A moist breeze blows through the cracks in Bartholomew’s door as he wipes the cobwebs out of the window corners. He elevates his eyes upwards through the smoked glass; the rain started again. Bad news for any of the street vendors. Better news for him.
The man returns to the well-worn floor planks behind the counter, rubbing his ginger mutton chops and surveying his establishment. Clothes is what he sees; a tailor by trade he is, and if he does say so himself, the best in the tri-city area. The ego has not gone without substantial proof of his prowess, and over the many seasons he’s racked up quite an impressive list of wealthy clients looking for custom-made garments.
The bell above the door rings as a portly bald man tromps his way in, taking off his wide-brimmed hat and shaking the water from it down to the ground. “Oy, morning Bart!” he greets jovially as the door swings shut behind him.
“Shake the water outside Paul; I’ve told ya a hundred times!” Bart is quick to grab a push-broom and buff the pooling water towards the crack underneath the door behind his guest. He didn’t get to be a respectable tailor without keeping his storefront equally respectable, or at least close to it. In business, as with clothes, it’s the little things that catch the eye.
“It ain’t even eight yet, Barty!” Paul jabs back, leaning himself against the counter, creaking under his weight and its own age. “Gods almighty, you really do take this big-time tailoring stuff seriously, don’t you?”
The handle of the push-broom clunks against its home by the bookshelf as Paul leans against the wall and folds his arms in front of him, a noticeable deal less carefree than his guest. “I have a reputation to uphold now, Paul, what that it is. Clothes don’t put money in the wallet. Customers do. And repeat customers put more.”
“Amen to that, brother. Which reminds me, oh yes…” Paul points a wry finger at Bartholomew’s face, smirking and hushing his volume. “I heard it from a little bird that you, good sir, are taking a custom order from an old client.”
“That little bird must have been on a ten-year vacation if he thinks that counts as news around these parts.”
“Ohohoho, yes, but this is a very certain old client of yours, ol’ Bart.”
The shopkeeper stares at the gossip with nonplussed brows. “Did that little bird give you a name, Paul? I have better things to do than talk about my current commissions.”
Paul leans in and beckons Bart to do the same. The tailor does, if reservedly.