“Hey Bernie, look at this!” Marge wheezed as she picked up the thick piece of glass from the thrift store shelf.
Bernie used his cane to join his wife. “Yeah, what about it? It’s just a paperweight,” Bernie said dismissively as she pressed the glass in his hand. “Hmm. Heavy. I like the way the swirled blue mixes with the red. Reminds me of playing marbles.”
“Is that all it reminds you of, dear?” Marge’s web of wrinkles parted in a suggestive smile as she took the weight back into her own hand.
Bernie caught her meaning. “Oh. Oh, yeah …” he chuckled, but it soon turned into a coughing fit. He leaned on his cane and coughed toward the floor.
She patted him clumsily on the back. “Are you okay, Dear? I’ll ask the young man for some water.”
Bernie continued hacking as Marge made her way slowly to the counter, her stooped back only letting her go so fast. Still far from the counter, she asked loudly, “Excuse me,” letting her voice reach the man before she did, “young man, can my husband have a glass of water?”
The boy glanced at the clock briefly, then said, “We don’t have any water. There’s a convenience store across the street.” He went back to his phone, emitting a sudden high-pitched laugh at something on his screen.
“Oh. Oh, I see.” she said, finally reaching the counter. Bernie’s coughing jag tapered off.
“It’s okay Sweetie. I’m okay now,” Bernie confirmed, slowly finding his way to join them at the counter. “What’s so funny, my boy?” he glanced at the clerk’s phone.
The clerk looked at them, annoyed by the intrusion of his privacy. “What? Oh, nothing. Just a funny post on my wall.”
Marge looked confused. Bernie just looked around the small shop, “It’s changed a lot. How long have your parents owned this little thrift shop?”
The clerk’s gaze had drifted back to the smart phone in his hand. He seemed freshly annoyed, putting the phone down on the counter. “I just work here, man. No relation. Look, folks, we close in ten minutes. It’s been slow all day, and I want to be out of here fast. So …”
“Young people these days,” Bernie said to his wife, “Always on their phones, no patience, never noticing what’s really going on. The service was much better back when this was a five and dime.”
Marge smiled. “Everything was better back in ’63,” she paused and winked at the young man flirtatiously. “This was our fifth stop on the trip, you know …”
“Fifth.” Marge insisted.
“Dear, you always forget the diner where we had breakfast that morning. The waitress?” He addressed the clerk again. “She’s getting very forgetful, my Margie.”
Testily, she gave in. “Alright, sixth stop. Such a nice girl was at the counter back then. You probably don’t know what a five-and-dime is, young man. Things actually cost five and ten cents back then. Well, not everything in the store…”
“Oh, and I think it was even the same door back then. That turn-style lock seems the same.” Bernie pointed to the door.
Marge shuffled her way to the lock. She pulled her handkerchief out and used it to yank the door shut, using it again to lock the door.
“Hey, don’t touch that. We’re still open, lady.” The clerk went for the door. Marge was in his way, and only smiled as he came toward her.
“Young man, please don’t talk to my wife that way.” Since the clerk was facing Marge, Bernie shuffled as quickly as he could to the clerk and slapped the handcuffs around his right hand.
The confused clerk managed, “Hey, what the …”
Marge pushed her handkerchief into the clerk’s mouth before he could finish the objection. Bernie jerked the clerk’s thin arm and secured his left hand with the other handcuff ring. He pulled the bound clerk into the middle of the shop.
Marge turned back to the door. “Oh look, they even have a shade to cover the glass door. I haven’t seen a roll down shade in years.”
Bernie pushed the clerk onto an old wooden chair. His eyes, wide and terrified, found the old man was much stronger than he looked. Bernie quickly used two plastic zip ties to secure the cuffed hands to the ladder-back chair. He feverishly tried to spit out the wadded handkerchief, but Marge was ready with another kerchief and tied it around his head, keeping the first gag firmly in place.
“Not very strong, is he?” commented Marge.
“Not at all.” Bernie laughed. An unpleasant tingle went up the clerk’s neck at the discordant sound. “Felt like I was wrestling with a ten-year-old. That’s the trouble with this generation. They grow these skinny, nerdy wimps. This is what ‘cool’ is now.” He laughed again, but it turned into another coughing fit.
Marge sat on the young man’s lap, startling him by the sudden intimate act. “I don’t know. He’s kind of cute. Maybe we could mess around with him first. We could take turns.” She laughed and grabbed between his legs. The clerk wiggled his legs to dislodge her, to no effect.
Bernie’s tone changed to instant rage, “Hey boy, you flirtin’ with my girl?” The clerk jerked his face toward Bernie. Bernie laughed. “Relax, kid. I’m just kidding. No Sweetie, no messing around. I don’t want to leave any DNA. Remember that episode of CSI where they caught the killer with only a small drop?”
“But we want to get caught this time. The last hurrah, right? ‘Come back to the five and dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean,” Marge cooed, kissing the clerk on the nose. He recoiled from the waxy lipstick on his skin. The woman smelled of lilac and grandma. He made a noise through his gag. She wiped off the lipstick from his nose with her fingers. Marge reluctantly stood up.
Bernie had walked away on his cane, and yelled from the back of the store, “Caught? yes, but you know we have to time this just right. We’ll start leaving fingerprints and evidence around number seven. Heck, I guess that will make it fourteen if you count our first road trip in ‘63. Where’s your purse?”
“It’s over there,” but she was still standing over the clerk, staring into his eyes. She licked her lips suggestively. The young man nearly gagged as he saw her sway, running her hands up and down her body.
Bernie came back from the purse, slipping something into Margie’s hand as he passed. “This is smoother than the rock you used the first time,” Bernie noted.
Marge accepted the heavy glass paperweight and ran it slowly down her body. “Hmmm. Let’s hurry, Lover,” Margie purred, “I want to get back to the motel room soon.”
“I can’t believe that old motel is still there. And our room number six empty for our return visit. Feels like fate. But, no Sweetie. No hurry. We’re gonna take our time with this one. It’s the same space, but of course the girl who worked here in ’63 was prettier than you, boy.” Bernie chuckled.
The clerk now saw the large claw hammer Bernie has pulled from his wife’s purse. It was twitching in the old man’s hand as though it couldn’t wait to do the unimaginable work. He shook his head and shouted through his gag.
An insistent buzzing sounded from the counter. Marge went over to it. “How do I work this, Sweetie?”
“Try sliding your finger on the screen,” Bernie replied, licking his dry lips, staring at the clerk.
Marge lifted her glasses, then held the phone close to her face and read ‘R U going 2nite?’ The screen faded back to black and she wiped it clean, putting it back on the counter.
“It seems you were invited to a party, young man.”
Bernie added, “But we’re gonna have a party right here.”
The clerk frantically tried to free himself, yelling to no one.
“Happy Anniversary Margie, Baby.”
“Happy Anniversary Lover Boy.” she wrapped her leg around her husband, like a teenager in love. They kissed passionately, then broke and faced the helpless victim. Bernie had his hammer, Marge her heavy paperweight. The clerk saw their faces change, like a bright day darkened by heavy clouds. They both smiled their terrible smiles as they stalked toward him.
That old feeling was back.
I am a life-long writer in many genres. Four of my novels have been published to date. My only rule is that the story must be great.