You said you were on your second career, but that you felt there was room for one more. I asked you what your parents would say about that. You said, “They’d tell me to listen to my heart,” and I said, “So that one percent is a big one isn’t it?” Staring off in the distance, you said, “Yep.”
We pulled into the gravely lot in front of the small store so you could grab some knickknacks for your costume and for the next phase of your night. You looked at me for reassurance that this out-of-the way, dark and “unusually country-looking store for the city” would have what you were looking for. I said, “You bet,” and asked you to exit quickly so I could get onto my next ride.
* * *
Hanging bells fall to the floor as soon as the door opens into the store.
Let me help you with that, a clerk says, rehanging the bells behind the woman who stands there with an expression of awe reflecting something she couldn’t have imagined being the inside of the structure she walked into. She looks back and forth between the doors she came through and the store, even looking above and beyond as if far away, and fumbles for words.
He just dropped me —
Clerk interrupts, Are you looking for something?
Long pause, dumbfounded, looking down on a piece of paper containing a list, I —, I just —
Clerk turns to look into the store too, then back at woman and down at her list.
Woman finally gaining control over her words, Is this place what I think it is?
A low hum of generic shopping music. Sound of suction from automated doors. Cash register registering louder and louder repetitively.