One of Fernando's regulars comes into the store one afternoon not long after opening and takes a quick look at the new release rack. "All your Wolverine is already out?" he asks, scowling.
"More like they haven't yet gotten in. I'm expecting all of them back today."
"Okay, how about this," Fernando's customer says. The Keeper hears the skritch of velcro as one of the other rental tags is torn off its case. "Hold this one for me and when the other comes in I'll come down and pick it up."
"That I certainly can do," Fernando says, taking the tag from the gentleman and placing it reverently on the desk in his office. "Did you want me to give you a call?"
"Nah, I'm gonna be running around for a little while anyhow. I'll stop by after I get gas at the station and see if you got it in."
Fernando nods. "Sounds good. If it gets in, I'll hang onto it for you. No promises, though."
And so Fernando's customer departs to complete his errands. A few minutes later a car pulls into the parking lot and a family of father, mother, and daughter clamber out. Fernando is fairly certain they owe him money, but not positive; he could not recall their names, since they had not visited the store in a rather long while, but verification would be swift and sure once he asked their indentity and he took a gander at the late list.
Anyhow, they fan out throughout the store and the two adults chat amongst themselves. Mainly they complain that all of Fernando's copies of Wolverine are out and they rather rudely, in that passive-aggressive not-a-whisper, point out that the Dominion "never has anything good in."
Ignoring or overlooking, of course, that if copies of the goddamn movies are present at opening from the night before without having been rented, the business model is doing something terribly wrong.
The daughter asks if they can rent something else but the mother (who is the one Fernando suspects of owing money) puts her foot down and tells the youngster that if the movies the grown-ups want isn't in, she "doesn't deserve" to rent Smurfs 2. At this moment, two more vehicles crunch over the snow in the parking lot simultaneously. One of them is the gentleman who had just been in. The other one is a truck owned by a man who had, on the previous day, come in and rented Wolverine. Fernando rises from his chair, scoops up the other tag which he had been asked to hold, and walks up to the counter to begin filling out a rental slip in anticipation of things to come.
Fernando's earlier visitor parked slightly closer to the front door, so he is the one inside first. "Did it make it?" he asks.
Fernando points over the man's shoulder at the second gent crossing the parking lot, who carries a stack of three movies. "He's got one, right there."
The mother, having deduced something potentially interesting albeit irrelevant to her own sad life is amiss, has since sidled closer to the counter to listen in on the conversation. The father and daughter are off in the kids' section of the store doing Pazuzu-knows-what.
The chimes tinkle and the second man enters. Fernando takes the films from him. "Thank you much." He sets two of them behind the counter and leaves the third, Wolverine. The second man squeezes past the mother, who lurks near the archway, with a low, "Excuse me," and browses the rental racks.
"Which ones did you bring back?" she asks him.
"Uh, The Thing, 2 Guns, and Wolverine," he answers.
Meanwhile, the transaction between Fernando and the first man has been completed. "Thank you much," Fernando says as the man walks out with his movies. "Have a good evening." He gathers up the rental slip and sets it on his desk, then goes about returning the rental tags for the other two movies to their cases out on the floor. He is peripherally aware of the woman approaching the counter.
"Yeah, I heard you got a Wolverine in." the woman tells Fernando.
Fernando briefly glances over at her. "I did, but it just went out again," he says, replacing the remaining cases on the shelf.
"I wanted that one."
"I'm sorry," Fernando tells her. "I am expecting my other copies back, if you would like me to hold one for you and let you know when it gets in."
"Why did you let that other guy just have it?"
Fernando blinks. "Because he asked nicely for me to hold a copy for him." He pauses, mulling over precisely how large a dick he wanted to be at this moment. He arrives at the conclusion "titanic." "And if I had put it out onto the floor, I would not have kept that promise."
The woman's mouth becomes a hard line and she fixes a death glare upon Fernando's uncaring self. The Keeper repeats his earlier offer, "Did you want me to hold one for you and give you a call if I get it in?"
"No," she hisses, sotto voce. "We're leaving."
"Alright. Have a good evening." With that, Fernando weaves through the rental racks to return the other two tags to their homes.
He ignores her so thoroughly that he does not even give a cursory glance over his shoulder when the door chimes jingle twice in rapid succession from the family's departure.
The second man rents three movies and has the social grace not to comment on what had just transpired.