Once upon a time, there was a cold distant village. It had little sunshine and most of the year was spent trying to get out of the cold, chilly winds. Most blustery winds, I must say! The streets were neat and tidy and the police saw to it that no strangers stayed longer than a week. Everyone knew one another and especially everyone else's business. Good or bad. And there were ways to find out. So most people were fairly predictable.
Walking to most any place in this town only took a few minutes. The town square was one solid block of small businesses, mostly the post office, a five and dime, a drug store, police and fire station (yes, they did both!), church and schoolhouse. The whole town looked like something out of a Norman Rockwell portrait, the only difference was that the truth of the facade came to light only through the perspective of a strange visitor. And not to often at that!
At the edge of town there was a lone grocery store owned and operated by one of the oldest families in town--the Hamilton's. The grocery store was in operation for almost one hundred and fifty years. From great-great grandfather Rex Hamilton (who is buried in the town cemetery with a full parade and fireworks!) to grandfather Howdy Hamilton who died plucking chickens during a lightning storm. Once again, a full parade for him and barbeque chicken and fireworks for the whole town. A silly town, a queer family line, but no one questioned anything. Just kind of shook their heads and accepted it all. It seems this family could be as wacky as they were arrogant.
The name of the grocery store was "Hamilton's Grocery"--what else--as there was no real imagination in the name or in them. The store shelves were stocked with strange stuff, like grape flavor bacon, fruit pies, Siberian coffee, bread and goat meat. The advertising for the groceries was a curiosity to strangers that were new to the town.
One ad in a county newspaper announced:
"COME ONE, COME ALL TO HAMILTON'S GROCERY. WHERE ELSE CAN YOU DINE ON PURPLE BACON AND LIVE TO TELL THE TALE?"
Well, that was enough to entice a fury of strangers to the Hamilton Grocery store one fateful week. One such stranger was Anna. Anna was a quiet, kind of girl of sixteen. She pedaled her brand new purple bicycle to this small village from the next county for the simple reason that she just had to try the purple bacon. Purple was her favorite color. She had a purple room, purple color curtains and she craved purple food. She had never, ever tasted purple bacon.
The purple bacon, in fact, enticed Anna to go to Hamilton's Grocery Store. There she spied upon a local souce of gossip. The gorgeous son of the Hamilton's, "Bad" Brad Hamilton. He was nick-named "Bad" because no girl could capture his attention, but not for lack of trying. Anna rolled her eyes at the thought of any boy being so stuck on himself. She had to see for herself and if she got to taste some purple bacon along the way, so much the better! "Bad" Brad was kind of the star of the store. Girls would come into the store and just watch him work. His "groupies" would line up and buy bacon by the pound, just to get a smile out of this guy. "Bad" Brad stubbornly refused to smile at anyone. He cut his bacon and that was that. The local girls got together and tried to think of a ways to get his attentions. One girl announced if someone could get him to smile and they would put each ten dollars in a pool and that girl would get the money! About one hundred girls entered the pool and each tried their hardest to even get a slight smile out of Brad, but even if he did look up from cutting his bacon, it was only for a flicker of a second and then he would go back to cutting bacon. Not a single smile, even for Bad Brad's mangy dog Rex, that cried and begged for a morsel of purple bacon.
The competition for his attention got fierce. Girls would come in the store with short red skirts, makeup, perfume and high heels and strut over to the meat counter and bat their eye lashes at Bad Brad. Nothing seemed to get his attention. I mean nothing. He gave out samples once a week and the girls rushed over to the sample table to try a piece of the purple bacon. It tasted awful, to tell the truth. But each told "Bad" Brad. "This is so delicious!"
All they heard was the sound of a cleaver, cutting up more bacon.
Anna's intention was to try the purple bacon. Her legs were tired from riding her bicycle all day, but no matter. She was determined to get to Hamilton's Grocery to try that purple bacon. It took her a day and a half to get there. The town was just straight ahead and she picked up the pace and headed into the center of town, past the church, school, fire station/police station, down the Main street and finally into the parking lot of Hamilton's Grocery. She could hardly believe she was finally here!
The door chimes as she enters and the scent of bacon filled the air.Luckily it was bacon sampling day and the line was long. She waited patiently and quietly waiting her turn. Mostly, she heard all the girls going wild over Bad Brad and trying to get him to smile .
