In December I don’t usually do a lot of work for Uncle Joey, so I was surprised when he asked me to run an errand for him. I’m always a little bit nervous about running errands for Uncle Joey, mostly because it seems like I always get into trouble, even when he says I won’t.
But this errand didn’t seem so bad. He wanted me to pick up the gift he’d ordered for Jackie at the diamond jewelry store. Since I was curious to see the expensive gift he’d bought her, I was happy to do it.
I was also supposed to stop at the Nut Warehouse and pick up his order of Christmas gifts for his friend and associates. He’d figured that since the stores were close to each other, it made sense to take care of them both at the same time.
He gave me his credit card to pay for everything and sent me on my way. I stopped at the Nut place first and went inside, telling them I was there to pick up the Manetto order. The person at the front desk said she had several orders waiting in the back, and told me it would take a minute to sort through them.
Just then, two more people came in wanting their orders, followed by a third. She took all of their names down, and left to find our orders at the same time. A few minutes later she came back with a heavy box. After setting it down, she went back again, repeating the process several times.
Once she had all the boxes in front of her, she then had to check the orders against the papers with the orders on the boxes. I was hoping that since I was the first one there, she’d help me first, but of course, that’s not what happened.
Needless to say, everyone else got their orders before I did, and it made me a little cranky. In fact, the first box that she’d carried out was on the bottom of the stack, and it was the one with the Manetto name on it.
After everyone else had left, she finally brought up my order and held out her hand for my credit card. I reached for the card in my purse, and came up empty. I checked my coat pockets, but it wasn’t there. My jeans pockets were also empty. Next, I unzipped every little nook and cranny in my purse to check there, but still couldn’t find the damn thing.
As panic began to set in, I tried to remember what I’d done with the card. I knew I’d had it in my hand when I first entered the shop, so where had it gone? Maybe I’d dropped it? I glanced at the floor, then got down on my hands and knees to see if it was underneath something.
“What’s wrong?” the clerk asked.
“I’ve lost my credit card. I know I had it when I came in here, but now I can’t find it.”
“Oh, that’s not good.” She glanced at all the paperwork in front of her and lifted papers up to see if it had ended up on her desk. Then her eyes widened as she remembered that I’d handed her my card, but she couldn’t remember what she’d done with it. “I’ll be right back,” she said, making a bee-line for the back room.
I stood, heaving a sigh that at least I hadn’t lost it, and waited for her to come back. After several minutes with no sign of her, I hurried around the partition to her desk to search for it myself.
It wasn’t on the desk, or on the floor, or anywhere else that I could see. So she must have taken it into the back room with her. Just as I started back there, she came out with her eyes round as saucers. “Did you find it?” she asked.
“I can’t find it either.” She was thinking that she’d never told me that I’d given it to her, so maybe she’d stick with that and hope I thought I was the one who’d lost it.
I wasn’t about to go along with that. “Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I gave it to you. So what did you do with it?”
Her shoulders sank. “I don’t know.”
“Let’s go over everything that happened from when I first came in.” I took her through it, and we retraced her steps, still coming up empty-handed.
Then I noticed that she had front pockets in her plaid shirt. “Did you look in your shirt pockets?”
With a startled gasp, she reached in and pulled the card out. “Oh my gosh! Here it is!” After apologizing several times, she ran the card and handed me my box, making sure I had the receipt and the card. “Just a minute.” She ran to the back room, then came out with a small box of nuts. “This is for all the hassle.”
I thanked her and left, grateful that it had turned out all right in the end, but seriously? Why does this always happen to me?
I made it to the jewelry store, holding the credit card tight in my fist where I wouldn’t lose it. The jeweler recognized me from the last time I’d been there with Billie when we’d picked out Dimples’ wedding band. It took him by surprise that I was the one Uncle Joey had called him about. “You’re Shelby?” he asked.
He thought that I sure got around, but maybe that’s why I worked for Uncle Joey. He took out the velvet box containing the necklace and earrings set that Uncle Joey had bought for Jackie and caught my gaze. “Do you want to see it?”
“Sure.” My eyes widened as he opened the box. The set was stunning with a combination of sapphires and diamonds in beautiful white gold. Then he pulled out a couple of smaller boxes.
“Which one of these do you like best?” he asked, opening the boxes to reveal a different set of earrings inside each one. One style was more formal with a single diamond on a swirl of white gold, while the other was more whimsical with three strands of white gold chain laced with smaller diamonds.
I caught his gaze. “For me, or Jackie?”
He smiled, thinking nothing got past me. “Would it matter?”
I shrugged. “No. They’re both beautiful, but I like one with the strands the best.”
“That’s the one I would have picked for you,” he said, thinking that my husband would be pleased, and he hoped he hadn’t given too much away. Covering his tracks, he went on to explain, “A friend asked me to pick something out for his wife, and she is a lot like you. That’s why I asked.”
“Oh, I see. Well, your friend’s wife is lucky. She’ll love them.”
He smiled, pleased with how sneaky he’d been, and got the jewelry for Uncle Joey all packaged up. After the transaction, he handed the box to me, and wished me a Merry Christmas.
I made it back to Thrasher Development in one piece and everything turned out all right in the end. Yes, I know about the earrings, but there’s not too many presents I don’t know about, if you know what I mean.
So, I can’t complain too much about running those errands for Uncle Joey. Even if one was a pain in the butt, the other more than made up for it.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas! (With lots of surprises under the tree!)