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The last time the bell rang on the door at Wendell’s Variety, it was Wendell Himself that was walking through the door.  It seemed the no one ever made it out to Wendell’s these days, instead preferring to head on to the Walmart down in Ogden just 5 miles away.

Dust swirled into the store and a stranger covered in more dust followed it in. 

“Hey,” Wendell barely looked up from his paper, which might be why people didn’t care much for his service.

The stranger wandered into the cooler area the back of the store and pulled out a quart of milk and drank it down, not pausing to breathe.  His wide-brimmed hat tipped back revealing a full beard and a filthy face.  The hands that gripped the milk were dirty and gnarled, like a tree branch brought to full animation.  He knocked back the whole quart and wiped his mouth with a filthy sleeve.

The stranger burped loudly and shuffled to the front of the store, pausing to toss the empty jug into the trash next to Wendell and to slip a 5 dollar bill onto the counter.

“Ah’ll be back laters on I suppose, keep the change fur me?”  the dusty stranger drawled.

“Thank-you kindly,” Wendell grinned over his paper and snatched the bill from the counter, quickly placing it in his pocket.

“Ah’ll be seeing you then” the stranger said over his shoulder as he left, the bell announcing the arrival of more dust and giving passage to the dirty man.

Wendell looked after the man as he left, then grabbed a broom to sweep up the dust that had blown into his store.  In the dust he saw that the man had been walking barefoot, which caused Wendell no small amount of annoyance; especially after he had put up the “No shoes, No Shit” sign up just last week.

Wendel busied himself with cleaning up the dust and then getting back to the daily newspaper.

Published inPersonal