“For the last time,” I sigh, “I have no idea what kind of wood they want. If it’s not written on the sheet I gave you, the pieces can be made from cardboard for all I care.”
I tapped the ‘sheet’ — a square piece of cut cardboard, where Mom and her carpenter had scribbled the dimensions of various planks and decorative trim. The sheet wobbled atop a stack of wood samples like the roof of shanty poked with a funnel cloud. The guy behind the register was not particularly blind, but I felt that calling attention to the list helped to establish my incompetence.
“Well,” the old man said, returning my sigh as if vying for a Grand Slam, “well, do you want to call them? See what they want to do?”
I pause for a few seconds and pretend to consider the suggestion, soaking in the fact that I’ve made authority figures out of nothing more than pronouns. ‘They’ could be the Queen of England (using the royal plural) or the NSA, scouring the guy’s phone records. Or perhaps our alien overlords. That’s the power of obscurity. Besides, specifying my employers as ‘Mom and Dad’ just sounded lame.