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Here's today's from my soon to be released in
August 2012 story, "Store Wars":
"This stuff is crap." I ran a finger along the edge of a faux-finished table parked inside the store's entryway, flicking more than a hint of dust from my fingertip. My best girlfriend, Tracy, and I were scoping out the competition in the Sommerville Historic Depot District, one of which was Tejas Souvenirs owned by an old flame's mom. So far, no business we'd visited had measured up. The other stores all looked...tacky touristy.
I walked through to the next section, thoroughly disgusted with what lay before me. This store needed major first aid. No quality merchandise anywhere. The overpowering scents of vanilla and cinnamon from the cheap candles loaded on another table top caused me to have a major sneezing fit.
Tracy passed a tissue. "Janie, need this?"
"T'anks." I stuffed the used wad in my pant’s front pocket, praying the urge to let loose again would bypass. "Why in the world is a huge candle display by the front door, assaulting a customer when he-slash-she walks in? I can't be the only one who's allergic. And look..." I pointed to the section at the top of four steps, "room diffusers up there. Another brand of candles over there. And yes, people, let's combine those with scented bath products. A whole lotta stinky people and stinky homes are out there in the big wide world."
Tracy scribbled notes as I surreptitiously took pictures of the store's contents. "Undoubtedly," she said in a hushed tone. "So what else turns you off?"
In one corner, imitation leather purses embellished with rhinestone crowns had been stacked on a glass and chrome shelving unit. Cheap, gemstone bracelets decorated a nearby display stand. I pointed to a shirt rack and said in a soft voice, "I'd never wear these clothes."
With a frown, Tracy cupped her mouth. "Me, neither. They're aimed for the nighttime crowd—if you catch my drift."
"I do. Yuck." Taking in the whole enchilada, I stopped when I spied the jean-clad backside of a male employee sweeping the floor. God, I hope he hadn't heard us. I steered Tracy aside and whispered, "We'll have no problems with Twinkle Toes succeeding in the Depot District. Even better than the mall."
"I agree. Let's split up, take mental notes, and meet out front in fifteen minutes."
I peeled off to the left, and she went to the right. The man cleaning glanced over his shoulder and straightened. "May I help you?"Instantly, my body froze like an icicle. It couldn't be— Could it? Fletcher? As in my once upon a time boyfriend, Fletcher Babcock? When had he abandoned the bright lights of Big D and return to Sommerville?
Question: What is the name of Janie's store?
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