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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Short story

“Good day sir, how can I help?”
“I’d like to convert some money into euros, if that’s ok.”
“I’m sorry…I don’t think I’ll be able to do that?”
“But…you’re the post office.”
“Well yes-“
“Everything’s legitimate, there’s nothing dodgy going on if that’s…if that’s worrying you.”
“No, I’m sure it’s all above board sir. It’s just that…well…”
“Well, what?”
“You’re on fire.”
This was correct. The man at the front of the queue was a mannequin of orange and red, a crown of flames on his head that spread down around his body. He was, as the nonchalant cashier had attested to, on fire.
“I don’t see how that’s a problem. I don’t think I’m bothering anybody.”
He turned to a woman behind him.
“Excuse me, I’m sorry, but am I bothering you…in any way?”
She smiled awkwardly.
“Oh, no, not at all. I mean, as long as I stand back a few feet…then…yes, yes I have no problem with it.”

The cashier spoke again.
“Sir, I can assure you that, personally, I have no problem with this. It’s your life choice, and I respect it. I just, I don’t know what protocol is to serving men comprised of sentient flame.”
“Can you check with the Manager?”
“He’s out I’m afraid. Having lunch.”
“When will he be back?”
“His break is 75 minutes, he’s been gone for about 10 minutes.”
“Do you know where he is?”
“It’s Tuesday, so he might be at Subway.”
“There’s no Subway here. I think…I’ve forgotten.”
“He drives for about twenty minutes to the nearest one. He really likes Subway.”
“Understandable. Very well, so you’re saying I can’t convert my money?”
“Not here no, Sorry. I mean, unless you could turn your….fire off.”
“I don’t know how. Well, I forgot.”
“Oh that’s a shame, could you call somebody up?”
“I can’t use a phone in this current state.”
“But you can handle money and not singe people queuing near you?”
“The writing’s very lazy and loose, I’ll be the first to admit that.”
“Well that’s certainly a problem. You've got my sympathies, but I can’t stand here discussing the logistics and rules of your….situation with you, as interesting as that would be. I've got people to serve, I’m sure you understand that Sir.”
“Very well. Sorry for the bother, thanks anyway”
And with that, the burning figure walked out, euro-less.

It looked like he wouldn't be going to Belgium any time soon at this rate. After his diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s that morning, it certainly wasn't a good day to be the Human Torch.

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