The Pink Store, by David Henson
Unable to sleep, I go for a long walk and wander until I’m lost in a part of the city where the streets are as tangled as tree roots. I come across a brightly lit place. A hand-painted sign proclaims it to be The Pink Store. Unable to resist going inside, I find a jumble of antique lamps, used clothes, old tools, hardware and groceries.
I’m already thinking it’s one of the strangest places ever when I notice a stock girl juggling oranges, a banana plumb on her nose. After admiring her talent a few moments, I continue looking around and come across a bear, in a green beret, squeaking his cart down the aisle.
As I ease past, he asks if I know where they keep the honey. I tell him I think I saw a few jars next to the nails. The bear puts a giant paw on my shoulder and pulls me close. I’m thinking I might be in trouble when a woman tiny as a clothes pin gallops past on a sugar mare smaller than a box of Tide.
After strolling the aisles awhile and finding nothing else of interest, I head for the exit. As I pass the cashier, he tilts his head back and puts a match to his lips. I hear a roar and whoosh behind me. It takes me ‘til dawn to find my way back home.
Over the next few days, I can’t get The Pink Store out of my mind. During another night in the throes of insomnia, I decide to see if I can find it again. I’m about to give up, when I come across a pile of smoldering ashes. I’m unsure if it’s The Pink Store until I see a charred, hand-painted sign. I feel as though I’ve lost and found something at the same time.
David Henson and his wife have lived in Brussels and Hong Kong and now reside in Illinois. His work has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions and has appeared in various journals including Half Hour to Kill, Moonpark Review, Literally Stories, and Fiction on the Web. His website is http://writings217.wordpress.com. His Twitter is @annalou8.
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