“This is the selection,” said the saleswoman. “The policy covers one item.”
“We did contact you earlier in the year asking if you’d like to upgrade,” she said shortly. “As I remember, you decided not to take that option.”
He took a deep breath. “You called me at two in the morning. On a Wednesday.”
“One item,” she repeated. “I’ll give you a minute to make your decision.” She walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Jeff stuck two fingers up at the closed door and, when that didn’t achieve anything, walked slowly over to the table. Two hands, a bad haircut and a pair of 1980’s earrings. Not exactly what he’d had in mind.
The pitch had been convincing. Despite trying everything he could think of – internet dating, evening classes, even one particularly short-lived dalliance with a show choir – he was still spending every weekend dozing on the sofa in his pants, eating Doritos and watching bad porn. Then one night he’d woken up one night to an advert for mail order brides. Spread the cost of your perfect woman, it urged him, 0% APR. Pay in as many instalments as you like.
He just hadn’t realised the bride would be coming in instalments too.
He could hear the saleswoman’s heels clicking back up the hallway. He gave the left hand an exploratory prod and it immediately balled itself up into a fist and rolled across the table until it was hidden under the hair. The right scuttled across the table and reared up onto its stump of a wrist.
“Have you decided?” asked the saleswoman, looking at him with distaste. Jeff swallowed hard and then grabbed the pair of earrings and walked quickly to the door.
“That’s two items. You may keep one,” she said, holding out her hand.
“Oh, come on.”
Jeff knew when he was beaten. He gave her one earring, pocketed the other and started the journey back home.