Grandpa and the Toffee Shop
“Jacob! Lilly!” shouted grandpa from downstairs, “I’ll treat you to our favourite shop.”
“Yes!” I exclaimed, swivelling around on the floor expecting to meet my sister’s twinkling eyes at the thought of one of those delicious toffees from the village’s sweet shop.
Lilly, who had been busy moving the tiny furniture about in her doll house just a moment before, was now singing a lullaby to Judy her cherished rag doll and was lost in her own world. The doll house is one of Grandpa’s incredible creations. He spends hours locked up in his amazing shed at the back of the garden and often comes out with a surprise for either Judy or myself.
A mischievous idea came to me, and the more I thought about it the more I assured myself it was only fair. Every time we went to the Toffee shop, Lilly always seemed to get extras by putting on her sweet granddaughter act, and that really wasn’t fair. It was time for a retribution …to call for a small solving of debts.
I watched her as she sang softly, and as she did I also noticed her eyelids getting heavier and heavier. Taking advantage of this stroke of luck, I tiptoed ever so slowly out of the room and very, very gently closed the door behind me. I waited a few seconds, glueing my ear to the door to listen to any awakening noises. All was silent from inside. Lilly had obviously fallen asleep.
When I went out to the garden gate to join Grandpa, I explained that Lilly was fast asleep and I really couldn’t wake her up, because she had been complaining of a stomach ache just an hour before. In fact, I recommended we only get a few toffees for her, as it might give her an even worse tummy ache is she had too many toffees.
Grandpa looked a bit puzzled. “asleep? At this time of the day? Oh well, I guess she isn’t very well then. Maybe we should tell grandma before we go.”
“Oh she was fine, uh, I mean she was sleeping soundly when I came downstairs, and I’m sure she’ll be much better after a good nap. Although she really ought to avoid too many toffees,” I hinted to my grandpa. So off we headed to the toffee shop on the west side of the village.
When I heard the merry tinkle of the door and sniffed the delicious scent of the toffee blends as we walked into the toffee shop I felt a tingling of delight-I couldn’t wait to savour one of my favourite mint toffees and already imagined it melting slowly in my mouth. It was also one of Lilly’s favourite, I thought, feeling only mildly guilty as I headed to the huge jar on the left of the counter where the paper serving bags were hanging.
As I reached out for one of the bags, eager to plunge the large wooden serving spoon into the toffee jar, I heard a reprimanding voice,“ oh so you’re the one who lies to his little sister then.”
I looked up startled towards the counter from where the voice came, then nervously at my grandpa, who was at the other end of the shop looking into yet another jar, but he seemed not to have heard.
Behind the counter stood an elderly lady, whom I had never seen before. She had a dark purple shawl on and her hair was tied up in a tight bun, she was looking at me with a mocking smile.
“hmmm,” I stammered. “I think you’re confusing me with someone else.”
Grandpa looked up at me from behind the large jar full of bright red and white humbug toffees. “ Did you say something, Jacob?” “hem, no grandpa, just thinking out aloud.”
“Of course you are my boy,” went on the old lady, “maybe you should think a little about sharing sweets too.” she said frowning at me.
I tried to ignore her and started moving away from her and the jar I had wanted to delve into and peeped into the big jar next to the one my grandpa was looking at.
“that’s right boy,” sniggered the old lady eyeing me under her bushy white eyebrows.The more I looked at her the more I swore she could have been Lilly disguised as an old woman, with one of those old costumes our mother kept in the chest in the attic. She would sometimes use them for her pantomimes at school, she did with her children’s groups.
“Have a look at those strawberry toffees over there,” she went on,” those are your sister’s favourites I seem to remember.”
Grandpa looked over at me with a frown,“did you say something, Jacob?” I shook my head vigorously without uttering a word.
I pulled out a strawberry toffee telling myself that I would chew on it myself later, whether or not it was Lilly’s favourite and I nearly screamed as I dropped it back in the jar. “Hands off you bag of lies, I’m Lilly’s toffee not yours,” squealed the toffee.
I started trembling involuntarily and came closer to my grandpa, who looked at me puzzled again and said,”haven’t you chosen any toffees yet my boy. Anyone would think you didn’t like them from the look on your face.” he shook his head and went over to the other side of the shop where large drawers panelled with wood showcased special cream and chocolate toffees.
I felt as if all the toffees were watching me now as well as the old lady behind the counter, who was definitely keeping a keen eye on me, her mocking smile still plastered on her face. I decided to try the green square jar where the vanilla toffees were stored, so I took a paper bag from another rack placed near the entrance and went to open the top of the jar, but it was stuck. I pulled an pulled but it just wouldn’t open. I was contemplating whether to ask Grandpa for help, but as I looked up I noticed the old woman shake her head ever so discreetly.
Well, forget that then I thought, not wanting her to say anything else about Lilly out loud again. I went over to the drawers my grandfather was looking through and noticed the fruit toffee section, but before I could open one of the drawers I noticed a strange looking label on the one I was about to open: “Hands off, this is Lilly’s toffee drawer!”
I stepped back aghast. This wasn’t happening, my stomach started churning and I felt sick in my stomach as a wave of guilt swept through me and I suddenly didn’t really fancy chewing on a toffee at all.
I went up to my grandpa and whispered to him, not wanting the old lady to overhear,”huh, Grandpa, I think I’m not feeling that good either in my stomach, I guess I must be catching Lilly’s bug.”
My grandpa turned around a look of concern in his eyes, “ oh poor boy, you don’t look very good at all, in fact, you look slightly green,” he exclaimed, he said
taking me by my arm, he went over to the counter and shook his head slightly at the elderly lady.
“I’m terribly sorry,” he said excusing himself,” but I think my grandson isn’t well so I’m afraid we’ll have to skip the toffee this time.”
“Oh dear,” replied the lady with a twinkle in her eye, “I wonder what could have got over this young man, you would have thought he saw a ghost or something by his colour>”
“yes” mumbled my grandpa, apologetically, “terribly sorry Mr Mumble, we’ll be back soon.
Once we were out of the toffee shop I stared at my grandpa in disbelief. “Mr Mumble?” I asked taken aback, “that was more like Mr Mumbles old mother in there,” I exclaimed puzzled.
Grandpa’s eyebrows shot up and he bent over and peered into my face, “ dear dear my boy, you aren’t well are you, maybe you did see a ghost, after all, make sure you don’t tell your sister about it, she might get a fright”
“oh I won’t grandpa I won’t
Grandpa invites Jacob and Lilly to the village toffee shop, but Jacob forgets to tell Lilly. And leaves her asleep with her dolls, because he wants to go alone with his grandpa to get extra toffees. He’s in for a big surprise when he goes to the sweet shop, so much so that he probably won’t return very soon….
©2020 Sonia Ferrigno