The clerk yelled, “Next!”
I stepped up to the counter.
“What can I get you?” he asked.
I stared at the seemingly infinite choices on the shelf.
“Well?” The clerk glared at me.
“Uh . . .”
“Hesitation is a sign of weakness. This is no place for the meek. You need fortitude to pick among all the items on the shelf. No guts, no turn. Time for you to step aside.”
I white-knuckled the counter, exhaled and then channeled the confidence of Brangelina. “I can do this,” I muttered to myself. “I’m ready,” I said.
“Too late. Next!”
I wouldn’t budge. Even the much feared tap on the shoulder from the customer next in line didn’t make me waver. “I won’t leave until I get what I came for.”
Grumbling from behind.
I glanced over my shoulder. The line had doubled in size since I had taken my place at the counter. I shrugged and turned to face the clerk.
The clerk glanced across the room. A sheen of sweat covered his brow. “Okay, okay. Just relax.” His gaze settled back onto me. “Fine. Tell me what you want, and then get out.”
A smile curved my lips. “Etc . . . ,” I said.
“Etc . . . is the thing I’m looking for.”
“The power of infinite mores,” the clerk gasped. “My God, I didn’t think it was possible. Are you sure you don’t want a semi colon instead?”
“As soon as you give me et cetera, I will leave.”
The clerk’s cheeks blanched, as he whirled around to face the shelves. After searching from one end to the other, he grabbed something, turned and stuffed it into a bag.
“Is that it?” I asked.
The clerk nodded and stapled the bag shut. “Take it!”
I grabbed the bag and held it against my chest.
“Now, get out!”
“But I haven’t paid for it yet.”
“You will,” he warned. “No one gets an etc. without paying for it.”
A lump lodged inside my throat, as I followed the line out the door.
“You’re a fool,” shouted a man with a bulbous-shaped head. “We need boundaries.”
“That may be true for you,” I said. “But I always need something to look forward to.”
What’s your favorite punctuation mark?
- Lesser-Known Punctuation Marks (neatorama.com)