Bankers' Hours(4)

By: Wade Kelly

“Thank you. Although it’s not necessary for a deposit.”

She smiled. “I come in here several days a week. You’re new, so I wanted to make sure you got familiar with my name… and face. It will make it easier the next time.”

“True.” I read the name. “Ms. Gina Snyder.” I chuckled, finding her name ironic. “I have Snyder’s pretzels in my lunch today. I don’t suppose you own the pretzel company, do you?” Her deposit was large, but there had to be hundreds of Snyders in the greater tristate area. Snyder’s was a Pennsylvania company.

“Mrs.,” she stressed. “And not directly, no,” she replied, grinning rather mischievously. Her eyes lingered on me, and my face flushed. “I’ll see you another day, my dear boy.” She winked and turned away.

Two winks in one day. If this was any indication of the type of town Westminster was, I wasn’t sure I could handle it. I was used to attention, but this was silly. I wasn’t sure I’d last in this branch if every customer flirted with me, although perhaps I was assuming too much. Mr. Carr couldn’t possibly have known I was gay, and Mrs. Snyder wouldn’t flirt with a guy my age, would she? I was young enough to be her son.

Jessica stepped up behind me and whispered, “Be careful with her. She’s a cougar.”

I turned around sharply. “What?”

Jessica glanced at the lobby before saying, “She’s an aggressive older woman who likes to prey on hot young guys.”

There was one person filling out a slip and another waiting to see the manager about opening an account, so I had a minute or two to fuss. I protested, “I’m not hot.”

She snorted. “Oh, please. You’re hot. I wouldn’t normally admit it to your face, but since you’re gay, my opinion won’t get misconstrued.”

“Gay? I’m not…,” I started to protest, but the look she gave me screamed, “Stop before I smack you.” I glanced around and whispered, “How did you know?”

She snorted again, louder this time. If she’d been drinking something, it would have come out her nose for sure. “I know this is going to sound awful, but you drip gay. From your pink shirts—”

“Straight guys wear pink,” I blurted.

“To your perfect hair—”

“Straight guys comb their hair.”

“And your obsession with cleanliness—”

“Straight guys can be clean.”

“There isn’t a single thing about you I’ve seen this week to convince me you’re straight. Maybe Mrs. Snyder can overlook your less-than-straight qualities because she wants to bag you, but I pegged you from day one. I’m just saying… be careful and stop flirting with the customers.”

“I’m not.” Besides the fact her assessment of me was offensive, I didn’t flirt. Did I?

“Oh, right,” she laughed. “Then you better control your blushing, because women like Mrs. Snyder will eat you alive, and guys like Mr. Carr will punch the shit out of you. I saw him at a Papa Joe’s once. He got off his motorcycle and walked across the parking lot like he owned the place. It scared the crap out of me. He could be a police officer, or a general of an army. Believe me, you don’t want to mess with him.”

I couldn’t imagine Mr. Carr punching me. He’d seemed very nice. His half smile intrigued me—it made me think of trouble brewing under the surface. He certainly had that bad-boy quality I’d always appreciated from afar. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. He didn’t seem dangerous to me. Besides, I’m not flirting with anyone, and I don’t blush easily.”

“The hell you don’t. Just watch yourself, or Tracy will haul you into her office and rip you a new one. She’s all about policy, and dating customers is frowned upon.”

We were only standing in my cubicle, but as she hissed at me so intensely, she might as well have yelled, I felt as though she’d shoved me into a corner with her finger pointed in my face. “Okay, okay. Jeez. I haven’t done anything.”

Her expression changed. “I’m sorry, Grant. I like you. I don’t want to see you get fired or hurt. You seem very sweet, albeit a bit naive.”

She had me there. My cheeks heated from embarrassment.

“See, you’re blushing again.” She reached up and touched my arm as I clapped my hands over my cheeks. “I’m sorry I commented about chatting up the customers. I think it was my way of challenging what I’d seen. Part of me hoped it wasn’t true. You’re seriously cute, Grant. Being gay would ruin my chances.”

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