As Martin pushed open the door to the antique store, a bell jingled overhead. Donovan jumped to the side, overreacting to the sound.
"Quit it." Martin tried suppressing the anger in his voice, lowering it to a harsh whisper, but the old woman behind the count as well as two or three other people, patrons walking around the store, looked up and stared at them.
Self-conscious, Martin smiled and waved, hoping that would be enough to send the onlookers back to whatever it was they were doing before Donovan drunkenly stumbled into the store. If he could get Donovan to the bathroom and back to the car without causing a scene he'd give himself the night off and not worry about his friend's complete inability to maintain his own life.
In front of them, marking the walkway point between the front door and the cash register, was a circular display table covered in candy. Like a blooming flower, petals of rock candy, jaw-breakers, and a dozen other folksy candy that Martin had never seen sparkled under the store light. Donovan raced toward it, teetering back and forth like an uncoordinated child.
"Dee," Martin hissed, but the drunken oaf already had his hands in the jars, sifting through the jars of candy like he was searching for gold in a bucket of sand. "Let's go, Dee. We need to get back on the road."
"Hold on a minute, I want to get some of this?"
Martin looked up. The woman at the register was eyeing them again. "Fine. Hold on. Just... just stay here. And don't break anything."
Hurrying forward, Martin closed the distance between him and the register in five quick steps, making sure to position himself between the woman and his friend. If he did embarrass himself, he hoped at the very least, the woman with the power to throw them out wouldn't see it.
"Hi, ma'am. Would you happen to have a bathroom here?"
The old woman was thin. Her white hair cascaded down one side of her head, giving her a youthful look, almost vibrant look. This was all off set by the tight-lipped, sour expression she wore. She's probably been working this counter since she was eight, Martin realized with a growing sense of dread. How many drunk townies and tourists had she dealt with over the years? And here he was thinking his Richie Cunningham, "Sorry to bother you, Ma'am," voice would make a lick of difference.
Martin tried swallowing while he waited for the woman to answer. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and leaned to one side, peering over his shoulder. No sense in turning back now. Martin redoubled his efforts, expanding his grin until his cheeks hurt and leaning with her so to keep her blocked from whatever it was Donovan was getting into.
Your move, lady.
The woman's lips gave a slight twitch. A sign that after craning her neck as much as she could to see around him--despite his own shortness, Martin still stood a good three inches over the woman--she still couldn't make out what Donovan was doing. With a quick nod of her head, she indicated the bathroom was somewhere off to the side of the store, in the back.
While backing away from the counter, Martin chirped a quick, "Thanks," then, when he felt he had held the woman's gaze as long as possible, he turned and collected his friend.
As Donovan stumbled away from the table, his hand caught a jar of jelly beans and sent it tumbling to the floor. The jar smashed into floor, scattering glass and jelly beans