Grubby Guy

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There are a lot of drunks and homeless people milling about our store. They’re probably harmless but they’re a bit intimidating. This guy, for example, seems like he could easily smash my face in without much reason.

“Oh this is nice.” He points at an old painting. “I’ll give you $60 for it.”

With no hesitation I said, “Sure!” I didn’t want to upset the guy in fear of retaliation. He’d bring his grubby friends around and break our windows or grab me by my pencil neck and shake me this way and that. (left and right.)

“How old is it?” He asks.

“You know, I’m not sure. Looks pretty old though, doesn’t it?”

“I got a friend who could figure it out. He knows all about this stuff. I’ll find out.”

It sounds almost threatening. Now I’m worried the thing’s going to be just a few years old and that’d piss him off and then he’d come back to twist my arms and give me a couple bad snake burns.

“Yeah. I’d be interested in finding out too. Cool.” I say, wrapping the painting. As I do so he takes a handful of the vintage Expo ’76 matches on the counter and shoves them in his pocket.

“Oh. No. Those aren’t free.”

He laughs. “You’re a real shrewd businessman.”

The nerve! This shrewd businessman just gave you a 25% discount on a painting I’m going to make next to zero dollars on now. And you expect to stuff a bunch of merch in your pockets just for existing? We don’t make any money here to begin with. Do you really think you need those matches more than I do? I sincerely doubt it.

“… Ok. Take one. Just one though.”

He laughs and shakes his head like I’m a piece of shit.

“Bye sir.” I say with a smile. “Thanks for coming.”

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