Janice works in the village pharmacy, a small store with only three people working there but it serves the community well. Janice is forty two, married with two grown up children. She loves working at the pharmacy, she gets excited whenever the new ranges of cosmetics and lotions come in, although she is not medically trained, she feels working at the pharmacy gives her more of an air of importance than working in a normal shop but most of all Janice loves being in the centre of the village gossip.
Tuesday morning and Janice is busily stacking the shampoos and conditioners “Hi Janice, you are looking busy this morning, how are you?” Janice turned around to see Nicola, a regular in the pharmacy having two young children and an elderly mother. She lived a couple of streets away from Janice. “Hi Nicola, fine thanks. Hey what happened with Lisa from your street? Heard the police were called to her house the other night”. Nicola moved closer “Oh she had a house party that got out of hand, police came and sent them all home, she s had to apologise to all the neighbours”. Janice leaned in closer and dropped her voice level, “Guess who’s been in this morning buying a pregnancy test?” Nicola looked dumbfounded, she had no idea where to start, “Who?”
“Sarah Harold!” Janice delivered her punchline and waited for the response.
“SARAH HAROLD? But she` s got four kids already.” Nicola looked horrified “She needs to be a bit more careful”. Janice remembered something else, “Oh the vicar’s eldest daughter has been in this morning, I said why aren’t you at school, she said she had been expelled, well I nearly fell over!”
An elderly lady opened the door and walks towards the counter “Hello Mrs walker, in for your prescription?” Janice smiled over.
“Yes, how are you Janice?”
“Good thanks, is your son back yet, I heard he was working in Spain wasn’t he?” Janice continued.
“Yes, he came back last week”.
“Well I must go” Nicola interrupted “I only come in for sun cream now that the weather is hotting up.” Janice looked disappointed “Oh before you go, how’s that Daisy next door but one to you, any new men on the scene? I heard she was on her fifth different bloke since Christmas”.
“Oh she s calmed down now, Jinny knows her brother and he said she s fallen for someone now, she`s serious about him, unfortunately there’s a rumour he is a married man.”
Janice gasped “Married! Ooooh”. Nicola left leaving Janice pondering over that juicy nugget of gossip.
A steady stream of customers kept Janice busy. “Hi Sophia, you know that Daisy don’t you, the loud one with all those different men, well she s only gone and got herself involved with a married man”.
Sophia s eyebrows lift in shock “Really who?”
“No one knows at the moment, but her brother is telling people she is keeping it quiet on account of him being married.” Janice continued.
“Oh, I bet Elaine would know, she` s friendly with Daisy’s brother” Sophia remembered.
Janice had really enjoyed the look of shock on everyone’s faces today when she announced the rumour of Daisy being with a married man.
Janice was busily serving sleeping tablets to henry, who hadn’t been able to sleep since his wife left him two months ago, when she saw Carmella gesturing to her from the sunglasses display, she walked over to her quickly.
“I` ve been hearing about Daisy and that married bloke” Carmella started.
“Oh yes, awful isn’t it?” Janice nodded.
“Well,” Carmella continued, first looking around to make sure no one was listening. “My cousin Sasha was out for a quiet drink with her fiancé in a pub about twenty miles from here and guess who was there?”
“Go on, Go on” Janet persuaded.
“Only Daisy and her new bloke!” Carmella announced triumphantly.
“No! I bet they went out of the village so no one would see them.” Janet added.
“Exactly, Sasha noticed him because he was different to Daisy`s usual blokes, he was older, quieter with good manners. Apparently they seemed really happy together.” Carmella finished, happy to tell Janice something she didn’t already know.
“Oooh, the mystery deepens” Janice raised her eyebrows in thought, mentally going through all the married men she knew that were quiet with good manners.
It was close to 4.30pm and the pharmacy quietened down so Janice went through her usual cleaning routine ready for closing time, putting the hoover around and disinfecting the counter and display stands. All the while she was mentally crossing off the married men she knew ”Can’t be him, wouldn’t be him, he` s not got good manners”.
“Hi Janice, can I just get some cough sweets please?” It was Maureen, Janice’s elderly neighbour.
“Yes of course Maureen. Have you heard about Daisy? She gone and got herself a married man”.
Maureen sighed deeply “Look Janice, I don’t think you should be spreading rumours around like this.”
The wind had been taken out of Janice’s sails, her face fell, she felt like a scolded child. “Oh Maureen it’s only a bit of gossip, a bit of entertainment, no harm in it” Janice tried to make light of the situation.
“People can get hurt though Janice, once everyone knows your business it can be hard to hold your head up in the village”. Maureen explained quietly.
Janice protested “A woman like Daisy doesn’t care what people think about her, she changes men as often as she changes her clothes, if she doesn’t want people to talk about her she shouldn’t do those things.”
“But it’s not just Daisy in this rumour is it?” Maureen pointed out.
“The married man?” Janice questions indignantly “He deserves everything he gets, cheating on his wife with someone like her.”
“Janice” Maureen pleaded “What about the wife, it’s not her fault is it? She will be upset enough when all this comes out, how much worse is it going to be for her now that half the village knows? How dreadful is she going to feel having to face everyone?”
Janice was a bit irritated, she loved her gossip, all the locals came to talk to her in the pharmacy if they wanted to know anything. She thought Maureen was being too hard on her, spoiling her fun.
“Well, if the wife can’t keep her man under control she s got to expect a bit of gossip” Janice replied sulkily.
“Janice love” Maureen placed her hand gently on top of Janice’s “I didn’t want to have to do this, but the wife is you. It’s your Mark whose been seeing Daisy”.