Clothes Rack | Niles Reddick
The Sears store was cold compared to the hundred degrees temperature and humidity outside in inland Florida where the coastal breezes cease, and Mom was lured there after receiving the sales circular in the mail. I had eaten my gummy bears and fidgeted with the clothes on the rack.
“Leave the clothes alone,” she said. “Play with your cars.”
“Are you almost finished?”
“No,” she said, pulling a hanger with a dress from the metal retail rack, holding the dress on the hanger just below her chin, looking at it in the floor-length mirror on the wall, putting it back on the rack, and scraping groups of hangers with dresses to the next one she liked.
“I’m ready for the Happy Meal,” I tugged on her clam diggers.
“If you don’t stop your ants in the pants, you’ll eat fried liver for lunch.” She shooed me away like the gnats we fanned when outside.
I crawled on all fours to the center of the rack, imagined it a teepee, sat with my legs crossed, my spine lined with the stainless-steel totem pole, and watched my mom move clockwise around the rack, her clogs stepping like the slow dances on Lawrence Welk. I rolled my cars, parked them in a lot, whispered invitations to imaginary drivers about a race, and then sped the cars and drivers until they crashed.
What I didn’t know was that my mom didn’t know where I had gone, called my name, and ran to the cashier’s counter. Salesclerks fanned out, and the manager made an announcement over the intercom. Something brought me back from the race, and I saw clogs, reached through the dresses, and pulled on Mom’s pants. The lady screamed, and one of the clerks came, pushed the clothes on the rack, and saw me.
“Come out of there, boy.”
Mom ran over when she heard the commotion. “You about gave me a heart attack.” She yanked me by the arm, and I dropped my Porsche.
She turned to the lady shopping. “I’m sorry he scared you.”
“It’s alright,” she said, fanning herself.
“I can’t take you nowhere.”
“What about my Happy Meal?”
“Ain’t nothing happy about the meal you’ll get when I get you home.”
About the Author:
Niles Reddick is author of a novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in over 450 publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, Citron Review, and The Boston Literary Magazine. He is a three time Pushcart and two time Best Micro nominee and works for the University of Memphis. His newest flash collection If Not for You has just been published by Big Table Publishing.