Honi soit qui mal y pense

“May I help you, ma’am?”

Samson flushes slightly. This is a common mistake. He shakes his head, his knee-length hair, as always, a half beat behind. “I’m, uh, I’m looking for a present. For my girlfriend. Something nice?”

“Oh, I’m sorry! I’m terribly sorry, sir. From behind, I thought you were–“

He shakes his head violently, so that his hair flies up in a great cloud and settles upon the racks and the salesgirl. He pulls it all back together. “Uh. For my girlfriend? It’s our, uh, it’s our anniversary.”

She dimples at him. “Well, aren’t you thoughtful. Do you know what size she wears?”

He has a piece of paper buried in his right hand. The paper knows the answer. “34C.”

The salesgirl laughs. It’s a marvelous laugh, light and tinkling, the chiming of little glass bells. “You’re so prepared!”

He looks at his feet. “I, uh, I suppose most guys who come — who come in here, they don’t know that kind of thing. I, uh, I wrote it down while she was taking a shower. It’s supposed to be a surprise.” Samson looks at her pleadingly.

She laughs again. After that it’s an afternoon looking at underwear.