Short Story
            “The Customer”
                                  By Jameson T. Caine

The sign above the door read Mojo’s Magical Emporium.  Images of a boiling
pot and a wizard’s hat flanked either side of the lettering, providing context for
the more curious passerby.  A dim light shone from within, lending little support
to the overworked streetlight positioned by the darkened alley outside.
Glancing around and seeing no one else about, I opened the door and
entered.  A gentle warmth embraced me, accompanied by a mystifying smell
that encompassed both natural and synthetic fragrances into one peculiar
aroma.  I savored it, reminded of strange and exotic cuisines.
I gazed at the long shelves affixed to the walls, overflowing with an assortment
of weird and uncanny items, and I wondered if this establishment even had
what I so desperately needed.
“Can I help you?”
Turning my head, I saw the proprietor, a short balding man whose waistline
was showing all the signs of never having missed a meal.  He stood in the
center of the store, appraising me.
Aside from the two of us, the place was empty.
“I have a problem,” I said. “I need something.”
“Well, you’ve come to the right place!” The glee in his voice was subtle, but
unmistakable.  He rounded the end of a long counter and assumed a position
on the other side.
“What might be troubling you?” he asked. “Werewolf?  Vampire?  A Mummy?  
Rest assured, that’s no problem.” He gestured at the well-stocked shelves
behind him.  “I carry a wide assortment of silver bullets, wooden stakes and
freshly imported Tanna leaves.  What will it be?”
“None of those.”
“Is it a Witch?” he asked without missing a beat.  “Or perhaps a Warlock or
magic user of some sort?  I stock several types of protective charms as well as
effective counter curses.”
“It’s nothing like that,” I told him.
“Ghouls? Zombies? Revenants?”
“No.”
“Fairies, Ghosts or other spirits?”
“No.”
He grimaced. “It’s not a demon is it?”
I shook my head.
He sighed, clearly exasperated. “Well then, just what is your problem?”
“I’m short on cash.” I produced my gun and quickly shot him three times before
emptying the till and exiting out into the cold night.

              
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