The Sweat of the Brow (48)

What should I do? I’ve been standing and staring for quite some time. The clerk would have come and pestered me six times if only we shared a language. I could look again, but my eyes have not been worn that dull. It’s just not there.

What should I do? Go through every box one by one, rotate them in my hands, open them and close them? I would only look suspicious until I looked insane. I could play insane, methodically OCD, and get away with it. I could just buy every box in the store and let God and Katie sort them out.

That isn’t good enough. My brief is to keep a low profile. Any idiot with a button and a finger can start a nuclear war, turn the world into a cinder the way World War Three never did. If overkill was acceptable Katie never would have hired me.

Should I ask at the front desk? Ask which box has a broom on it? I don’t think so. Should I ask if they have other boxes? I don’t have the words. If I could find them: no. I don’t have them: no.

Did I get it wrong? Did I misremember my instructions? Could it be – could it be something else entirely? Look at the boxes: is there anything else it could be? Blooms? Grooms?

What am I doing.

Am I being tested? Is there nothing there? Is it all a joke? What can I do?

I grow claustrophobic. It’s the quiet. The world is all out there and I am trapped in here. I know that I could find the answer. It’s out there somewhere. I need to go out there before I can find it in here. I want to run into the woods, stumbling through the undergrowth, until I cross that man-magic line and am suddenly human again.

I look at the old Basque behind the counter. I could find the answer if only I could ask the question. I think of the damned tree in the public square. Of course it’s oak. Of course it is. But without the world, I-


I shut my eyes and moan.

There are six boxes with floral motifs. Three are oak trees. One is a rose. One is a bushel of wheat beneath a solar disc. One is a little tuft of flowers.

I buy the box with the little flowers. They’re very pretty. I don’t know that they’re the flowers of the broom plant. But they are.

And I take a box with an oak-tree, just for me.


~ by davekov on 21 August 2012.

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