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“Generous as always, Mister Armathwaite.”

Perfectly manicured fingers flicked through the bundle of notes, perfect lips whispered a count and spread into a gentle smile.

“Oh. You are just paying for the one month, I see?”

The shopkeeper’s eyes widened. He gasped and stuttered.

“Bu-bu-tha-I… I…”

“Inflation, Mister Armathwaite. It affects us all, you know.”

She slipped the money into her purse and strolled around the shop, running one perfect finger across the tops of the merchandise.

“As a matter of fact,” she continued, “I have done everything in my power to avoid passing the increase on to you. I hate to penalise my… customers unnecessarily, you know.”

He gulped and nodded desperately, watching as she started to tilt an exceptionally expensive vase with one finger.

“I’ll be back next month, as always,” she said. “After all, we want to make sure that you continue to pay your insurance promptly.”

She settled the vase back onto its base and looked him right in the eye.

“O-of course,” he said. “Next month. Ma’am.”

She left, her heels clicking on the wooden flooring, and he sank into a chair to try and catch his breath.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The Three Word Wednesday prompts today were Generous, Just and Penalise. I spell it -ise because I’m British ;) )

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