Redbrick. Majestic. Double-fronted. Potatoes, penny chews, fags, knitting needles, and everything in between. Stone-flagged floor scrubbed at 7am. Wooden counters beeswaxed. Fingery smears and lip-spittle wiped from glass-fronted treats: Sherbet Fountains, Flying Saucers, Lucky Bags. Jars of pineapple chunks, toffees, aniseed balls and humbugs line shelves like sentinels. Waiting for their sticky turn on the scales. Portents of decay.
Corned beef ‘fresh’ from the tin. Pink and mottled, like granny’s legs.
‘Mornin’, Mrs Evans. How many slices? How’s Mr Evans today, any better? Two ounces of mousetrap? There we are.’
Tip spuds into the shopping bag and snuggle them under yesterday’s news. A loaf retrieved from the depths of an old tea chest, wrapped in tissue paper. Half a pound of butter from under the stairs. Six penn’orth of this or that. Shillings and pence counted in Vim-scoured hands. Coppers in the till.
‘Weather’s turning, Mrs Howell, best wrap up.’
Time passes with each refit. Decimals. Self-service. Everything wrapped in plastic. Names forgotten as the neighbourhood crumbles into a fickle future. Videos. Kebabs. Pizzas. Graffiti. Smashed windows and shattered six-year-old memories.
About the author
Mari lives in Leeds, writes mostly flash fiction, with several published in CaféLit, and is working on a couple of ‘longer’ short stories. She also occasionally dabbles in poetry. She is a keen singer and sometime traveller.
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