Going To The Corner Store To Buy Everyday Item

Submitted into Contest #31 in response to: Write a short story about someone going to the corner store to buy an everyday item.... view prompt





     One day my neighbor Carol and I got permission from our Mom’s to walk to the corner store. We strolled leisurely along our partly wooded, two-lane road. New homes were encroaching the woods and now lined both sides most of the way. Our pockets were heavy with pennies.

     I loved going to Quigley’s. It was a one-room store about two miles from my house. A straight walk to a crossroad that, if we turned left would take us to where I attended school. We might sometimes go that way to visit with Moses, the mule if we saw him grazing in his pasture

     Mostly we turned right, and just passed the train station was Quigley’s. It was an old structure, unlike the modern house where my family and I lived. Our house was new and recently remodeled, a 1950’s ranch with a big bow window in the living room and flagstone decorated walls outside. Quigley’s was warm and familiar, so different from the large, cold A&P supermarket, where my mom did the weekly grocery shopping.

     Quigley’s was a two-story wood-frame house. Long, paint scraped, wood steps led into a window-enclosed porch with a screen door that banged closed after you entered. A set of wood and glass french doors with brass knobs let you into the store. A hanging bell jangled to announce your arrival.

     The wood plank floors flexed and squeaked in places. Neat isles had single selections of all the meal fixings. It smelled like fresh Keiser rolls and spices. A large barrel of Jewish pickles sat in front of a cold cut counter that held big chunks of boiled ham and bologna, and blocks of  American and Swiss cheeses. 

     A big red coke machine offered a cold, glass bottle of cola for five cents. There was a wooden display counter, in the front of the store, with an old-style cash register on top that dinged when the drawer opened. Underneath the counter was an exciting selection of the most popular penny candy in a large glass case.

     My favorites were Mary Janes, Tooties Rolls, Bazooka Bubble Gum, Butterscotch hard candies, and sticks of Twizzler red licorice in a tall glass. There were lollipops and jawbreakers. Sugar Daddy Taffys lasted a long time and candy cigarettes in a box were sweet and dramatic, for the walk home. Twenty cents filled a small brown paper bag full. Mr. Quiqley was an old man. Friendly and patient with our indecisive choices.

     As we were on our way back home this day, gabbing about things seven-year-olds do we passed by a home on the other side of the road. Outside sitting next to the front steps was a little brown puppy. His ears hung low and he had a chubby round belly.

     I pointed him out to Carol and we both stopped walking and happily waved and called hellos to him. His droopy ears perked up a bit and he stood. With a big happy grin on his face, he started a clumsy gallop, on his short legs, toward us. We were excited to meet each other.

     As the puppy neared the edge of the property, a car appeared, on our side of the road, heading in our direction, I knew what was going to happen. I couldn’t breathe, my stomach convulsed into my chest. I started motioning with my hands for the puppy to stop. Yelling at him, “No, No.” The car moved closer. The puppy was on the street in the opposite lane. 

     I looked into the car hoping they saw him. He was so small and I’m sure the man driving was more concerned with looking in the direction of two small girls on his side of the road to notice the pup. The lady in the seat next to him must have seen the direction I was looking and waving toward. She saw what was about to happen and covered her face with her hands.

     The man driving hit his brakes but it was too late. The puppy went under his tire, directly in front of Carol and me. He split open around the middle. His pink and white innards spilled onto the road. There wasn’t a sound. He still had a big smile, his tongue lolled out on the street. His tail wagged a few times before it stopped.

      The man jumped out of the car. His mouth had a pinched grimace, his eyes a sad look as he came around to the front of the car. For us, he had the presence of mind to break our intense stares at the baby dog who was crushed and lying dead before us.

     “Did the puppy come from that house?” He asked, pointing in the direction across the street. We looked up at him, in shock and nodded yes.

     “You girls go on home now. I’ll take the puppy to his home.” He prodded us forward with nods in the direction we should move.

     I remember the start of that day. It was a warm summer afternoon that saw us dressed in shorts and our P.F. Keds sneakers. Carol and I cheerfully debating what candies we each were going to buy when we got to Quigley’s. The sweet smells of grass and honeysuckle as we walked. Then rooting through our bags of candy for sweet pieces to eat as we headed home.

     I can’t remember anything after the accident. I couldn’t tell you if we talked about it or cried during the rest of the way home, or even if I told my mom about it. I only have the replay of that scene each time I visit a corner store to buy everyday items.    

     I didn’t go to Quigley’s for a long time afterward. Carol and I grew apart. The store’s name changed to Collin’s at some point and I was able to ride my bike there. I wasn’t buying penny candy anymore instead, buying 32 cents a pack, Winston cigarettes.

March 06, 2020 19:01

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Roland Aucoin
00:24 Mar 12, 2020

Ouch! The shock that reality often carries. I wonder if I will remember this story each time I stop at my corner store. Well written. Tough ending.


Deborah Durkin
20:07 Mar 12, 2020

Thank you for the like. I hope you have fond memories too.


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