Snakes and Pills

041 - tenth

Before he had even touched the door handle, he caught a glimpse of Mr. Bryant through the shop's big exterior glass windows. The shopkeeper wore an extremely big grin. Mr. Bryant was usually a cheerful man as it was, but David couldn't help but feel that the shopkeeper's grin probably grew a few sizes whenever he saw David approaching his business.

"How much money have I spent here in the past few months? The past year?" David wondered to himself as he pushed the door to the shop open. The little wind chime attached to the door jingled and announced David's entrance.

"Ah, my favorite customer! Hello!" Mr. Bryant said, still wearing that large grin on his face. "What have you brought for me today?"

The shop smelled like leather, oils, and some other odor that David couldn't quite put his finger on. It was a stench, this unknown odor. But only a little stench, faint enough that you might not notice it if you weren't actively thinking about the aromas in the shop. David walked up to the counter which Mr. Bryant stood behind.

"Hi, Mr. Bryant," David began. He was always a stickler for returning any formalities received. "Just this stuff," he continued, as he dropped the bundle wrapped in brown paper that he had been carrying down onto the counter.

Mr. Bryant undid the strings tying the package together and folded the sheets back. As the contents were revealed to him, David saw the shopkeeper's eyes light up slightly. It wasn't much, but it was there, David was certain.

Indeed, the man behind the counter did not try hard to contain his excitement. "Oh, my!" he exclaimed. "David, you have simply outdone yourself this time."

David nodded his head in agreement, but without the same happy expression on his face. Instead, his look was more one of worry. "Yeah, yeah I did. So how much?"

The furrows on the shopkeeper's face multiplied as he considered the question. "Well, I've got to be honest with you David. This could be a lot of work."

David put his head in his hands while letting out an overly audible groan. Mr. Bryant just waited patiently while David coped with the reality of the situation. Which he did, albeit slowly.

"I knew it would be. I mean," he shook his head admittedly, "I can see with my own eyes that this time they're bad. I've been through this enough times before. But sometimes you just hope that maybe it will turn out better in the end." He sighed. "But in my heart, deep deep down there, I knew it was going to be the worst yet."

Mr. Bryant just nodded in understanding. "Well, I can't criticize you too much, after all, you're basically putting my kids through college," he chuckled, trying to lighten the mood a bit. He was unsuccessful in this attempt, so he decided to perhaps offer some serious advice.

"Would it just be possible for you to, uh, go a little easier on your shoes? I've been a cobbler for many, many years, and I have never seen someone tear up a pair of shoes quite like you."

David still stood there with his head in his hands, and he just groaned, "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know...I don't know how or why I destroy them like I do." He just shook his head.

"Just tell me when I can pick them up and how much you think it'll cost, and I'll be on my way."


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