‘Counting up how many books we sold in 2014 so I can work out how much money we will donate to the Maya Centre this year.’ I reply in a preoccupied voice.
She brings her face closer to the screen and begins to run her finger down one of the columns.
‘Go away.’ I am irritated. The Nymph has to poke her nose into everything.
‘I just want to make sure that you are not overlooking any books. You know that the Maya Centre is important to me,’ Peirene says calmly without moving away an inch.
‘To me too. But it’s a complicated calculation,’ I justify my working outs. ‘There are the wholesaler, the bookshops, our website and the stalls.’ I am holding up four fingers. ‘And every now and again I miscount. So I have to start all over again.’
‘Hm,’ the Nymph mumbles, as she keeps her eyes firmly fixed on the screen. ‘Looks to me as if you haven’t added the figures from the Christmas stalls.’
For a few seconds I am silent. I’ve been found out. I feel the heat of embarrassment rise to my face.
‘OK.’ I eventually admit. ‘You are right.’ For a brief moment – but only for a very brief moment – I had toyed with the idea of doctoring the figures. We sold a lot of books with the Roaming Store in 2014. But overall it was a tough year. Partly because we ran over 80 stalls and the operating costs are huge.’ I sigh. ‘But I will now include every single book that we’ve sold, just as we state in our promise to the Maya Centre. After all it’s for an important cause and I am proud that we support them.’
Peirene puts her hand on my shoulder. ‘And I’m proud of you.’ Then her face lits up with a mischievous smile. ‘And let me tell you how we can save some money this coming year.’ She begins to giggle. She seems to be very pleased with her idea. ‘You will have to man more stalls. That way we save extra staff cost, can sell more books and break even more quickly.’
‘Well, my dear Nymph. I have an even better idea.’ And now it’s my turn to giggle. ‘You will be on a dress- and shoe-shopping ban for all of 2015. I think that will give our accounts a healthy boost indeed.’
Image by Images Money.