(It’s been a day since my last post regarding this story, so I’d like to apologize for that real quick. I decided an every other day schedule would work better, as there’s a chance I could keep it up after all of this story was posted. Just like with the last chapter, there may be a few inaccuracies, but I hope they don’t distract you from enjoying this story.)
CHAPTER 2 – THE FISH
“So, I’m supposed to go into the store, buy the single largest catfish, and act oblivious if they don’t believe my intentions are well?” asked Blair.
“Yep, and you’ll be dictating the experience to me through that Bluetooth earpiece.”
Blair nodded, adjusting the earbud and plastic stuck in her left ear. “Alright, I can do this.”
Kenny pulled open the door, motioning with his arm for Blair to exit the room. She stepped back into the main portion of the building. Austin was waiting in one of the chairs by the storefront windows.
“Alright, I’m going to be heading down to the farmer’s market,” said Blair, looking down at Austin.
“Good luck,” replied the man, flashing the woman a thumbs up.
Blair exited the building, taking a left down the sidewalk, towards the market.
“You can hear me, right?” said Kenny through the earpiece.
“Yes, I can hear you alright.”
“Alright, good, So, you’re walking down to the market, right?”
“Uh –huh,” replied Blair, looking around herself. She hoped the other people who were out in the city didn’t hear her talking to what appeared to be nothing.
“Good, that means you’re on track. Let me know when you’re in the store.”
Blair continued walking, until the farmer’s market was in sight. It was a relatively large building, with a neon sign above the awning that read, “Pennsylvania Farmer’s Market.” She got off the sidewalk and walked through the parking lot to the building.
The woman stepped through the automatic doors, letting the sudden rush of cold air blow her shirt back against her skin. She looked around at the aisles of fresh fruits and vegetables, gleaming under the fluorescent lights. Blair knew that the produce, no matter how delicious it looked, was not what she needed, however, so she walked straight to the back of the store, where the seafood was located.
As Blair approached, the woman behind the seafood counter turned towards her. “Looking for anything in particular?”
“I’m looking for catfish, actually,” Blair replied with a smile.
“Where you from?”
“Right here, in Pennsylvania.”
The shopkeeper raised her eyebrow. “You sure about that?”
Blair grabbed her wallet out of her purse, pulling out her ID and showing it to the woman. “See? Pennsylvania.”
The woman still appeared to be skeptical of Blair; her gaze darted along the woman. Blair looked down at where the shopkeeper’s stare had suddenly locked.
“Uh-oh,” she thought, staring at the Eastwood Company patch on her pocket, “I forgot to take my work vest off!”
Blair’s mind started racing. How was she supposed to make the shopkeeper believe she wasn’t buying the fish in support of Nashville? In a frenzy, Blair threw her hand into her purse, sifting through her belongings in search of something that could dissolve any suspicion of her.
“Ah-ah!” she thought as she pulled a set of keys out of the bag.
Blair held the keys out for the woman behind the counter to see. Dangling from the key ring was a couple of silver keys, and a small keychain of a baseball bat. On the bat was a small logo of Pittsburgh’s baseball team, the Pirates. The keychain was a gift from Blair’s younger brother, and it finally served a greater purpose than just looking nice.
“I’m not one of those dirty multi-city fans, trust me,” said Blair, turning the keychain so the logo was clear to see.
The shopkeeper smiled. “I shouldn’t have doubted you. Catfish are right down there.” The woman pointed to the left.
Blair walked down to the counter and looked at the fish.
“Which one do you want?”
“I’ll take. . . .” Blair circled her finger in front of the fish, until it settled on the one she thought was the largest. “I’ll take that one.”
The shopkeeper pulled the fish off the ice it was laid on, and shoved it into a plastic freezer bag. “Here you go,” she said, holding the fish out to Blair.
“Thank you,” Blair said, taking the fish and walking away.
“Winslow coming in the clutch!” said Kenny through the earpiece.
“Thanks, Kenny,” replied Blair.
“I have no idea what about your keys made that lady believe you, but I’m glad it worked!”
“It was a keychain, and I’m glad it worked, too.”
Blair walked into the check-out line. After the cashier rang her up, she left the market and walked back down to the Eastwood Company building, catfish in tow.