I am finding stories I’ve forgotten writing. This is another Woman’s World reject. This one is 5 years old now. I think I can do better…
Just My Luck
Her arm caught the edge of the hand mirror. Meredith watched it all in slow motion and saw the mirror flying through the air. The crash brought silence to the rest of the salon. Stylists and customers alike looked up to see what happened.
“Oh no. Just what I need.” She hurried to fetch the broom and dustpan. “And I love that mirror. They don’t make them in hot pink anymore.”
“Seven years bad luck,” Trish said, straightening up her workstation.
“It can’t be any worse than the luck I’ve been having lately. A boyfriend who decided he’s allergic to hairspray. Three customers canceled today. Tomorrow can’t be worse.”
“You’re just not trying. Things can always be worse.”
Meredith began to sweep. “Styling hair won’t be any fun without my beautiful mirror. I think I’ll quit and spend all day reading novels and eating chocolate chip cookies,” she said as she swept up glass shards.
“That’s a great plan. But how will you buy the cookies? Or pay your rent, for that matter?”
“Details my friend, mere details.”
“Tell that to the landlord.”
Meredith dragged the broom across the floor, and then stood behind her friend, looking at their reflection in the mirror at Trish’s styling station. “You’re no fun.”
“But I’m practical.”
“I’m tired of practical. I want something frivolous. And pink would be nice.” She dumped the dustpan into the waste can in the center of the salon, put it and the broom away, and returned to her station. “I want to walk in the rain and splash through puddles, not caring if I catch a cold.”
“You get colds from germs, not getting wet.”
“See? No fun.”
Meredith dropped her brush and comb into the sterilizing solution. She continued to tidy the counter, fitting styling tools into their slots and untangling the blow dryer and curling iron cords. Time to get back to work. She’d enjoyed the brief exhilaration of dreaming about a worry-free life. Now she was stuck with seven years bad luck.
The bell over the front door rang, announcing an entrance.
“Hello, ladies.” Rick, a beauty-supply salesmen lugged in a large black sample case. He set it on Trish’s empty chair, next to Meredith’s station.
“Hi there,” Meredith said. “What’s new?”
“What are you looking for?” He cocked an eyebrow at her, sending her heart racing. When she didn’t answer, he turned his gaze to Trish.
“Meredith was just saying she wanted something frivolous. What have you got?” Trish leaned over Rick’s shoulder to get a look inside the case.
“Frivolous, huh. Let me think…” He smiled, then leaned over to rummage around.
Meredith gave Trish a vexed look. Trish stuck out her tongue.
“How about some bright orange nail polish? How’s that for cheerful?”
“Trish is playing a joke on you, Rick.” Meredith grabbed a damp rag and began to wipe down her area.
“You don’t like orange polish? How about temporary dyes? I’ve got green, purple and orange. A veritable rainbow of hair hues.”
She smiled in spite of herself. “I don’t think so.”
“Why do you want something frivolous?” Rick asked, ducking his head to meet her eye as she concentrated on wiping.
“I don’t, really. I was just saying I felt like doing something new and exciting. I’ve been styling hair all day in the same trendy cut. Yesterday, I did manicures. Everyone wanted the same deep red polish. I’m just… tired of the same old same old, I guess.”
“Enough said. I know just the thing.”
He disappeared through the front door.
Meredith looked at Trish. “What’s that all about?”
“Don’t know. Maybe he’s got prototypes of super-secret styling products out in the car. He’s going to ask you to test them out.”
“You make it sound like he’s a spy asking me for intel’ on the enemy’s shampoo and conditioner formulas.”
“It could happen.”
Meredith laughed, feeling better than she had all day.
The bell rang again and Rick came back in, holding both hands behind his back.
“Pick a hand, right or left.”
“Excellent choice.” He drew his left arm out with a flourish to display a hand mirror. A translucent hot pink mirror.
“What is that?” She stared at it, dumbfounded.
“It’s a free gift from your local beauty supply house. It says, ‘Ace Beauty Supplies’ on it. Free advertising, you know. I was going to hang on to it, give it to someone who placed a large order, but you need something new and pretty today.”
Trish stopped what she was doing and spoke up. “It’s a mirror,” she said, full of wonder.
“Did I miss something?” he asked.
“Meredith needs one. She broke hers not two minutes before you came in here. We were just saying she’s going to have seven years of bad luck.”
Meredith shook her head. “She isn’t. Were you watching through the window?”
“No, I would never.” He sounded hurt. “I just thought it was a pretty color and we were talking about cheerful and happy things. It reminded me of the mirror and I thought you might like it. You don’t have to take it.”
“No, it’s not that.” She tried to explain. “I like it. Thank you. It’s just so strange that you would bring me a new mirror, so soon after I broke the other one. It’s almost like fate heard me and....” Her voice trailed off.
“Heard you and what?”
“Heard me complaining about my life and sent you to cheer me up. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled again. “Do you need any nail polish or hair color?”
“We’re testing some new polish shades, would you like to be one of our product testers? Use them and tell me what your favorite colors are. Maybe we could work together on this.” He closed the case and headed to the door. “I’ll bring you some samples.”
“I’d like that.” She wondered if she should say more. What the heck. When fate gives you a mirror, make lemonade. Or something like that. “Would you like to have dinner sometime?”
She nodded, amazed at her turn of luck.
He paused in the open doorway. “By the way, what kind of hairspray do you gals use? I just love this scent.”