There was a Beatles song being introduced on the radio, and two very annoying customers in the shop. Bernard glared at them through squinty eyes, two teenage girls by that shelf full of books in a kind of autumn leaf colour, orangey-yellow.
He loathed teenagers. These two came into the shop arguing about Joy Division at top volume. Of this pair, one had earphones around her neck and a mass of curly black hair, and the other was wearing a black dress and was currently miming something with her hand over her heart, shrieking.
Listening closer, the shriek sounded a little like,
"Oh! My! God! Cinnamon? Seriously?"
Bernard wondered what cinnamon had to do with it. Perhaps he had misheard. Though these teens did seem strange, like they were musicians or something.
The Beatles song was going now, something about tangerines and marmalade. Load of nonsense to him.
He hoped they meant the colours, shades of orange, like the shelf, not the flavours. They would be terrible together.
Orange. Strangely enough, the teen with the iPod was now saying it, along with something about waiting, writing, and loving some song.
"I'll only finish it if you tell me about Cinnamon! And God, you are Yoko."
Bernard was beginning to seriously suspect that he'd misheard. Though, he supposed, it could be the name of a new pet rabbit.
Or, he reconsidered, looking back at the iPod girl, a pet shark, leech, or poisonous spider. No, snake. She looked like the type to be scared of spiders.
Also, Yoko as in Yoko Ono? Wasn't she dating John Lennon or something? Why would she be in the shop? Hang on, wasn't John Lennon dead? This was confusing.
Then, Fran came in, looking exhausted.
"Do you have any orange juice, Bernard?"
"What," Bernard practically shouted, "is with all the ORANGE?"
The two teenage girls appeared to decide to leave, though not before one of them whispered,
"Oh my God, it looks like him."
Then the brunette who keep talking about cinnamon dragged the other girl out by the elbow.
Fran looked at Bernard through bleary eyes.
"On my radio, on my shelves, my CUSTOMERS!" He raised his voice on the last word, as if it held particular significance. "And now my Fran! What is the world coming to?"
He sounded quite mournful towards the end of his speech.
"Bernard," Fran said gently, "you're drunk. Or savagely hung over. Or you've been listening to drug-induced songs from the sixties. Or you've killed a customer. One or two or maybe even three of those."
Outside, he could see his earlier customers, who he would've have liked to kill, looking at the shop front and squealing.
She left him with a three-pound-fifty bottle of wine, and went to find Manny, before she realised how strange it was that he had said "my Fran".