Vivian moved her manicured fingertips over the small wooden sign, turning it around to tell the City of Sao Paulo her dress shop was ready for the day. She opened the front door, dinging a tiny brass bell. She didn’t see her assistant Danela, who’d been lurking outside while Pauley had visited. Vivian wondered if Danela had seen the two gangsters earlier or if she’d caught a glimpse of Pauley’s holstered gun.
Vivian pulled the tropical print blouse off the mannequin to prepare for Pauley. A rustling noise jumped from the backroom. Vivian tossed the blouse over her right shoulder then stilled. She reached her left hand inside her right breast and pulled out a small syringe. Her thumb hovered around the plunger as she crept behind the counter and entered the room. She turned on the overhead fluorescents. Danela screamed.
“Oh o meu deus, Vivian! Sinto tanto!”
Vivian curled the syringe into her fist and pulled her arm behind her back. She exhaled and let out a nervous laugh.
“Oh my Danela. I thought I locked the back door and you always come through the front so, I just got paranoid.”
Danela smiled and bent down to pick up the remnants from a spilled purse. She began speaking in hurried Portuguese, causing Vivian to lose track of the conversation. Vivian’s first and second languages were English and Italian.
“Danela, remember, we’re in the city. We’ve been speaking English and Italian for the clientele as well as the native tongue. Repeat all of that for me in one of those.”
Twenty-one-years old but street wise, the coal-black haired, brown-eyed University student and aspiring fashion designer collected her purse, then stood in front of Vivian. Vivian caught Danela’s eyes looking at the arm arched behind her back. Vivian hardened her stare as Danela struggled with her broken English.
“Um, Vivian, I run late so clock alarm no work. I see you with the pretty blonde American woman and go to the back and see those two Sao Sampas, and…”
Vivian walked past Danela and opened the metal backroom door. It led into an alley wide enough for a truck to back against. She saw a fresh cigarette butt, similar to ones smoked by Tomas’ henchman. She placed the syringe back in her bra and turned to Danela.
“Did you hear their conversation? The Sampas, did they say anything about me or the shop?”
Danela placed her purse on the wooden drawing table where they hemmed dresses. Vivian crossed her arms and waited.
“All I hear, heard, is they say to come back when the truck come at almoco, or lunch, you know.”
Vivian bit her top lip and thought about Pauley. She knew her friend would be desperate for coffee.
“Danela, Senora Marielo will be here in about an hour. I need to buy some thread. You get the displays ready and handle any customers for the next half an hour or so. Would you like a coffee and a roll from Cafe Suplicy?”
Danela smiled, pressed her hands over her tight red Francisco Costa dress and replied.
“Sim, vivian. Eu amaria isto. Não se incomode com a loja.”
Vivian rolled her eyes and handed Pauley’s blouse to Danela.
“Handle this with extreme care and include a bottle of perfume. It’s for someone very important to me.”
This is Millicent and Pauley the Brazilian sequel; new chapters of a sequel to Dead Money, the summer blog series my friend and writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R, and I wrote together. Check out her blog http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com/ for her companion chapter.
Today’s song is ironic because it’s the opposite of the ironic it’s meant to convey the opposite of the romantic nature of the actual song. Listen to this with your tongue in your cheek and flip the meaning. Here’s Fountains of Wayne with I Want You Around.