Miles: Wynann’s … Remember when that opened?
Davis: I sure do. We were in kindergarten.
Davis: My mother shopped there religiously. I used to have sit there while she tried on clothes. Sheer torture for me. Not only did I have to wait for her, every woman who tried on clothes asked for my opinion.
Davis: Very. You know, some dresses actually do make people look fat.
Miles: People? You mean women?
Davis: Well, a couple of times Mr. Henderson …
Miles: From First Church?
Davis: That’s him. He’d come in there to try on dresses.
Davis: Always claimed they were for skits for their annual fund drive carnival.
Miles: Go figure.
Davis: All dressed up …
Davis: He made a real handsome woman.
Miles: That explains a lot. Doesn’t it?
Davis: It does now. Yes. When I was a little guy, the ladies who shopped there felt compelled to tousle my hair and pinch my cheeks.
Miles: Nowadays, I’d pay someone to get my cheeks pinched.
Davis: You can hire someone to do that?
Miles: I’ll send you the link. My mom was too cheap to shop there. Actually, I think my old man was the cheap one. Mom was too passive. Anyway, I never had to go inside Wynann’s
Davis: Mother would make me wear my Sunday clothes.
Miles: Just to go shopping?
Davis: She did that even if we took the Country Squire in for an oil change.
Miles: Wynann’s is like some kind of a magnet for you.
Davis: It hasn’t been all bad. I sold a lot of high school band candy there over the years. This latest adventure though, is another chapter in a book I’ll never write.
Pete: I’d buy that book.
Davis: Hey there, Pete. How long you been standing over there.
Pete: Long enough to feel less informed.
Miles: Tell it one more time, Davis … for Pete’s sake. I don’t think he eavesdropped the entire adventure.
Pete: Yeah, Davis. Start at the beginning. All I caught was something about your hands sizing up a saleslady’s headlights. Is that right? You did that right there in plain sight?
Davis: No. Not exactly, Pete. That wasn’t my intention.
Miles: Headlights? How old are you? Sixteen?
Pete: Three times over. Man alive! You lead the good life. Don’t ya, Davis?
Davis: At times … a peculiar one.
Miles: Better than the rest of us lonely heart slobs.
Pete: Spill the beans, Professor, before your memory trail gets cold.
Davis: Well, like I told Miles, I went into Wynann’s to purchase a gift for Celia Moon.
Pete: Who is…?
Miles: That’s the latest woman of his dreams.
Pete: A one hit wonder?
Miles: No. She’s hanging in there a lot longer than most.
Pete: Blind? Gullible? Homeless?
Davis: Hey now … Do you guys want to hear this again or not?
Miles: We do.
Pete: Amen to that, Miles.
Davis: Okay then. Let me continue … and, for your information, she is not blind.
Pete: Two out of three there, Miles.
Miles: Not bad for a couple of ne’er-do-wells.
Pete: Not bad at all if you ask me.
Davis: Gentlemen? Peter? Please, guys. I’ve got to make the next bus.
Pete: We’ll be quiet.
Pete: Cross my heart and hope he dies … promise.
Davis: Okay. So like I said, I went into Wynann’s to buy a gift.
Pete: For the optically correct Ms. Moon.
Davis: Yes. For Celia. To find a birthday present.
Pete: Hers or yours?
Davis: I said I went into Wynann’s.
Davis: And … you know for a fact that Wynann’s is a clothing store for women.
Davis: So … it was a present for her. Do you actually believe I would go in there to shop for something for myself?
Pete: Here in Sandalpier, you never can tell. My mind is wide open to alternative approaches to whatever puts a smile on your face. The town’s full of like-minded wiz bangs like me.
Miles: Maybe the present was for you. It’s more for your benefit than hers.
Davis: The present was for her, Pete. Not me … because I don’t wear women’s clothing. Do I?
Pete: I’d say you’re walking a pretty thin line.
Pete: Some of your spring wardrobe …
Pete: Is leaning toward the pretty side of life.
Davis: For Pete’s sake, Pete! I was shopping for Celia. Not me. And there isn’t anything wrong with dressing nice.
