Thursday, December 28, 2017

Microstory 744: Credos, Convention Fourteen: Courtesy

The child removed the penultimate canister from his neck, which was more of a ring, and smiled. He was near the end of his quest, and he was feeling good. The final canister was wide and round, perfectly shaped for a head his size. He was about to place his head inside of it when he realized how unusual that is. “The quest should be availed to all, so why is this one so small?” he asked the fish woman through the magic communication cup. “No one has gotten this far,” she answered. “The canisters know when a lesson has been truly learned. You are the first and only to understand what the stories are trying to tell you.” “That does not explain the size of this canister”, the now nearly fully-glowing child said. “The stories are long,” she replied. “You will have to hold your breath for a good while to finish this last one.” “That’s not what I asked,” he complained. “I will not give you what you ask for. You must experience it for yourself.” Seeing that he would not get a straight answer out of her, the wandering child took as deep of a breath as possible, and stuck his head into the canister, hoping this story would be quicker than the previous ones. It opened on a small shop owned by one of the nicest women you’ll ever meet. She barely made enough to stay open, and lived modestly on the second floor. This was a general store that sold a number of items that members of the community would need daily, or weekly. She struggled to maintain the business, but was dedicated to her policy of not refusing any business. If someone came in without the ability to pay full price, she would still sell it to them, at whatever cost they could afford. If someone came in with no money at all, she would give it to them for free. Her reputation was well known in the county, and people took advantage of this kindness, allowing the shopto stay open by the occasional kindness of a rich customer, who paid a little extra, and offset the overhead costs. Still, the shop owner could afford very little for herself. She had bedding that she laid upon the floor, but no bed. She had two chairs, one of which she had to use as a table. She scavenged food from nearby dumpster, and walked far away to bathe herself in a stream, because she did not have running water. Still her business stayed open, but this was about to change. A store opened across the street that ultimately forced her to close for good, because she could not compete. Though people knew they could purchase items from her for cheap, they could find so many more products at this larger store, and that was far more convenient. Eventually, people stopped entering her shop altogether, and that was that. She died just as he was born...with nothing.

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