Women´s Panties 2 (local practices)

¨Falta el aviso. When will you put up the sign?¨

It was Señor Roberto. He had ducked under the roll-up door and come into the local.

¨Ya, casi,¨ I told him. We were almost finished getting the panties and tops stretched onto hangers and put on the display racks. We were almost ready to open the shop.
¨You fault only for the sign,¨ said Señor Roberto. ¨You should put up the sign now. You should have put the sign up first.¨

The long, pink sign that read in white block letters PANTYS A $2.000 was leaned against the wall. It was stretched upon a flimsy balsa wood frame held together with staples.
¨Voy a ayudarte con el aviso,¨ said Señor Roberto, ¨I will help you to put up the sign. Vamos

I followed him outside the shop with the sign. Above the entrance was a thick metal plate. It was smaller than the sign and it also wasn´t flat. Even if the sign was screwed into the plate it would not lay flush. Señor Roberto went into the bicicleteria and returned with a drill and two foot stools.

¨How will you do it?¨
Señor Roberto climbed the foot stool and held the sign up above him against the metal plate. He wanted me to step up on the other foot stool and begin drilling through the wooden frame and into the metal. Then we would put the screws in. But the sign was moving all over the place. Señor Roberto couldn´t hold it straight above him. If I drilled holes none of them would line up. With the sign moving I´d probably destroy the wooden frame by drilling through it.

¨Do it! Begin the drilling!¨ Señor Roberto´s thumb was pushed into the plastic, deforming the sign. There was bike grease on his other hand that he was smearing onto the sign. Señor Roberto was ruining it.
¨No. No,¨ I said, ¨This will not work.¨

¨Yes! Yes! Start the drilling!¨ The sign was moving all over the place.
The young bike mechanic from the bicicleteria had come out to watch.

¨Start the drilling! Start the drilling!¨
¨The sign is moving. The holes will not be aligned for the screws.¨

¨¡No importa nada! It matters for nothing! Start the drilling!¨
¨Tell him this is a failure,¨ I said to the young mechanic. He looked at me and said nothing.

¨¡Vamos! Begin the drilling!¨
¨You are destroying the sign, Señor Roberto. Come down.¨

Despite all this commotion women had begun to enter the store. They stepped around us on the stools at the entrance to get inside. They went in and came out cautiously with their bags of panties and tops.
Señor Roberto was tired of holding the sign over his head and came down from his stool and went into the bicicleteria. I had the drill now to myself and made measurements on the metal plate and on the sign where the holes should go and marked them with a pen. I got on the stool and tried to drill the first hole through the plate but the bit wasn´t strong enough. The young mechanic was still outside watching and I asked him for some wire. Perhaps I could wire it to the metal plate.

I was turning screws into the wooden frame of the sign to which I could wrap the wire when Señor Roberto returned.
¨Utiliza este torneador.¨ He had a very long screwdriver.

¨No, señor. Todo va bien.¨ I was screwing easily through the balsa wood.
¨This has increased power.¨ He held the long screwdriver before my face. ¨Use this one.¨

I continued turning a screw into the frame as he held the long screwdriver in front of my face.
¨It will be better to use this torneador for its power.¨

¨Goddammit!¨ I shouted in English. ¨Goddammit! Just get the fuck out of here!¨ and I spiked my screwdriver on the sidewalk as hard as could. I didn´t see where it went. I didn´t care what the women in the store thought. Señor Roberto and the young mechanic hurried into the bicicleteria.
I found my screwdriver and finished putting the screws into the frame of the sign and then stood on the stool and wired it to the plate. The sign hung perfectly above the entrance. PANTYS A $2.000. Ines came out and admired it with me. We had already sold 50,000 pesos worth of mercancia, she said. She was very happy.

In the afternoon Señor Robert came into the shop. I felt badly for yelling at him and spiking the screwdriver. But Señor Roberto was smiling. He didn´t seem to remember what had happened earlier.

¨We should mount a bicicleteria together,¨ he said. ¨Será el patrón. You will be the owner of a panty shop and a bicycle shop.¨
¨Oh, yes,¨ I said. ¨In the future we will mount a bicicleteria

¨Peugeot. Gitane. LeMond. We will sell only French bicycles.¨

¨LeMond was the greatest of the French cyclists,¨ he said. ¨I remember watching the marvel that was LeMond.  You must be very proud of him.¨
¨El es americano. LeMond is an American.¨

¨Nonsense. Qué tontería,¨ said Señor Roberto. ¨Of course he isn´t.¨

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