Pete: Gotcha. It was a present for her … wink wink nudge nudge. So, what’d ya get her, Davis? Matching sweaters? Socks? Unmentionables?
Pete: All three?
Davis: No. An unmentionable. Underwear. At least that’s what I was attempting to do.
Pete: How, exactly, did you make this attempt?
Davis: I walked inside, you know, at the east entrance.
Miles: They got more than one?
Pete: Where’s the east?
Miles: In direct opposition of the west.
Pete: Ain’t that the gospel truth.
Davis: Fellas … please.
Pete: A thousand pardons.
Davis: Thank you.
Pete: Do continue.
Davis: I walk inside, with purpose. I know what I have in mind … what I want to purchase.
Pete: You gave it a lot of thought? Beforehand?
Davis: Three weeks. Narrowed my choice from a list that started with thirty possibilities, and then was narrowed down to twenty somewhat-likelies, ten probables, five more-than-likelies, and three I-can’t-go-wrongs.
Davis: I’m thorough.
Davis: Diligent and thoughtful. I like to be certain when it comes to giving a gift.
Pete: My dear mother, God rest her soul, is afflicted with the same degree of thoughtfulness.
Miles: Since when did your mother die?
Pete: Oh, she ain’t dead. Not yet anyway. But she always says she’s a restless soul. I suppose that’s why she moves around a lot.
Miles: A real thoughtful giver, is she?
Pete: Tells me, “Sometimes when I’m in my favorite fast food joint, I say to some random stranger at the next table, I bet my Pete would love to have a meal like this one.”
Miles: So she buys you a gift card?
Pete: No. In my honor, she orders another meal for herself.
Pete: Ain’t it though. And, she’s right. It’s always something I would have liked.
Miles: The model of mothering skills trapped inside the body of one restless soul.
Pete: Too true, but she hasn’t ever thought to buy me a pair of underwear for a present; not since high school. Is that what you decided, Davis? Underwear?
Davis: Oh, so now I’m part of the conversation again?
Pete: You’re the pack leader. What’d you decide to get her?
Miles: A bra.
Pete: Whoa! You’re the adventurous one. Aren’t ya?! Lord, I would not have the nerve. I don’t think it’s something I could pull off.
Miles: I think that might be a story for another time, Pete. On the other hand, selecting said delicate garments comes with an uncomfortable degree of difficulty … if you’re not of the female persuasion. Isn’t that right, Davis?
Davis: You can say that again.
Pete: It’d take a lot of persuasion to make me want to be something other than not-a-female.
Miles: Trust me, Pete. There isn’t a lot of demand on the street for you to be otherwise.
Pete: Thank heaven for that. Continue on, Sage of the Metro.
Davis: I have to believe that in most places around the country, a man entering a women’s clothing store might draw some attention from the sales staff.
Miles: Not here in Sandalpier. Not in this country. Which 50’s decade are you stuck in?
Davis: I’m not stuck in any decade except this one. I might be the only guy to get embarrassed, but I do.
Miles: Men of the current modern age … we’re free and easy about things.
Davis: Yes you are, Miles. However, while I walked around, I kept my head up, eyes forward, doing my best to stay focused.
Miles: However …
Davis: However, I’m only human.
Pete: Some would say that’s an advantage.
Davis: For the most part, it is. So anyway, I made my way over to where they have bras on display.
Pete: You left the store and walked down Atlantic Ave?
Davis: Not those bras, Pete … the ones for sale in Wynann’s. Stay with me already.
Pete: Gotcha … Wynann’s … The bras over in back, on the left.
Miles: How’d you know that, Pete.
Pete: Uh … a feller told me.
Miles: A feller?
Pete: A feller … says he goes in there sometimes to get warm.
Miles: I can imagine.
Pete: I guess he can too, because it works really nice.
Pete: Yea, Davis?
Davis: You’ve left me stranded in Wynann’s … in the front of what we used to refer to as ‘God’s gift to mankind.’
Pete: Agony for most women.
Miles: Is that so? I wouldn’t mind relieving one or two from their burden.
