This is my reflection. This transparent impostor that claims to be me. He looks at me and tells me that I am him. And that he is me. The closer I get to him the harder it is to see him. All that I can see as I move toward him is the piece-of-shit antique shop that is soon to be out of business.
As I attempted to open the door I could feel the wind pushing it closed again. LIke it's trying to tell me what to do. Hell, it could be even saving me for all I know. I have to curse and use both hands to try and pry it open all the way. I immediately regret it when I do. The rotten smell of worn down copper creeps up into my nose and rests on the tip of my tongue. As if the school bully dared my to lick the top of the aluminum slide; You know, the part every kid with a dirty diaper hesitates on before they take their turn down the slide. Except dirtier. I stroll in with a dirty look on my face and a bad taste in my mouth. My hands are drowning in the pockets of the coat that I borrowed from my uncle.
Sugar cookies. Sugar. Cookies. I can feel them underneath my fingernails. He hides his damn sugar cookies in his damn jacket pockets. What the hell.
I continue into the store. The carpets are all torn up. You can tell they used to be bright red. Like those fancy hotels you always see in the movies. Now its maroon. Depending on which spot you're looking at of course. If you look at it the right way, you could have the most nauseating rainbow you've ever seen in your damn life. I can still taste the copper.
There are four tall wooden shelves when you first walk in. Two on each side of you; making an isle that leads to the middle of the room where the clerk is. That would be the old asian lady who never ages past sixty-five and always seems to be smoking the same cigarette.
The shelves are filled with books that are filled with condoms that were hidden from some guy in the 1980's. If you're lucky, you'll find a moist one. It's that or a bad Sandra Bullock movie that's scratched to shit. The old asian lady is like a nicotine driven security camera. The only part of her that moves is her eyes. Yes, she does keep the cigarette in her mouth at all times.
I've been in here a few times. Enough to find that copperish smell living in the carpet and walls of my apartment. Maybe where I might have set down this sugar cookie infested coat and left it there. I look through the books but nothing interesting. Only instructional manuals on how to work the brand new Polaroid Camera that came out in 1986. This is the kind of place where you walk past a shelf full of books that just so happens to collapse. Loud noise. Pause. Everyone looks. Asian lady puffs cigarette. You walk away. When I say everyone I mean the people who can't afford condoms or the people who just found a Polaroid camera in their attic and don't know how to use it.
I find a book that's losing it's binding and head towards the cloud of smoke at the center of the room. One hand on the book and one hand still in the mine of cookie crumbs. By now the crumbs have become a mixture of palm sweat and rubber cookie dough. I slam the book onto the counter behind the asian lady. Nothing happens. I wait. Nothing.
I wait and zone out to the faded letters on the front of the book. Thinking about how I could better my day. I look back up and the asian lady is staring at me with her soul-gazing eyes. She's judging me. Let her. It's not my coat anyway.
I clear my throat and ask politely, "How much?"
She raises her eyebrows. "Two".
I lower my chin and raise my eyes slowly. With a deep breathe I say, "No. How much is in the register?"
Created: Jul 26, 2010Document Media