Time Bags II

Last night I thought I’d carry over the writing I began then to the writing I’d do today. I’ll spare you.

“Ah, shit, Martin. I just texted you,” Jesse said. He shook his head.

Martin stood up from a folding chair behind a glass display counter. The display edged the undecorated room in a horseshoe of paraphernalia: expensive cleaning kits near the register, Oklahoma’s biggest selection of rolling papers next, classic upright glassware—as they carefully described it—after that, then pipes, bowls, and finally hookahs back around to the right. Boxes of cheap lighters bridged each counter to counter seam every five feet. Jesse, the owner, joked that this frequency was in case a customer knew he needed a light but didn’t have the attention span to remember the fact all the way back to the register.

The only adornment hung to the right of the door where new patrons saw it for the first time as they left and regulars did too. Martin took the poster in trade for a simple upright his first week of work seven or so months ago. Six naked women facing away from the camera sitting poolside at a porn palace in the California hills. Pink Floyd album covers airbrushed on to their sinuous backs. Wish You Were Here with her red curls and hint of a chin was Martin’s favorite. Welcome to Time Bags II.

“What? Why?” Martin asked as he maneuvered his way around boxed stock on the floor behind the displays to his phone by the register. Martin unconsciously tightened the black watch cap on his skull. The navy blue jacket he wore like a coat rack lent him more substance than he truly possessed. Under that jacket a double layer of tee shirts kept him warm since Jesse wouldn’t let the heater go higher than 68 in the winter. Those worn shirts’ collars hung limply to reveal part of a message tattooed across Martin’s pale chest. Because the ink had faded and because the font had been Gothic everyone assumed it was a Bible verse. In fact, it read “Only the good die young,” and it was attributed to Shakespeare.

Martin flipped the phone open. “What the Hell, Jesse? I’m fired. What the fuck, man?”

383 words on day 628