Pete: I’m sure you would, Miles, but I’m thinking that Mrs. Miles might have a thing or ten to say in protest about that.
Davis: Ok. So, I’m just going to go ahead and share this story. Both of you can decide whether or not to listen.
Miles: No worries, Buddy. We’re listening.
Davis: As I’m standing there …
Pete: Checking out the merchandise.
Davis: Yes. Looking at what they have to offer … and let me tell you, they have a lot to offer! I’ve never seen so much stuffed into, well, so little … you know …space.
Pete: Bustin’ at the seams, were they?
Davis: Considerably … and while I’m admiring their engineering ingenuity, a thought crosses my mind.
Pete: I can imagine, but just in case I’m wrong, what thought?
Davis: I’m looking at all the sizes available, and I realize that I have no idea whatsoever which size Celia takes exactly.
Pete: You don’t know her measurements?
Miles: Off-hand? No he does not.
Pete: Bad news. What’d you do?
Davis: At first I tried to use the box cover photos as a guide.
Pete: No go?
Davis: No help at all. It’s the same model on every box, no matter the size.
Pete: So, size doesn’t matter to them either?
Davis: Apparently. So … while I’m still working out a plan of action, I hear a voice. Someone behind me asks, “How can I help you?”
Davis: Absolutely. I don’t know if there is a world record for cringing, but I think I might have set a new one right at that moment.
Pete: What did she say? Better yet, what did you say?
Davis: I said I was “Just browsing.”
Pete: Really? You said that in a brassiere store? You are courageous.
Miles: How’d she take it?
Davis: She told me that the bookshop down the street has a nice rack of magazines that might suit my purpose more.
Pete: Pretty cold …
Davis: I said, “No. I’m comfortable with your nice rack … the one here in this store. That rack. This rack right here in front of me suits my needs just fine. All these nicely stacked bras.”
Pete: Good Lord! You must book the confessional a year at a time. How’d you wiggle your way out of that one?
Davis: We both stood there, quietly staring at each other … and then she smiled and again asked, “How can I help you?
Miles: At least she’s polite.
Davis: I’m shopping for a gift for a close friend. An acquaintance. She’s a woman.
Clerk: Well good for her. What did you have in mind?
Clerk: Oh really?
Davis: No …no … no … no … no … no … I meant bras. Bra. One. Just one bra for her … my good close friend.
Clerk: She couldn’t come with you?
Davis: Not today. It’s that time of the month … you know.
Clerk: I’m familiar with the time of the month, but wondering if you are.
Davis: Of course I am … final exams. It’s exam week and she’s too busy.
Clerk: Pity. It’s usually a necessity, when selecting the correct bra, to be here in person.
Davis: This is my surprise, for her.
Clerk: Your close friend?
Davis: Right … just really good friends.
Pete: Polite and congenial.
Davis: And then she asks the question I’ve been dreading to hear. “What size bra does she need?”
Clerk: What is the size of your friend’s breasts? Bra size? You do know … don’t you? You said you are close friends.
Pete: What did you say, Davis?
Davis: Well, nothing at first. But …
Pete: Nothing? Nothing at all?
Davis: Nothing at first, but then I replied, “No, actually. I don’t know her numerical size.”
Clerk: Well, you’ve got to have some idea. I need something to go on … to work with. Otherwise, we’re just going to be groping at straws.
Miles: She actually said, “groping,” not grabbing? Are you embellishing?
Davis: She said groping.
Miles: What a tease.
Pete: I can’t wait to meet her. What happens next?
Davis: Well, for some unknown inexplicable reason, I slowly raised up my arms from my side until my hands were approximately chest level.
Pete: Chest level? Whose chest? The saleslady’s?
Davis: No. Celia’s. I raise my arms up, stop right around her chest level, and then cup my hands a little before …
Davis: Giving a little squeeze.
Pete: Have you ever actually …
Davis: Absolutely not! We’re just good friends.
Miles: Typically, friends don’t buy friends underwear … especially the opposite sex friends.
Davis: Okay. So we are very, very, good friends.
Miles: Very, very? Not just very?
Davis: Very, very.
