In a Manner of Speaking

by Steve Mitchell

“Oh! It’s stuffy in here.”  The customer in the starched, blue shirt stepped up to the counter as the door closed behind him.

“What can I do for you?” asked the clerk in the wrinkled, green shirt.

“Well,” the customer put his palms flat on the counter, “I’m interested in buying a sort.”

“You’re interested in buying a sort.”


“Okay, you know what?”  The clerk paced two steps away then returned to the counter and stood opposite the customer.   “What sort of sort?  I mean, there’s lots of different types.  Would it kill you to be more specific?

I mean, all day long, I’ve had this non-stop parade of bargain hunters with their coupon books and their oily hands all over the mahogany and touching this and smudging that and they all want a sort, everybody wants a sort, and we’ve sold them all anyhow!  There’s no more!

I even put a sign on the window but the parade continues!  One after the other!  Can you read?  Did you bother to look at the sign?”

“I didn’t see the sign, no,” said the customer.

“Well, there’s a sign.”

“Okay.  So,”  the customer wiped his palms on his trousers.

The clerk sighed.  “So … look.  I’m sorry.”

The customer nodded, “You’re out of sorts.”



© Steve Mitchell 2015