On the nights that I pick up my wife from work, there is an impromptu show of sorts that takes place after closing time. Sometimes, it seems as if it could have been scripted.
Their closing time is 9 pm, and it has been so for as long as I can remember. They lock up, do a cleaning of the store, and usually turn out the lights by about 9:30. I sit and smile at the number of cars that pull up within that half hour, and the people that get out, try the door, peer into the windows, shake their heads, go back and look twice at the store hours which are plainly posted on the door, make various gestures of frustration, and depart.
There was a woman who arrived after the store lights were already turned out, got out of her car, and went through the above procedure at least twice, then commenced to bang on the window, demanding entry. I could see the employees shaking their heads and pointing to the clock, but the woman just stood there gesturing. Finally, the crew came out, followed by my wife, who locked the door. The woman went up to her, shouting and waving her arms. They talked for a moment, then my wife got into the car. The woman had wanted them to reopen the store so she could get a pack of smokes. My wife had suggested that she go to the grocery store next door, and the woman said she was not allowed in there anymore.
On another night, there was a youngish fellow leaning against the front of the store. He was obviously very drunk and had just finished a cigarette, tossing the butt into the garbage can. After a couple of minutes, he started searching his pockets, presumably for another, without success. He then spotted a small metal box hung upon the wall. This box was the designated destination for cigarette butts, and he looked happy that he had found it. He opened the lid and withdrew two or three, put them in his pocket, and finally found one that was mostly intact. With a smile on his face, he searched his pockets once again. No matches left. Stumbling around, he sidled up to my car window. I said “sorry, buddy, my car doesn’t have a lighter”. No lie, it didn’t. He then went towards the grocery store, attempted to enter via the OUT door, and got body slammed when someone activated it. Nothing serious. He got up and went in, but was subsequently forcibly removed by store staff. Lastly, he went back over to where he had been leaning, hanging his head dejectedly, until he noticed a waft of smoke coming from the garbage can. He emptied it on the ground and found that his discarded butt had started a small blaze, and eureka! he had a light for his stogie. He stamped out the flames and just left everything lie. This whole vignette brought to mind the old
Red Skelton character by the name of Clem Kadiddlehopper.
Just some idles studies in human nature. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I’ve done in my life that deserved to be laughed at and probably were. The smiles I enjoyed were by association.
Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on Spillwords.com, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.