Pete: But you two haven’t …
Davis: Absolutely never! She has brown eyes, for Pete’s sake.
Davis: Mine are blue. It would never ever work out. Never. As in NO. We have never ever. Got it?
Pete: Got it, Mr. Insistent.
Miles: You know what they say about people who protest too much?
Davis: No, what?
Miles: That they protest too much.
Davis: So she says, “Oh, this is really helpful. Hold your arms still. Stay perfectly still. Don’t move your hands. Olivia … Olivia, can you come over here for a minute? I need your help.”
Davis: Is that really necessary? Can’t you just figure it out on your own? You look more than capable.
Clerk: Maybe, but I want a witness. Hey Olivia, can you come over here for a minute?
Olivia: Just a sec.
Davis: Seriously. I don’t think we need any help.
Olivia: What’s up?
Clerk: This man has a friend …
Davis: A close friend.
Clerk: A close friend. He wants to buy her a bra for a gift, but doesn’t know her size … her numerical size. As you can see, he does have a clever approximation.
Olivia: He sure does. And I am so ever in your debt for calling me over to help. I wouldn’t have missed this for anything. Where’s your cell phone?
Olivia: Bummer. Is that her actual size, or just some wishful thinking on your part?
Davis: Sorry about that. My hands are relaxed. I am cramping up just a little.
Olivia: Could you tighten it up a bit? Maybe a little squeeze? There you go. See? That wasn’t so hard, Was it? You’re a natural.
Davis: Can I put my arms down now?
Olivia: No. Not yet.
Clerk: What do you think, Olivia? Mira or Madison?
Olivia: A close call, but I’ve got to go with Maddie. She’s in the back. I’ll go get her.
Davis: No. No. Please, could it not be anyone else? This is embarrassing to me.
Olivia: You want to gift a little support to your friend. Don’t you?
Clerk: Well then, Olivia, ask Madison to join us.
Pete: Women … If they ever gain control of the military, all our wars would be over in a month. They are professionals. So this Maddie woman shows up to help?
Davis: She did.
Pete: What’s she got that they don’t?
Davis: A similar size and shape.
Pete: And you know this how exactly?
Davis: Madison Farmer …
Miles: The Maddie from the step aerobics class? You didn’t mention that before.
Davis: One and the same.
Miles: Humiliations galore.
Davis: It got worse. She and Olivia come out from the storeroom.
Madison: Well hello there. Davis … isn’t it?
Davis: Hey there, Maddie.
Clerk: We think you might be a close match to this gentleman’s close friend.
Madison: In what way? Is she on to you too?
Olivia: We are trying to find a good match for her bra size.
Clerk: We need you to step up to the plate, so to speak. It’s all in your hands now, Buddy.
Davis: So … Madison takes a couple of steps towards me.
Miles: No mercy.
Madison: If you make contact with me, I’m calling the cops.
Davis: Wouldn’t think of trying.
Madison: We both know that’s not the truth.
Davis: A misfortune, that’s all it was … nothing but a terrible accident at the gym.
Madison: We’ll see … Well? What’s the gentleman’s verdict?
Davis: I do see … Perfection.
Davis: Seriously … it was a total accident. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, and the locker room doors really should be more clearly differentiated from each other.
Madison: Whatever …
Davis: You and Celia seem to be pretty much the same size. It’s just a guess.
Madison: Here’s a nice brand for her. Tiger. A 36-C. A perfect fit.
Davis: Wait! I was hoping for something that might be half-off.
Clerk: It’s marked down 40%.
Davis: I meant less material.
Madison: Oh really?
Davis: Well this looks more like a small overcoat. I was hoping for something that jumped out at me.
Olivia: Is this a present for your friend or you?
Pete: What did I tell you? What did I say?
Davis: It’s for her.
Davis: And I suppose … me. And then the three of them walked into the back storeroom … laughing uncontrollably.
Pete: Wow! Can I follow you around for a week, Davis?
Davis: No more than you do now, Pete.
Pete: Compared to me, you lead a marvelous life.
Davis: Oh look! It’s my bus … late as usual, but still on time.
James F. Ross