A writer, plagued by writer’s block, trained himself to shit stories. It was a long and laborious process, as his guts had to form the turds into tiny letters, like the noodles in alphabet soup. But the writer was now incredibly productive. He’d produce a new story every day. Unfortunately, none of them were any good.
I needed a new winter coat, so I took the bus over to Skiles’ department store, which always seems to have a nice selection of men’s coats. When I arrived I went straight to men’s outerwear. As I was going through the racks, I heard an announcement.
“Attention Skiles’ shoppers. For the next hour only we’re offering an additional 20% reduction on all permanent markdowns on the seventh floor. Please proceed to the seventh floor for additional savings.”
Bargain-starved shoppers made a beeline, no, a mad dash, to beat the competition to the extra savings. They all dropped the items they had taken off the racks and shelves on other floors. Dressing rooms were hastily abandoned. Chaos. Some were trampled, but luckily there were no fatalities, just surface wounds, abrasions, contusions. More people crowded in the elevators than allowed, exceeding by far two thousand pounds in each car. Some ran up the escalators, pushing aside those who didn’t abide by the universal passing protocol. I managed to squeeze into one of the elevators, just barely.
We were in for a rude awakening. There was no button in the elevator for the seventh floor. “Maybe you have to get off on six and walk up,” I suggested, being somewhat logically inclined. Everybody got off on six.
We went looking for the stairway to seven. It was nowhere to be found. All the people who had walked or stood on escalators or taken elevators were congregated on six.
This was an unacceptable situation. I can be a take-charge kind of guy when circumstances warrant it, so I went back down to customer service on one. I confronted the attendant about the announcement. What was it all about? Did they get the floor wrong?
The customer service attendant denied there had been any announcement.
I’m embarrassed to confess I lost it. I became indignant, started screaming. “I heard it distinctly! So did the others. The announcement was, ‘Attention Skiles’ shoppers. For the next hour only, we’re offering an additional 20% reduction on all permanent markdowns on the seventh floor. Please proceed to the seventh floor for additional savings.’”
The customer service attendant said, “But this isn’t Skiles’, this is Skoal’s. Skiles’ is across the street! And besides, we only have six floors.”
The Parable of the Three Blind Men and a Substance
The elders came upon a hitherto unknown substance and consulted the wisest men of the realm, three blind men. The first blind man said it was a solid. “No, it’s a liquid,” said the second blind man. “It’s a gas!” the third exclaimed.
The third blind man was Ray Charles.
Peter Cherches is a longtime friend of the macabre. He writes from New York City.