Pencils, Ink, and Pencils: Something Like A Story

Feverish, I had walked through the heat

Antibiotics to fight the battle within me

Waited for me at a counter

I had never been there

And walked passed the stairs

What kind of drugstore has an upstairs

The security person redirected me

I got my medicine and looked around

Finding readers

I took them downstairs with me

After looking to see in every corner

What I might need in the future

It’s within walking distance

Easy to get to

Easy to pass by there coming or going

From the campus, the park, the wherever

Security guy approached

You don’t want to buy those here

He said as I looked at the set of colored pencils

In a back corner

I worked security and loss prevention

I know what he’s thinking

It’s the middle of the work day

I have a visible tattoo and wild hair

And a feverish sheen

From the fever

I’m in a back corner holding a paper bag

With my prescription in it

And readers he thinks I can’t afford

After having moved swiftly through

Every high value (and low value) area

Of the store

He gently takes them from my hand

The readers

I walk with him away from the colored pencils

He is a hero saving the store from theft

In his mind

And he has in reality thwarted the sale of both the readers

And the colored pencils

I let him play out his story

“I thought they were like just $3.”

I tell him

I’m feverish, but not above a little fun

We walk back upstairs where he shows me

The prices

“I must have been looking at the strength and thought

it was the cost”

I tell him

Go to another store, he names a competitor

You can get them there for less

I wonder if his managers know he is throwing sales away

He will tell them he prevented theft

I leave frustrated with no readers

Which I need if I’m to go swimming with one of my friends

And wear my contacts

No colored pencils to shade in my drawings

Full of regret and longing but needing to rest

And take my medicine and cool off

My roommate dropped by there a few days later

What did you need here? she texted

I tell her where the colored pencils are in the store

She brings home a 3-pack of readers too

Because we both need them at times

My fever is gone

The pencils are treasured now

And that guy, he may never know

How close he was to something wonderful

Someone valuable

He may never know that things are not always

What they seem

That sometimes we need readers

To see clearly

Sooner rather than later

Even if the cost is a little more

Graphite pencil, ink, and colored pencils from the drugstore

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