The Quilt Shoppe - By Brian Law

“Yes, sir, may I help you?” the clerk asked. 

“I hope so,” the man replied. “I am looking for a very special quilt.” 

“We have a large inventory of quilts in this shop. Also, we have catalogs, of course, with every description of quilt imaginable. But, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, we can arrange for one of our quilt makers to consult with you on making one,” the clerk responded. “Just what kind of a quilt are you looking for, sir?” she wondered. 

He moved closer to the clerk and lowering his voice a bit, said, “I’m sure you don’t have what I’m looking for. It’s really quite unique and I haven’t been able to find it in any quilting shop or catalog.” Looking around to ensure he wasn’t being overheard, he pulled a document from his jacket pocket and laid it flat on the counter for the clerk to see. “Here, this is what I want it to look like. Any chance you have quilters who might be capable of creating something like this?” 

The clerk put on her glasses and looked closer at the document spread out on the counter. She was immediately caught by the intricacies of the designs and asked, “Just what do these represent? Some of our quilters specialize in flora, some are fauna specialists, and some do their best work with inanimate subjects. It would help me find just the right quilter for this project if you could tell me what I’m looking at here.” She looked up at the man and waited for his answer. 

The man looked back at her, his eyes not betraying what he was thinking or feeling, and replied, “Let’s go with inanimate for now.” 

“Okay, that narrows it down a bit. What I’d like to do is take a picture of this and text it to a quilter who I think could really do a good job for you,” the clerk suggested. “If that’s alright with you, I’m sure I could get an answer from her in just a few minutes.” She took out her phone and waited for the man to decide what to do. 

“Tell me something about this quilter first, will you? Is she older? Does she live alone? Does she live in town or out in the country?” the man asked. 

“Well, she’s in her seventies , retired, and she lives alone about a mile or so out of town. She worked for the County Coroner if that means anything to you. And her quilting skills are superb, absolutely top notch,” the clerk relayed. “Okay if I text her with a picture? I’m sure she’s home. She always is.” 

The man nodded his assent and waited as the clerk snapped the photo and texted it to the quilter. Within minutes, she received a phone call in return. “Hi, this is Kathy. I just finished up a project and would love to try my hand at your proposal. Do you want me to drop by for a chat? I could be there in about thirty minutes.” 

The clerk told the man that the quilter could come into town and meet with him within the hour. He told her he’d rather drop by her home instead if that was agreeable with the quilter . He was headed out of town anyway. The clerk relayed that to Kathy. 

“Well, send him on out, then. Tell him I’ll need a five hundred dollar cash deposit if I decide to take on the project. And tell him I’m very interested and intrigued by what you sent me. There’s just something about those designs that stirs a distant memory, but I just can’t put my finger on it. My memory isn’t what it used to be. Anyway, I’ll be here waiting, love. Thanks for thinking of me. Bye.” 

The clerk relayed this information to the man who thanked her, retrieved his document, and left the shop. As she watched him drive off, she was pleased that she was able to help out another local quilter. She kept a special book just for this purpose with before and after photographs of local quilter’s projects, and she busied herself with printing out a copy of the document the man had shown her earlier as a ‘before’ picture. She couldn’t wait for Kathy to finish the quilt and provide her with the ‘after’ photo. 

She was interrupted by a customer walking into the shop. It was Rick, one of the Sheriff’s deputies who had dropped by to check on a quilt order he’d put in recently. As they chatted, Rick noticed the copy of Kathy’s project laying on the counter and he couldn’t help but comment on it. “Wow,” he exclaimed, as he picked it up and took a closer look. “You know what this looks like, don’t you?” 

The clerk shook her head as she continued to check on the progress of Rick’s order. 

“Each of these blocks looks like a different ‘blood spatter’ pattern. You know, from a crime scene.  Here, this one is what they call ‘cast off’. And this one, that’s ‘low velocity’ or ‘passive spatter’. And these blocks look like the real thing, you know. Not like crime scene photos, but like the actual spatter evidence itself. Where in the hell did you get this, anyway?” Rick asked, an urgency in his voice. 

As the clerk told him about the man and about Kathy,  the deputy relaxed and asked the clerk if she wanted a donut. He had a full box in his cruiser, he had more than enough,  he had some time before he had to get back on patrol, and as he reflected,  "Nothing ever happens around here, anyway." 


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