You stumble into the sub shop.
The doorbell’s chime rings in your ears.
Standing behind the counter is a husk of a man who looks like he had one too many acid trips. His long black hair grows around a bald spot, supported by a tie-die bandanna wrapped around his head. He strums his fingers along the counter.
Behind him a whole world unfolds. Subs of different flavors and sizes are stapled on the board like sandwiches stuck in time. It’s what you get if you hire an artist who is hungry. Sandwiches, as far as an eye can see, none of them you can eat. And there you stand, taking it all in.
Your eyes drift to the large poster behind the cash register.
An innocent statement, “Ask me about our party trays,” sits in big red letters.
When a weird feeling comes from your throat. Your lips tremble, and you raise a finger pointed towards the sign.
“So, what’s going on with those party trays?”
The man looks up from the counter. His eyelids narrow, like he couldn’t believe what you said so he had to squint to hear it.
“What was that?”
“Your party trays. What about them?”
The hippie nods his head. He slowly swallows. You hear it.
“That’s what I thought you said.”
The hippie gently removes his apron and balls it in his hand.
He pours a cup of water and downs it.
“Son, I’ve been waiting a LONG time for someone to ask me about those trays. A LONG TIME.”
You shift side to side, wondering what the fuck just happened.
You can feel your body slowly grow more defensive. You look at the screen door, and mentally trace the footsteps.
“You’re not a cop, are you?” He asks over his smudgy glasses.
You cross your arms.
The hippie man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a joint.
“Close the blinds and flip the sign, will ya?”
You comply. And a once alive store goes cold.
He sparks the joint, breathing in the thick smoke and exhaling it through his nose like a bull.
“So what kind of party you got?”
“Well… I was just asking…”
“Cut the shit, you can be honest here.”
He reaches under the counter and brings out a briefcase. The leather reflects white light and makes you squint. He cracks it open.
“We got these little pick-me-ups, these chill-me-downs, things to make your head spin like a tornado, and things to bring you back from Crazytown, ya know?”
“We also got the good stuff that turns you into the party king and the head-scratching stuff that’ll make you wonder if you took a wrong turn on the highway of life.”
“We got the whole shebang, man! Stuff to rev your engine and stuff to put the brakes on. So, what’s the play, slick? What’s it gonna be?”
You gaze onto the mountain of drugs, noting the different powders, shapes and sizes. It must be $50,000 worth easy. You scratch your chin and point up to a sandwich.
“I was thinking… maybe you had umm… salami subs? It’s for my kid’s birthday party. She’s 10.”
The hippie man blinks. You return it.
He slowly shuts the suitcase. His fingers glide along the leather, and he hoists it up and returns it to the beneath the counter. He puts out the joint and wipes his hands along his chest.
“Yeah we got that too… umm… it’s on the house.”
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