a snippet of my current fiction
I thought I’d share with you a blip of my current fiction project. Will this be part of the actual novel? Or is it a freewriting exercise to help me, the storyteller, grasp the lay of the land? Not sure. Nonetheless, here it is. Very much in draft form. …Hope you enjoy it! (And if you haven’t yet subscribed, now’s a good time because I’ll be sharing more of this story in the coming months.)
Walk with me through the front door, bell jingling, into McIntyre’s Mercantile, and you will see a turnstile of postcards, dust particles shimmering with movement through the window-glass light as the two out-of-towners spin the collection. Just ahead, Jake is stocking the endcap of canned pumpkin butter. His green apron plucks the sign for apple cider doughnuts available on Saturday; he catches it with his free hand, rights it back into position.
If you pass the left-hand display of vegetables from nearby growers — Jake has just sprayed them — you will see shelves common to all small-town corner stores: a museum of cereal, dried beans, kitchen sponges, boxed dinners for the working moms and latchkey kids. The wood floor creaks as we walk because it’s the same one since 1904, when Brooks McIntyre and his wife leased the storefront to sell dry goods and horse feed to cattlemen sojourning north on the Chisholm Trail. Chinks and booted foot scuffs still mark the floor.
Peruse the back wall and you’ll see the time card clock, where employees check in to ensure just pay, and next to it a bulletin board displays the week’s work schedule, a list of farmers’ telephone numbers, and a flyer reminding us that the high school’s homecoming parade is in three weeks. The bathroom door has a faded sign: Employees Only, Public Bathroom At The Courthouse (sorry for the inconvenience). The supply closet next to it is cracked open and the light is still on, but it’s antithetical to interesting so you walk past it because all that’s visible are rows of plastic jugs of bright orange antiseptic liquid, a wheeled mop bucket, and a tangled set of keys hanging on the wall by a crooked nail. It’s interesting that you walk past it because that is, in fact, what you should do. More on that in a moment.