The Shop Keep

When I first met my wife I wrote her this little short story. I haven’t looked at it for five years now but when I pulled it out it made me smile and only needed some small touch ups. I present it to you now. Enjoy.

“I can see you are a great considerer of the oddities,” said the Shop Keep. “Beg pardon?” I asked, as I looked the Shop Keep over. He wasn’t a tall man. Unremarkable face really, though he trussed it up with things like an eye patch and a long goatee that was greasy and curled like a worm ashamed of itself. The Shop Keep drummed his long fingers on the glass “You look to me like a man who enjoys being confronted with the mysterious.” He gave me a wink with his non-patched eye.

He spoke with a pseudo-Arabic accent like the little dude who starts the story in Aladdin. Probably where he got his whole shtick since he was a white guy working at a dank store in Queens. But whatever.

“Whatda got?” I asked him. My curiosity had gotten the better of me.

He moved with surprising grace to the back of the store and grabbed a few things, including a cage. I suppressed the urge to walk out of the store. Little rule of mine but when a strange man who looks like a cross between Arabian nights and Pirates of the Caribbean wants to show you something that is in a cage you book it out of there as fast as you can. But I stayed. It seemed rude not to.

“First we have what I like to call Exploding Sand.” The Shop Keep said as he grabbed a handful of powder and threw it down at my feet.

“Hey now!” I took a quick leap back incase something really did happen. There was a quick flash of light and then I realized there was just a bunch of sand on the floor. I looked at the Shop Keep with a raised eyebrow “ Do you have a flashlight hidden behind your back?” I asked.

The Shop Keep looked back at me with one innocent eye. I imagined the guilty one was having a go at me though behind the patch. “Course not sir, tis magic sir.” He grinned at me with as much sincerity as a head of cabbage. I decided not to ask questions but tried to calculate how quickly I could be out the door depending on the next “surprise”.

“Next, good sir, we have the Mirror of Truth.” He said as he removes a small mirror from a dark purple cloth. The mirror was roughly the size of a women’s compact and I had a suspicion that on the back of it would be some light glue and possible even some concealer.

The Shop Keep held up the mirror so that could see my reflection in it. “What does it do?” I asked.  He gave me that same innocuous look. “Why sir it reflects things for what they really are.” I paused for a second to try and analyze what he had just said. “So…” I was having a hard time finding the words for this one “… it shows you what is?” I finally said.

The Shop Keep gave me a delighted expression, that reminded me of when my third grade teacher used to give us gold stars on our homework. “That’s right sir.” I shook my head “So it’s a mirror?” I asked. The Shop Keep wagged a finger at me “Oh no sir it shows you what is.”

“What do other mirrors do?” I asked. The shop keep solemnly said “They show you what could be.”

“Um I don’t think so.” I said. I was trying to think of a way to not be rude.

The shop keep tucked the mirror under the counter somewhere and said “Ah well sir, not for everyone.” He grabbed the cage now which was covered by another purple cloth.

Keeping what was inside of the cage hidden he made a big show of opening it from the back. He even was making a “Bum-da-da-da-da-da.” Noise out of the corner of his mouth, which I assumed, was supposed to be a drum roll.

The Shop Keep grabbed whatever was in that cage and thrust it out onto the counter with sincere delight “I give to you Sir, THE TAP DANCING SQUIRREL!” he shouted with glee.

The tap dancing squirrel really looked more like a muskrat. It was large and hideously over fed. Someone had carefully and painstakingly knitted little colored booties with metal bottoms that skittered all over the counter as the squirrel tried to walk around in a way evolution had so far unprepared him for. On the squirrels back someone had etched in faded blue ink “The Amazing Maurice.” It was, all in all, the singular most pathetic sight I had ever witnessed.

I looked into the Shop Keep’s one good… well, uncovered eye to see if there was some hint of a joke being played on me. Then I looked down at The Amazing Maurice who seemed to have abandon his dream of escaping in favor of munching on some spare Exploding Sand.

Without a word, I turned and walked out of the store.

A Cutie and I know it

I came up with a little ditty for my daughter that I thought was pretty catchy. It is in NO way influenced by that one song by that one guy that was in that M&M commercial*

 

When I wake up I am hungry so I start to cry

I’ve got my bear, throwin cheerios in my new high chair, yeah

I’m learnin how to roll, like Tommy Pickles I’m gettin outta control

Wearin a onesie with a big red bow

with my momma I’m out the door

 

Girl look at that baby

Girl look at that baby

Girl look at that baby

I crawl around

Girl look at that baby

Girl look at that baby

Girl look at that baby

I crawl around

 

When I bounce in my spot, this is what I see

Everybodies cooing and making sounds at me

I’ve got a diaper in my pants and my bellybuttons showing

 

I’m a cutie and I know it

I’m a cutie and I know it

 

When I’m at the park, kids on the swings better be clearin off

When I’ve got my juice, The G-Mom keeps tryin to pinch my cheeks

I’m learnin how to roll, come on teddy it’s time to sleep

we headed to the crib, Daddy don’t be nervous

no security blankie, I’ll still be cozy

 

When I bounce in my spot, this is what I see

Everybodies cooing and making sounds at me

I’ve got a diaper in my pants and my bellybuttons showing

 

I’m a cutie and I know it

I’m a cutie and I know it

 

Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle Yeah

Do the Baby Wiggle, Yeah

Do the Baby Wiggle, Yeah

 

*Ok, Maybe a little.