The Girl in the '67 Beetle
by Linda Lenhoff
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
The art director of Kids Press, Amy Shepherd has been assigned to reinvent the story of Goldilocks, and she finds her own life reflecting a similar tale. Will she fall for a man who’s a little too old (but exciting), a man who’s a little too young (but awfully exciting looking), or a man who’s just right, at least as far as her friends are concerned? Or will she bring Goldilocks’ story—and her own—up to date with a little help from high-technology and the Goldilocks Planet theory? Amy will have to decide how her own tale will end, all the while driving her beloved powder blue convertible through the streets of Santa Monica, where she has become known as the Girl in the ’67 Beetle, the only thing in her life that, so far at least, feels just right.
I think it’s a sign of our times that when we feel low or
confused, unsure or unloved, we look for someplace
warm and comforting, with soft colors and soothing
music, and find ourselves time and again at Pottery Barn. At
least, my pal Susan and I do.
“Shopping has gotten a bad name,” Susan says. Susan is
my bestie from college, though we don’t use the term bestie
because it’s a little too cute, and Susan is a serious person.
She has a serious face with a serious haircut—auburn tinted
straight hair, excellent posture, and one of those fit bodies
where everything’s proportioned right. I think it’s because
she’s tall. But she doesn’t lord it over me or anything.
“It’s true,” I say. “I feel guilty shopping now. Even window
shopping makes me look over my shoulder to make sure no
one’s watching. When did this happen?”
“It’s all those TV shows where women in too much eye
makeup are constantly shopping for shoes.
“I’ve never willingly gone into one of those pricey shoe stores,” I say.
“Boutiques,” Susan corrects me.
“That’s a polite word for them,” I say. “What’s wrong with
DSW? What’s wrong with grabbing your own size and putting
shoes on yourself?” I ask.
“You just don’t get what it means to be a modern woman,”
Susan says, raising her nose in the air. “A modern woman who
spends money on shoes that hurt.”
“I’d rather have a nice quilt,” I say, looking at a nice quilt.
It’s five-hundred dollars, so I won’t be buying it, either. But
at least if I did, it wouldn’t pinch my toes.
I am scanning the aisles of Trader Joe’s, looking for
something celebratory but inexpensive for dinner. It is
my anniversary, and I realize I’m acting a little like a New
Agey Hallmark card for a thirty-four-year-old celebrating the
first anniversary of her divorce (and you just know the card
would be too pink, with a girl holding a martini glass with too
much martini in it).
Trader Joe’s is the grocery store where I came as a college
student to buy very cheap wine (I still buy it) and big blocks
of cheese (I’ve cut down on the cheese—dairy, you know).
The store looks brand new, having undergone renovation this
past year. A lot like me, but more fluorescent and way more
noticeable. You can now find some form of chocolate at the
end of almost every aisle. Something that makes me think they
know I shop here, or there are a lot more women like me than
I ever thought.
A crowd has gathered around the low-carb section, which
thankfully isn’t too large an area. Lots of women studying the fine print.
An older man is watching the low-carb folks, too. He looks
at me, and we share a smile. He then accidentally turns and
knocks over an entire rack of chocolate bars (the ones with
the white wrappers and hazelnuts inside, a very good choice),
and the whole group of low carb-ettes turns to see, with looks
of longing on their determined faces. The older man looks
“You’re a tempter, is that it?” I ask, helping him pick up the
bars. I put one in my basket. I don’t care if it fell on the floor.
“Who could resist?” he says, with a mischievous smile on
his face. “Thanks for the help. I should buy you a chocolate
bar,” he says.
“Please, I’m over thirty,” I joke. “You should buy me two.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Writing, and her next novel, *Your Actual Life May Vary, will be published in 2022. Linda lives in California’s Bay Area with her husband and daughter. Contact Linda at (925) 784-9393, firstname.lastname@example.org,
https://lindalattelessons.wordpress.com. Author photo by Haley Nelson.
Lenhoff will be awarding one printed copy book or a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a
randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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