Bernstein looked at the crowd pressed against the glass then quickly sped Blair and Shawn to the back door. He pointed toward the back of the store and said, “It’s back there just behind the kitchen.”
Blair instantly took the lead, showing his experience of being able to duck out of the limelight. He passed the huge oven and looked back to see if Shawn was keeping up with him; he turned back around and then picked up speed as he entered a darkened corridor. A loud crash and two heavy screams stopped Shawn in his tracks and caused Mr. Bernstein to run up his back.
Time slowed as Mortie started to walk around a flash-frozen Shawn; in the darkness, a confused Blair was knocked senseless on his fanny by a person that was putting some garbage in the dumpster in the alley behind the store. Shawn extended his right arm into Bernstein’s chest so he could get a clear look. Blair rubbed his head and said, “Are you all right, buddy?” sure that the person he collided with was a man. He slowly got to his feet and then extended a hand to the fallen bagel worker.
Shawn focused all of his energy on the pick up; their two forms were still sunken in the shadows but Shawn could feel a huge swirl of energy start to mount. Blair knew the moment their hands clasped that the soft, long fingers were not that of a dude. As Blair brought the woman to her feet, the subsequent explosion generated by a 12-bagger hurled a startled Shawn back toward the front door.
Blair emerged from the darkness and glibly said, “Wow, this girl packs quite a punch.” He then bent down in the dimly lit hallway and helped the fellow crash victim to her feet. Shawn sat in the middle of the store giggling at the whacky series of events. Blair walked into the light with the girl who was wearing a maroon colored baseball hat with white graphics that read Natural Bagel…For that Healthy Appetite. And while that was a lot of lettering for a small hat, the slogan proved to be quite effective.
Blair took a few steps into the room and then questioned Shawn, “Are you all right, Shawn? What happened?”
Shawn stood up as Lori Allison Wilson, better known as Allie, stepped further into the light, removed her hat, and released the bun that held her long, light brown hair. He smiled and responded, “She happened.”
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