the alleys between the stucco walls. It was just her rotten luck Jessica had decided to mask her latest poison green hair color by dying it all black. Without the elaborate makeup Jessica learned from YouTube tutorials, the cousins could almost pass for sisters.

Two CDs. One tacky necklace. Some pricey makeup. It didn’t matter. What Jessica wanted, Jessica took. That had always been true, from the days when they were in kindergarten and Jessica would push Anna aside during Anna’s birthday parties so Jessica could tear open the presents first. And still the aunts and uncles kept pushing the girls together, laughing off such cruelties and ignoring Anna’s disappointed wails.

Anna ran between two of the potted palms. She should have known better than to believe Jessica when she said she’d behave herself this time. Anna’s mother warned her not to go shopping with her sticky-fingered cousin. And now the only way out was through the parking garage, where Anna’s car was parked. Plenty of CCTV in there. The guards would be watching for Jessica, who had done herself up to look like Anna.

Was it just her cousin’s warped sense of humor? Or something more vicious?

A burst of Jessica’s smug laughter echoed off the walls of the parking garage, which was just up ahead. Anna had to get off the street, out of sight. She ducked into the delivery door around the back of one dress shop. This place used the old-fashioned kind of mannequins that looked like life-size Barbie dolls, the kind from the ’70s.

The clothes weren’t much better. A retro shop, full of caftans and go go boots, mini skirts and tye-dye. Still, this was not a shop Jessica would be likely to loot. Anna kicked off her sandals, pulled her sun dress off over her head, then wriggled into a body hugging minidress of psychedelic paisley. A heavy blonde wig hid her own black hair. She found some huge silver hoop earrings, a fistful of mismatched silver chains, and some bangles. The security guards would be looking for Jessica. Anna still had the car keys. She’d made very sure Jessica hadn’t found a way to get copies made.

Anna slipped out into the main sales floor of the shop. She took her place between two mannequins dressed in similar styles. One hand on her hip, the other hand in a casual gesture. Weight on her back leg, front foot turned out. That look of superior disinterest word by all mannequins.

Two security guards burst in through the front door, making the string of cheap brass bells clatter. They combed through all the aisles, pushing through racks of clothing and checking the empty dressing rooms. Anna held her breath, held her pose, and kept her face that immobile mask of indifference. This was Anna’s secret weapon. Jessica couldn’t hold still. Couldn’t be patient. Couldn’t wait to get what she wanted. She had to have it all right now now now!

One guard’s radio crackled to life. Trouble in the parking garage. A girl matching the description of the thief trying to break into a car. She kept insisting she was the owner.  Anna fumed. Could this be all about stealing Anna’s car while getting her busted for shoplifting in Jessica’s place?

Anna kept still, holding the pose despite the ache in her back and the stiffness in one knee. Reports started coming in. The other security teams had found only one girl fitting the shopkeepers’ descriptions. Jessica. She tried to claim she was Anna. Hearing that made Anna furious. So it was all a set up!

Pain in her legs. Pain up her back. Pain in her ears from the weight of the earrings. The wig made sweat run down the sides of her fave. Still she kept her pose. Payback was coming, and she wanted to be there to see it.

The guards hauled Jessica into the back of the retro dress shop. One took her purse and shook it out, dumping the CDs, makeup, and the ugly necklace.

“I’m telling you,” Jessica snapped. “My cousin grabbed my bag and switched it for hers!”

“And you expect us to believe that wasn’t all part of the plan?”

Jessica sulked, arms crossed tight over her chest. “I don’t care what you believe. I want my mother and a lawyer.”

Anna held on, listening to the questioning, delighting in the shopkeeper identifying Jessica, and treasuring the way the arrogant edge began to wear off of Jessica’s voice. Anna held her pose despite the aches and pains and knots in her muscles.

When the real police arrived, Anna was ready to scream with relief. The security guards handed Jessica over to them, and they cuffed her. Oh, the sweet music of the bracelets jingling on her cousins’ wrists.

Once the police and security cars all drove off, Anna flopped down to pull off the boots, fling aside the wig, and peel off the minidress. With a happy sense of her own bland but appropriate style, she hurried out to her card and drove home where she would sit in happy anticipation of the family uproar once word got out that Jessica finally got caught.

END

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Filed under Blog challenges, cosplay, Family, family tradition, frustration, mother, parenting, Writing

E is for Eiffel Tower


by Lillian Csernica on April 6, 2016

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The one weekend I spent in Paris included a trip to the foot of the Eiffel Tower.  Staring straight up through the tower to its very top was such a dizzying experience I didn’t dare ascend to view the City of Lights from that historic height.

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The bus tour of Paris I’d taken allowed us a chunk of time on Sunday afternoon to go shopping.  I wanted a gold pendant of the Eiffel Tower for my mother.  Off I went through a department store.  Mind you, I was 18 then, and the extent of my French was “Parlez-vous Anglais?”  More often than not, I got a curt “Non.”

