On the road toward Naugautuk , or was it Waterbury , we passed Southbury , I think , or Watertown , or Eastbury , or Northbury , on our way to Danbury . My friend was on his way to the dentist in Danbury .
I wandered along Main Street when he was in the dental office . On my short stroll my sunglasses broke . They were the ones I had bought only a few days before in the Dollar Store for $ 1 .00 . I had asked Ada what she thought of them when I brought them home . ” They look cheap ,” she answered . Well , they were cheap . But , they also turned out to be cheap crap , breaking a few days later . Oh , well .
I found a knick knack store along Main Street that sold cheap sunglasses , and I bought another pair . It cost me $2.75 . My friend Willie , the dental patient , told me later that to get a good pair of sun glasses I should expect to pay at least $ 2. 75 . So far they haven’t broken . It’s been ten or twelve hours so far . Talk to me in a couple of days .
Willie is getting married a week from now . He was hunting for a tuxedo coat to wear for the ceremony . We checked eighty or ninety stores , thrift stores and department stores , tux rental shops , and whatever else looked like a possibility . No luck . We found one tux rental shop that was willing to sell a used model for $ 75 . Willie didn’t think that it fit well enough . It could have been tailored for another $ 35 . But it was a possibility . We kept it as the fall-back plan . Maybe we wouldn’t find anything else .
We checked a Macy’s and Marshall’s and Walmart . Nothing . Defeat wasn’t an option . There is always tomorrow . But , Willie wouldn’t have too many more tomorrows before he had to find something , have a plan , decide on something to have at hand to wear for the wedding .
And then he spotted a tuxedo shop just across the road from the Marshall’s .
A young girl was in charge when we went in . Willie asked his questions : Any rental coats for sale ? How much ? ” I just started working here , ” she said. She had no answers . At all . No idea . ” The boss will be back in a little while , ” she said . O.K. , so we waited .
There was one other customer in the store . Waiting . He had rented a tux for a wedding later today . The owner had measured him , ordered the tux and promised him that it would be in the shop by noon . The young guy had been waiting since noon . Noon had come and gone two and a half hours before . He had the owner , who had finally arrived , call whoever was on the other end of the phone with his tux to check again on delivery time . Was it ever going to arrive ? . A half hour later someone delivered a package . It was the needed tux. The young guy took it into a fitting booth to try it on.
” That tux better fit that guy , ” I told Willie , just to make conversation . But , he came out of the booth wearing a coat that was several sizes too small . He pointed the obvious out to the shop owner . It didn’t fit . Not even close .
” You have big biceps , ” the owner said .
” You measured this ,” the guy said . “You promised me everything would be fine . It’s not fine .” He was doing a good job of holding his temper , but the pressure was building quickly . The owner was making excuses about how everthing is sized smaller these days , or something like that , as if the misfit were not his fault .
” He does ? ” Willie asked , alarmed , and then he saw the buck knife handle sticking out of the guy’s back pocket . It was strapped into a nice leather holster .
” Just refund my money ! ” the guy said , still momentarily under control . And then he told the owner that he had effectively thrown a monkey wrench into the guy’s wedding plans . But he didn’t say ” monkey wrench” , etc. He used much more direct and profane elocution , concise and to the point . And , as far as I could fathom , entirely appropriately .
” No , I don’t want to do that to you , ” the owner pleaded , and he reached for a substitute coat for the guy to try on .
Willie had been negotiating for the purchase of a used tuxedo coat . He tried a couple of them on . ” Can you come back later this week ? ” the owner , struggling to find something satisfactory for the knife man , asked Willie . No . Willie told him definitely not . ” Then give me ten minutes , ” the owner said . Willie , having been raised in New York , asked if when he said 10 minutes he meant 10 minutes . The owner assured him , yes , 10 minutes meant 10 minutes .
So we went next door to a Japanees restaurant for a drink . We ordered mango mai tais that came with pineapple pieces and an orange slice stuck on a plastic stick . There was no little umbrella , but the fruity drink in the shapely glass seemed a lot too girlie for me . But , they were strong and served to calm Willie down a little until we were ready for the next bout with the tux shop owner .
We went back to the shop about a half hour later . We had stretched the ten minutes into a more reasonable wait . They were going to lengthen the sleeves for Willie by about a half inch on the coat that he had chosen to buy . When we got back to the shop the young guy was still there waiting for the owner to find something the guy could wear to the wedding that he was supposed to attend in a couple of hours from then , having waited for hours by that time .
When Willie’s coat came out it had been tailored . The sleeves , instead of being slightly lengthened , had been drastically shortened . By now our visit had been extended about an hour beyond the previous promise of ten minutes . But the young man with the knife was going into his third hour of frustration . Willie engaged him in conversation , listened to him express his dissatisfaction and despair . ” You should hear a joke ,” Willie told him . ” Tell him your porch joke , ” he said to me . So I told the guy the porch joke . A little distraction . The three of us were waiting , caught in an absurdist play , trying to make the best of it all .
Finally , the guy must have got a tux to wear to the rapidly approaching wedding . As he left the shop he shook our hands and thanked me for the joke . Some short time later Willie got his coat , adjusted accurately this time . Teenagers were by now filling the shop , ready to be fitted for their prom tuxedos , I guess . We got out of there with a nice looking tux coat for Willie to wear to his wedding and with stories to tell . All’s well that ends well , I guess .