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The paper shop.

I have two papers, the SMH and the Northern Star, if they put a copy of Al Jazeera in the rack I’ll buy that too. But I must wait for the woman in front of me to complete her business.

So I stand behind her, not close but close enough, and move not a muscle as she hands over a bundle of lottery tickets and a lottery registration card for the counter-clerk to slide into a machine that rarely burps with any pleasure.

At least ten tickets are processed. Each one a loser.

I’m a marble statue.

She knows someone is behind her. 

The woman takes back the ten pieces of now scrap paper, opens her bag and takes out a wallet, removes a credit card, asks for another ten tickets.

Another 60 seconds pass.

I’m a Doric column.

She knows someone is behind her.

Her credit card is electronically disinclined. The counter-clerk is mortified. She hands back the failed instrument and waits for the woman to submit another.

Another 60 seconds pass.

I’m a bloodless zombie.

She knows someone is behind her.

The woman has also brought a packet of envelopes and two magazines to the counter, these, she hopes, will pass through the second financial inspection. Time passes slowly.

I’m Jekyll’s Mr Hyde.

She knows someone is behind her.

The woman’s transactions are completed, the ten tickets renewed, the stationary and magazines approved. She takes the tickets and folds them, slides them into her wallet, takes the receipt for the stationary and magazines, slips it into her purse. A kind word to the counter-clerk.

I’m Jack Nicholson, shining.

She knows someone is behind her.

The woman moves away from the counter, making space, packing her handbag, putting everything in its place, and in the instant before she leaves the shop, she throws a quick glance over her shoulder.

  .. and there’s nobody there.



2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Batfink #

    Very nice Pete, been there, many times. I cannot understand people who have no awareness of how their actions affect those around them. Most of all, how the time rich are happy to waste the time of the time poor.

    September 13, 2017
  2. Shane Fisher #

    Creative Patience, I have that, I wake up, deal with Phin and Jasmine, fuck about for an hour or two, start looking for a job. Get distracted by the World, I mean, really get distracted by the World.

    Have lunch and siesta, that is accompanied with snorting, that perplexes me.

    November 10, 2017

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