"Sir! Sir! Wait!" a woman near the front of the shopping center waved her hand and called. My husband and youngest son had arrived at their car when they heard the urgent plea of the heavily made-up lady dressed to the nines at half-past noon hurrying their way in high-heeled shoes.
Immediately my beloved shoved his hands in his pockets to feel for his frequently misplaced cell phone, keys, and wallet.
He looked beyond her to see if she was possibly running from an attacker and in need of a brawny conqueror.
He checked over his own left shoulder. Maybe she wasn't flagging him down at all ... or perhaps her signal meant he should flee from something.
Dazed by confusion, he flinched when suddenly, excitedly, she entered his personal space and close-talked. "Oh, good, you waited. Let me catch my breath for a second." And she put her hand on his shoulder.
"Take your time," he uttered, slipping from beneath her fingers and looking down at our wide-eyed child.
Again, she popped into his face. "Okay, I've got to know what color your car is. This is the exact color I want. I've been looking at Sequoyas and I found one that was sort of this color, but when the sun hits it at a certain angle, the car has a lavender sheen. I've been watching, and yours doesn't."
"I don't know the color," he bluntly stated, while carefully studying her, in case he had to later identify her in a police line-up.
Unaware of his close scrutiny, she prattled, "Well do you have your owner's manual? Maybe you could check it. I bet it lists the color. I was going to come out here and write down your VIN number, but I didn't want to get shot for poking around your car. People these days, you know. When I saw you with a little boy, though, I thought, 'Oh, he's safe. I'll just run out there and ask.' So here I am. Will you check the manual?"
My husband nodded as words tumbled out of the woman's mouth like loose rocks down a steep mountain. He protectively put our son in the backseat, then opened his own door, climbed in, and leaned over to the glove box. When he sat up, there she was, crowding her upper body through the door, eagerly peeking to see if, yes, indeed he had his owner's manual.
"I don't see anything about color," he said, drawing away.
"Can I look?" She reached in and grabbed the book from his hands and manically scoured it page by page.
"I really don't think you'll find it," my husband reiterated.
"I have just got to know the color," she desperately blurted.
"I'll sell you this Sequoya. It's been wrecked," he offered, trying to drive her away.
"OMG!" she squealed. "I would so buy this car. Right here. In this parking lot! Can I? Would you?"
"Well, I'm on the way to my son's baseball game. Call me next week," he advised, saying to look up his work number in the phone book.
"Why didn't you give her your business card?" I asked when he recounted the event. "She'd probably pay top price and we could get a new car."
"I figured she would be back on her medication by Monday, anyway, and wouldn't call," he explained. "Plus, I wouldn't want to come home from work one day and find a rabbit boiling on the stove."
Uh-oh. I hope she doesn't read the newspaper.
(Lucy Adams is a syndicated newspaper columnist, freelance writer, and the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson. Lucy invites readers to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and to visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)