liquor store

I've been here going on seven years. I've been in and out of all the things to get in and out of around here. I am recognized on the street. People around shopkeepers and workers who were at first taciturn are now openly friendly. 

A liquor store at the corner took up in my building street level. They are directly below now so it is convenient to drop in there and pick up a 12-pack of Pepsi, or Coke and here and there throughout the years some types of fortified wine for cooking, Madeira, Marsala, Vermouths, saki, and such.  

So they know that I really cannot handle alcohol and they are pretty much a central attraction for all types so I am not their usual type customer. Now when I go in at odd hours it may be dark all around, not much activity outside, few cars, fewer people, sparse customers. It is a very large bottle shop, brightly lit and only us two.

"There he is."

"You know, when tragedy first befell me and bones were broken in both my legs and feet I was really bummed out."

The guy who works there is a very tall and somewhat odd and imposing man. His visage changed. He prepared for something intimate. Something psychological perhaps. He's not the type of person to listen to that sort of thing. I know that.

"Because I realized I can be tracked so easily."


"The snow outside reminded me. It goes footprint, footprint, footprint, footprint, dot, dot, dot."


"And the thought was depressing, 'There goes my life of hijinks. My future of nefarious activities just gone."

I was walking toward him and now turned and walked down an aisle away from him toward the usual spot where the Pepsis are so with no eye contact he yelled at me from behind me down the aisle but throughout the entire place, there was nobody else there, suggestions for how I can cover my tracks.

Now that right there is funny. He is sincerely trying to help me be more comfortable and cover my tracks.

"You can alternate using the canes, hold one up." 

"You can step in previous steps." 

"You can return in your own steps." 

"You can use something else for balance."

"Switch to hiking poles and extend them beyond your foot steps and alternate using them."

"Use the poles to mess up your path."

"You can drag branches behind you." 

I bought the 12-pack and slipped it into my backpack. The procedure a bit ritualistic.

The next day I was outside walking home from dinner. Hardly anybody outside again, very late. Beautiful night too. The whole street is dark, the street itself actually black. Only a few small places open, and only one providing bright light spilling onto the sidewalk. The whole street reminds one of a Hooper painting having to do with urban solitude.

There is a double glass door in the center of the bottle shop. Two women walk out and turn ahead of me going in my direction. The pair bought something there and passed from the light of the shop into relative darkness. They are more attractive than shown below. Dressed darkly, they are two shadow-figures walking together that glide ahead straight to their car. They are parked directly in front of my front door. As I stepped into the light of the liquor store this happened, it is the sort of thing teenage boys do:

That same man again. Front and large in the window. It took me a long moment to realize he is telling me to pursue them. He had just sold them alcohol. There are only us four out there. He is suggesting they are ready to party. As if I would actually hasten up to them in the darkness and accost them cold call like that.  

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