The Sweet Shoppe

My eyes glazed over (if you’ll pardon the pun) as I gazed through the window at the myriad confections in the Sweet Shoppe. I don’t understand how it was that I never noticed the place before. I’d been walking these streets for weeks, looking for work. No one had “Help Wanted” signs up, but I would go in and ask anyway. And so it was that even though I know nothing about making candies, I entered the Sweet Shoppe with hope in my heart. After all, they must need help with cleaning up I reasoned, and I can do that.

The proprietor was an older gentleman with a healthy mane of hair and bushy moustache, all shockingly white. I introduced myself and he greeted me kindly, but he ignored my inquiry as to the possibility of employment. Instead he began wandering around the shoppe pointing to his creations and muttering the most extraordinary things.

He straightened a box of taffy. “Bobby pulled his sister’s hair,” he said softly. “Jimmy pulled a puppy’s tail. And Sally loosed the ribbon from Betsy’s braids on the way to school.” At least I think that’s what he said.

He tapped the side of a jar of gumballs. (I would almost swear they turned to follow his finger tip.) “Jacob took a dollar from his mother’s purse. Mary read Lucy’s diary to Michelle and Cindy and Ben.” Could I possibly have heard that right?

He turned his attention to whips of licorice hanging freely over the counter. “My dog ate my homework. You look great! Of course I’ll respect you in the morning.” Now he just seemed to be babbling.

He rearranged a tray full of bon-bons. “Stolen boyfriends. Cheating spouses. Broken marriages.” He chuckled. Then with a soft cloth he began wiping the glass front of a tall case full of cakes. “Old man Martin.” He nearly sang with delight. “Every single one of them.”

I didn’t understand. Finally, he turned to me. “The sweetness has to come from somewhere,” he sighed. “But I’m getting too old. Would you care to apprentice? I can teach you. Or shall I just….”

Horrified, I reteated quickly. Once on the street though I hesitated and looked back. I thought I saw the old man with a flask of syrup in hand. But then the storefront was vacant and my morning a fuzzy memory. I continued walking. Hopeless.

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15 Comments on The Sweet Shoppe

  1. That was a cool little pun, hehe.

    What an intriguing piece!

    A ghost of a place that siphons the sweet from people?

    As you can see, I am fuzzy about the details.

    But this does not detract from the enjoyment of reading this tale. :)

    Thanks, Marisa. I’m glad you enjoyed it. And if the details get fuzzier you may come back and enjoy it again tomorrow! ~Tim

  2. The old man with the flask of syrup in his hand; now that’s a vision. The sweetness has to come from…

    Good one and thank yuh.

    Thanks, Donald. I wondered whether I could leave out the statement about where the sweetness comes from and still have the story hold together. ~Tim

  3. I see we’re still adding to our cookbook collection, Tim. 😉
    Spooky little tale – I think he’ll be happier that his morning is fuzzy!

    Yes, Laura. Although fuzzy candy isn’t usually a good thing. ~Tim

  4. I love it. This story was creepy and loads of fun to read. The sweetness has to come from somewhere, indeed… I don’t blame him for passing up the apprenticeship deal. :)

    Thanks, Maria. It was fun to write too. ~Tim

  5. Amy Taylor // 2010/03/20 at 15:04 //

    Indeed, creepy and great fun. Nice pacing and an enjoyable read.

    Thanks, Amy. I tried to write this as a poem first and I think that helped with the pacing. ~Tim

  6. Colonel Sanders is diversifying? This place is magical, Tim. I hope he turns back and gives it a go as an apprentice, who knows what could happen? Great read. A tasty treat!
    Simon.

    Thanks, Simon. That bit about Colonel Sanders made me laugh. We’ll have to wait and see whether he ever goes back. ~Tim

  7. G.P. Ching // 2010/03/20 at 19:08 //

    One of my favorites for sure. The sweetness has to come from somewhere. I feel sorry for the guy, hopeless and sweetness gone too. Really clever Tim.

    Thanks, G.P. He is really down on his luck. Maybe next week will be a happier tale. ~Tim

  8. A prequel to Willy Wonka? Indeed. I loved the bit about the sweets turning to follow the finger, yes I did!

    Thanks, Lily. I pictured them as eyeballs and it made me smile. ~Tim

  9. Very clever story – maybe i’ll lay off candy for a little while … FWIW, i think you probably need to keep in “the sweetness needs to come from somewhere …” or else it might be too confusing. I like the ending – just enough mystery and just enough clue to figure it out. Well done!

    Thanks, PJ. I’m glad you like it and I appreciate the feedback about the line. ~Tim

  10. netta // 2010/03/21 at 21:53 //

    Ooh, nice and creepy. I love the tone throughout. It’s like the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Very nicely done.

    Thanks, Netta. Nice and creepy is just what I was aiming for. ~Tim

  11. This story makes me glad I only buy fair trade chocolate. *grin*

    Well done.

    Thanks, Ganymeder. What a great idea for another story: otherworldly fair trade agreements! ~Tim

  12. Oh, I would SO work there!

    Thanks, Cathy. You’re hired! ~Tim

  13. The sweets following the fingertip was awesome!
    a sort of cute/creepy combo. Or dare I say, sweet/creepy!

    Thanks, Mazzz. Either way you say it, thank you for the compliment. ~Tim

  14. Wonderful images in this. The man looks a little creepy holding that new bottle of syrup. Well done!

    Thanks, Laurita. He looks creepy, but he’s smiling! ~Tim

  15. I’m a little fuzzy on the ending, but I really enjoyed it – beautifully written.

    Thanks, Mark. Just don’t eat any fuzzy candy. ~Tim

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