Thursday, 9 October 2014

PAWNING PEARL - A Serial Novel - Chapter 10

At the Shopping Centre Simon herded them towards a very reputable department store. They took the escalator up to the Children's Wear department. There a very charming lady with long scarlet nails and a hairstyle that made her look like Marge Simpson helped them select the school uniforms for the children, then the school shoes.

"Will that be all Sir?" Big Hair had studiously avoided Pearl, having sniffed out instantly where the buying power lay.

"Pearl? Is there anything else the children need?" Simon asked.

Pearl hesitated, looking at the clothing piled up in the sales woman's arms. "Underwear? Pyjamas, maybe?"

"Jeans!" Cried Isaiah, "And a football!!" He cringed under Pearl's reproving gaze an added "Please?"

Simon grinned "Every boy needs a football!" he hunkered down to look Thali in the eye.

"And what would you like, Princess?"

Thali looked at him with serious round  eyes. "A doll, and a book, and a piggy-back ride."

Simon nodded. "Seems very reasonable, yes. Very wise choices."

He rose to his full height and turned to the woman with a smile. "Miss Chabalala will decide what to buy for the children, Madam, and how much to spend. I am her servant only, her driver."

The woman's cheeks darkened. "Of course Sir. Madam, if you will follow me?"

It was FUN. Simon had to admit, shopping was fun- like helping Isaiah decide between Spiderman and Batman pyjamas.

"Well, Batman is COOL, but he doesn't have a SUPER POWER."

"Well,Isaiah, that is what makes him cooler. He makes do with BRAIN POWER. Anyone who works hard can be a hero like Batman."

"Mr. Simon, you are all right!" And Isaiah solemnly high-fived him.

There was one dizzy moment when the sales woman handed him the tally and took his card;when the world seem to spin dizzily out from under him, but he had caught a glimpse of Pearl's glowing eyes and his stomach settled down.

Across the corridor from the department store was a Toy Store, and Isaiah charged in, heading straight for a large bin filled with footballs, followed by an anxious Pearl.
The argument started immediately.

"Little boys do not need hand-stitched leather footballs!" Pearl tapped at the label, then reached into the bin and pulled out a rubber version with a much more acceptable price tag, Simon noted with approval. 

Still he found himself saying in an indulgent tone: "Now, Miss Pearl...It is the boy's first football!"

Pearl's eyes acquired that flinty glaze he'd learnt to dread. "Mr. Thambisa, I will not have these children ruined by over-indulgence, Sir. I will not allow it."

He lowered his eyes and mumbled, turning towards Thali who had a doll under one arm and a garishly coloured pop-up book under the other. "This Lady knows what she wants," he smiled. Thali smiled back shyly, and nodded.

"Now," he cried, "I am very hungry! We have not had lunch and I am a big man." He lowered his eyebrows in a mock frown, "And I need my food. Where would my children like to eat?"

"MACDONALD'S!" Shouted Isaiah.

"YES! YES! PLEASE!" cried Thali. 

Simon Thambisa winced. He looked above the children's heads at Pearl, wordlessly asking for approval before yielding to the request (he was a fast learner) and was astounded to find the same excitement in her smile. He sighed in resignation.

"All right, my children, MacDonald's it is."

Later, cramming bags and packages and children into the Merc, Simon remarked to to Thali: "You are very right, it is too tiny."

"No, it isn't. It is cosy-cosy, just right!"

Simon grinned "In you go Miss Thali! And don't think I have forgotten that I still owe you a piggy-back ride!"



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