When I finally found the jewelry department, I also found a sales woman who clearly did not like the sight of me nor the sound of my bad French accent.  At that point I’d had more than enough of being dismissed.   It is an unfortunate truth, but if there is one language universally spoken by salespeople, it is that of Money.   I took out my entire supply of traveler’s checks, fanned them out, held them up to Madame Francais, and asked, “Parlez-vous American Express?”

She was quickly replaced by Raoul, a charming young man who spoke perfect British English and was the soul of courtesy.  He showed me the range of pendants available, from one as tiny as my little fingernail to one big enough to land a swordfish!

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I exchanged the appropriate amount of traveler’s checks, made my purchase, and departed feeling victorious.  When it comes to making my mother happy, do not mess with me! 😀

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Filed under Blog challenges, dreams, Family, family tradition, frustration, Goals, history, Humor, Lillian Csernica, mother, travel, Writing

The Silver Marriage Medal


by Lillian Csernica on July 12, 2013

Busy week here.  Wednesday was my 25th Wedding Anniversary.  It’s staggering to think that much time has passed, more than half of my life.

Chris took the day off work and we spent it doing all kinds of things.  The Winchester Mystery House is every bit as grand and strange as the ads claim.  I don’t think it’s haunted, but I admit I wouldn’t want to go wandering around the place at night.  And I won’t take the basement tour, not even in broad daylight.  Hey, I write horror.  I’d scare myself silly and I know it.

In commemoration of this marital milestone, Chris gave me a sterling silver Celtic knotwork cuff bracelet.  My wedding rings are Celtic knotwork, and on my other ring finger I wear a Celtic knotwork dragon.  The first gift Chris ever gave me was sterling silver Celtic knotwork jewelry.  (Yes, it’s easy for me to accessorize!)

The big surprise was the place where Chris had made our dinner reservations.  He wouldn’t tell me the location, but I did insist on knowing how to dress.  As we pulled up to the parking structure beside the building where the restaurant sits on the top floor, I saw a sign I haven’t seen in twenty-five years.  Chris had brought us to the very fancy restaurant where we went on our first date.  Now that’s style.

I was really impressed.  Chris worked so hard to make the day so special.

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Filed under Family, fantasy, Horror, Uncategorized, Writing

Baring My Soul


by Lillian Csernica on June 17, 2013

ONE CONFESSION:

Here it is, the grand finale.  I’ve been mulling over this post. contemplating some serious topics.  You know what?  I’d rather have some fun.

Taken in its milder sense, a confession is the admission of having done something you’ve kept quiet about because you’re too embarrassed to admit you’ve done it.  Here, then, are a few of the skeletons in my closet who wear Hawaiian shirts.

When I’m at home I’m generally dressed in my bathrobe because A) I’m lazy, b)it saves on laundry, and c) there’s considerable precedent for the bathrobe being the uniform of the working writer.

I spend more time sleeping on the living room couch than in my bed because I stay up too late, the cats drape themselves all over me, and before I know it my insomnia meds have kicked in.

If something happens that sets me off, either depression or grief or total knickknack-smashing frustration, my husband will put me in the car, take me out, and find some place where he can buy me a rock.  Seriously.  That’s how I got the labradorite heart that I treasure.  It probably has something to do with me being a Capricorn.

I sleep with a stuffed toy cat.  (Or I would, if I could find the box we packed it in when we moved.)

I once went sneaking out with my male BFF in high school on my first experience of toilet-papering a house.  The next day at school we found out that in the dark we’d gotten turned around and missed our target house completely.  I still wonder what came of that night.  Who lived there?  Who were their suspects?

And now, here it is, the Big One:  I’ve written fan fiction.  I won’t tell you my pen name, but I might be willing to tell you which fandom(s), and who I ship(ped).

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Filed under Blog challenges, Depression, Family, fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Writing


by Lillian Csernica on June 14, 2013

THREE TURN-ONS:

Witty banter.  Bonus points for literary allusions and correct historical references.

Fresh flowers.  It seems like the older I get, the rarer the occasion upon which I receive fresh flowers.  I may have to start growing them for myself!

Classic rock and roll.  I must qualify this by saying I’m referring to the music I listened to in high school.  Does that mean I’m a classic?

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Filed under Blog challenges, Fiction, Humor, Writing

Bonus Post! S is for Supporting Small Business!


by Lillian Csernica on April 22, 2013

Please, folks, join me in helping out a really nice pair of people.  He’s a great cook as well as being a  marvelous fencer.  She’s a talented seamstress and the soul of hospitality.  All you need to do is go to this page and click on the VOTE button.  I know a lot of you enjoy good tea and the delights of cupcakes, scones, and other baked goodies.  You’ll be helping two hard workers keep progressing toward their dream business.

On behalf of myself and these two wonderful people, I thank you for your support.

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Filed under Awards, Small business