With the Same Chipped, Coral Manicure
The woman had her hand on a loaf of pumpernickel, giving the heel a thick squeeze. The baker, Drayton, had witnessed the ritual before. Each day the customer made two circuits through the aisles, past the thistle-stamped short bread, past the deflated gluten-free bagels, past the tubs of cream cheese. Two figure eights’ appraisal of his wares, then a feverish minute of bread groping. Always fifty/fifty as to whether or not she’d buy. He wondered if he was disappointing her with the store’s sameness. Or if she was worried she’d missed something last time. Perhaps she was just gassy and the loops through the shelves allowed her to relieve herself in slow, unobtrusive wafts. Hot air, disappointment—those had been his mother’s hallmarks too.
That night he switched the pickles with the halva, the hamentashen with the honey sponge, the seasonal napkins with the ceramics. The pumpernickel he placed in a bin by the cash, so the woman would be forced to look him in the eye. He’d made that bread himself. Couldn’t she see it was good enough?
(written by Claire Tacon, read by Chioke I'Anson)
That rad music you hear at the end is by Tigerrosa. Buy their debut album here
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