No one knew what to make of the woman who’d just walked into the cafeteria during the early lunch service at work this past Friday.
As a matter of fact, a hush settled over the place.
We were all probably in awe at seeing a woman so tall. She was well over six feet, closer to seven feet. She sauntered in like she owned the place, like she’d never been treated as the oddity she appeared to be.
She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and addressed the lunch crowd.
“Excuse me,” she said, in a voice delicate as a flower.
No one said a thing. The chatter had already been a bit boring, with Tom standing up in the front of the cafeteria, bragging about his great golf games. The sound of his bouncing golf balls were still pinging in our ears. This woman quieted even chatty Tom.
“I’m selling tea tree oil. Special tea tree oil for nails.” She held up several small gold packets. “I have samples for a dollar if you like. And I have full bottles here for ten dollars. I take cash, credit cards and checks.”
The guys were loving this, a big tall beautiful woman appearing out of nowhere. I, being a woman, was more interested in where she got her weave done. It flowed just right, which meant it was human hair. And she had nice highlights.
“I’ll take a bottle,” Tom said. He gave her his credit card. “Matter of fact, I’ll take two.”
Chairs scooted back hard and fast from the cafeteria tables. The men lined up to purchase full bottles of tea tree oil.
I wasn’t buying it. Tea tree oil for nails? Never heard of it.”
When lunch was over, she left. But she left her purse behind.
“Too late to run after her,” I said.
“Look in there, look in her wallet,” Tom said. “Maybe you can get her name and info.”
I opened the purse. All I saw was a kit kat bar, and several IDs, each for the same person.
Funny, when she made her speech, she didn’t give her name.
It could be any of the names printed on the IDs: Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Michelle Obama, Lauryn Hill, Condoleeza Rice...
I smiled. And these fools gave her there credit card numbers.
“Well,” Tom said, as he bounced his golf balls on the floor. “What’s her name?”
"Sally.” I said.
“Her name is Sally. And I will call her when I get back to my desk.”
From Women of Color Writing Workshop, January 7, 2011. Writing Prompt: Pull a card randomly from a stack of cards and use the words or phrases on the card in a story (10 minute exercise). My words were the following:
1. Tea tree oil for nails.
2. Golf balls
3. weave with nice highlights
4. purse containing several IDs.
5. a kit kat bar.
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