"This bacon is so delicious!", she heard over and over.
She thinks, it must be the best bacon ever and best of all, it is
It was finally her turn and she took a taste of the bacon, It was cold, tasted like burnt paper and it made her cough.
She walked up to Bad Brad and pounded her fist on the counter.
"I rode my bike for a day and a half for this? She threw the bacon in Bad Brad's face. It hit him in his eye and he looked up and he started to laugh and smile!
"You know, you are the very first girl who knows that our bacon stinks and tastes absolutely disgusting. I, Bad Brad wouldn't even eat it! You are cute. Will you please go out with me?"
"What? Are you joking?", Anna replied. "Besides, how can you sell this stuff if you don't even like it yourself? Why keep up this stupid facade? Do you like the attention that much? Now, take a look at those silly girls. You know they are just joshing you along. They don't really like the bacon either. They just want you to pay attention to them. Why not just smile at one of them?"
"No thanks. They are acting really dumb.", Brad replies.
"I agree. They are pitiful aren't they?"
The rest of the girls rushed up to her and shook her. "That is Bad Brad Hamilton! How did you get him to smile, no less talk to you? You win the pool money. We have been trying to get him to smile at one of us for ages. All he does is cut the bacon and ignore us. Here take the money.", the girls said to her.
Anna took another look at Bad Brad and shook her head. Then she looked at the pitiful harem that had gathered to worship this sad boy.
"Nah, you keep your money. There isn't enough room in the store for all of us and Bad Brad's puffed up ego. Take a good look at him. Really look. He is as strange as the bacon he cuts."
The girls took another look.
Another girl said, "He always wears that grey shirt. It's ugly."
Yet another said. "He smells like bacon! "
"Well", Anna said, with a wave of her hand, "Oh, don't be so hard on him. He probably has no choice. He is a Hamilton after all. He can't help it."
"Anna?", Bad Brad rushed up to the front of the Hamilton Grocery as she was about to leave.
"Yes, dreamboat?", Anna whispers to Brad as she winks to the other girls.
"Anna will you go out with me?", Brad begs.
"Only if you can be straight with these silly girls and tell them
you don't like the bacon either. It really tastes awful. I am sure
you don't like smelling like bacon and working in this crummy store"
"Yeah me too!!", Brad laughs.
"Hey Brad, let's go for a bike ride and get away from this silly town."
"Yeah, it feels good to smile again!!"
"Girls, here is one big smile for you. Now go home and get a life. The store is closed today!"
"What a strange boy!", the girls shout in unison.
"So, I am strange. The bacon here is awful! Don't even try it!" Brad laughs.
Brad and Anna walk out of the store to the puzzled look
of the crowd of girls.
"I surely misjudged you, Brad. You are fun and you are cool. We have to think of a new nick-name for you. "Bad Brad" does not suit you anymore. How about Glad Brad?"
They both giggled as they went out of the store and into the sunshine.
"Life is more than slicing bacon, Anna. I had you all wrong too. I thought you were like the other girls. Just another groupie, trying to get me to look at their faces with goopy makeup and giggles. I just want a friend I can hang out with. Let's go ride our bikes, let the wind blow in our faces and live!"
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This was another nice story and I like the fact that the kid behind the bacon didn't turn out to be a pig and was just a misunderstood nice handsome young man.
Thank you! I am glad you liked my story!
Well, after Ore-Ida's brief stint trying to market blueberry french fries, purple bacon doesn't shock me so much. I like how you narrated this and gave it a Mayberry-type feel. (Having grown up in a tiny town, I can relate to the whole fire/police station thing. I remember the town's fire department literally consisted of a pickup truck with a garden hose in the back of it. This was in the 70s, so hopefully they've advanced slightly since then.) The title drew me in to the story, and it was an interesting one, indeed.
Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed my story!! I grew up in a small town in Maine. It had a Main Street, a river where the whole town had a skating social in January with hot chocolate and lots of fun, a bakery where I always chose maple squares and cinnamon candy apples, a theater, a drug store where they made ice cream sodas and lime rickeys, we had "crazy" days in the summer where all the shops had sales and if you had 20 bucks in your pocket, you were rich. That was in the 1950's and 60's. It was a wicked good place to live. I love Maine!!