By Sally Madison
Linda braced herself as she reached for the handle of the shop’s glass door. ‘What was she going to tell her mother?’ she thought. ‘No, I don’t have to tell her, I just won’t show her, if I place it right.’
The smell escaping from the door hit her like a brick before she even took a step in. Motor oil, sweat, formaldehyde and a strange sweet smell blended, assaulting her innocent nose. As she looked around, she noticed there were no wall coverings that she had seen before. Every available space was covered, like a child’s room exalting his obsession, be it football or cowboys. Some were pretty; some were terrifying, black and whites, colors. It was an art class room gone wild. Big albums on dirty tables, next to filthy chairs and an operating table were the only furnishings.
“YEAH, WHAT DO YOU WANT?” was heard from a door leading to the back of the shop. A big burly giant came in, like he was looking for a fight. His dark greasy hair, so long it matted with his long beard, which matted with the hair on his shoulders and chest that stuck out from under his multi-stained undershirt with yellow armpits.
Linda’s resolve nearly melted, as she was taken aback, but then she smiled weakly, as she thought, ‘this is a personified Brutus of the Popeye cartoon series’.
“Sorry, little lady, you were not who I was expecting,” Brutus apologized. “What can I do for you?” His eyes looked her up and down from her painted red toe nails in jeweled flip-flops, to her long sun tanned legs, red short-shorts, glitter red halter top and her sun-bleached pony tail. Looking like the Cheshire cat of Alice in Wonderland, his mind was racing to what he would like to do with her.
“I’ve decided to do this,” she resounded, regaining her composure.
“Do you know what you want? Or you can look around,” replied Brutus.
“I had an idea, but now I’m not so sure.”
“I have a sketch pad, if you want to give me an idea.”
Linda took the book and started to sketch. “I’d like it in a script, but not too curly, with more of a racing car feel to it.” He took the book and drew an amazing image of what she wanted. “That’s it!” she exclaimed, “but I need it where I can hide it from my mother, maybe here,” as she pointed to her left shoulder blade.
An hour or so later, Brutus handed her a mirror and held another mirror over the inflamed shoulder. Brutus asked, “What’s your name anyway?”
“Linda” was the response, as she stood.”
“Oh,” said Brutus, “I get it, the ‘L’ is for Linda.
Heading for the door, Linda turned her head, “No, ‘L’ is for Lightning” she responded. As she pick up her motorcycle helmet, gave Brutus a playful wink and exited the shop.