Lentil and Tom


Long ago, I started writing a mystery novel called Murder at the Mercantile; I’m still working on it, of course, and every now and then a scene pops into my head and it’s much more engaging than whatever else I’m doing. The book may or may not ever be finished, and if it is, it may or may not ever have a character named Lentil in it.


“I cannot believe it. I cannot believe that Care would blow us off on Inventory day like this, leave us all with his notes and schedules and freaky broken heaters and just not show up! That’s so rude! That’s just so…”

She turned around and walked into Pru, who made a better wall than a door. Pru had no look about her at all. She was looking the look at Lentil, but the look wasn’t angry or sad or joyful-bordering-on-manic or anything you could put your finger on. It was just Pru, standing in a doorway. Then it was just Pru, turning around and going back to the office. Tom stepped aside to let her by, then looked down at Lentil: “Hey. Zip it, okay?”

“I’m sorry she heard me, Tom, but you know… well. I don’t know.”

“I do know that you don’t know, so I’ll tell you. But Carroll never blew off a responsibility in his whole tight-ass Yankee life. Something’s up, so just… give it a rest, ok?”

“You think Pru’s mad at me?”

“Oh, yeah. Definitely. That was pretty stupid, Bean.”


“Whatever. I mean, don’t go getting all gushy and apologize or anything, just… hey, go finish counting that case of Lust Bars for her, that’ll do it. She hates those things.”

“She’ll know I’m doing that to apologise?”

“Of course she will, because she hates them. Don’t say anything about it, just sign the sheet, close the case up, and put the clipboard on top. That’s Yankee for ‘I’m sorry.'”

“Tom, that is seriously weird.”

“I know.”

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