everything was going well. the old man didnt know english and was smoking a pipe. the old woman didnt know english and was working the copier. the young son was probably nine years old and cocky and bored and played his game boy advance and translated without looking up.
please tell your father it will be 130 pages, color cover, perfect bound, 150 copies.
the boy worked the gizmo and said, “papa, wah wah wah-wah wah wah wah-wah.”
the father replied, “wha wah wah wha.”
the boy said, “two thousand dollars.”
i handed over the cash and gave the old man a manilla envelope with the manuscript.
he opened it up as i waited for my receipt.
“it should be done by monday morning.” the boy said, smiling after hitting pause. he took a long drag from a juicy juice juice box and went back to his game.
the old man said, “uh oh.” and looked at me and called his wife over.
she said, “wah wha wah wha wah. pierce-ah?”
they looked at me and took the manuscript into the back.
soon there was a faint odor of smoke?
yes that was smoke.
then the smoke detector went off in a very annoying long high-pitched tone.
some might call it piercing.
the boy hit pause again and looked up irritatingly.
from behind the curtain there was a scuffle.
the old woman came hobbling out with a flaming garbage pail and the old man chasing her.
they ran out of the store past me and threw the entire fireball into the street scattering the pigeons.
the old man ran back and gave me back my envelope of cash.
“you go now. go!”
as i slowly left the shop i passed by the little boy who was leaning against the front door playing his game. he looked at me, put his headphones on, and went back to defending the universe.