A Damaged ShirtThe dry cleaner hung the damaged silk shirt neatly on one of the wooden hangers in the front window. The ceremonies of earnings and loss, profit and disaster were commonly regarded as a normal function of the dry cleaning business. A dollar earned, he thought as he surveyed the torn silk garment. Better to be humble in the face of damaged goods he thought. Mr. Favor was a Knit picker literally and he would be angry.
The stores loudspeakers played a pleasant cascade of classical music; he had turned the station from the rockin oldies to a classical channel with the expectation of Mr. Favors anger.
The dry cleaner kept busy arranging and hanging cloths up on paper and wooden hangers. He had quite a few customers but none were like Favor. As the hour drew near, the cleaner became nervous with a throbbing fear, a resonant ache in the pit of his stomach. Favor would arrive soon. He imagined his rebuke, “He could kill me.” he said in a shaky whisper. He could hear the second hand ticking on the big wall clock; had to be consoling he thought, calm and easy.
The clock read 1:59 P.M., only a minute away, Favor was always punctual. The cleaner read the blue neon sign beneath the clock,
“NOT RESPONSIBLE FORHe would point to the sign and explain the policy.
Two P.M., the front door rattled and the string of bells on the door handle tinkled violently. Favor stepped through the door and screamed,
“Where’s my shirt?” The cleaner pointed to the rack in the window as tears welled up in his eyes. Favor yanked the pile of cloths apart and grabbed his shirt. There was a moment of silent breath, the seconds before a storm, calm and easy. Favor grinned malevolently, It’s torn.” he said matter of factly. The dry cleaner began the speech he had practiced………,” it’s our policy…….” he paused in mid sentence as Favors mouth opened wide, wider than humanly possible, the expanse of deserts and flame, wicked perfume and darkness, unhinged enormous his mouth elongated and stretched to freakish proportions, from head to toe, all teeth and mouth. The line of his lips was a trail of spittle as his mouth gaped to a six foot chasm; thorns and briar and fire, a conflagration in the midst of hell. The cleaner yielded to the gaping pit with a screech as Favor swallowed him whole in a great gulping spasm.
Favors mouth closed and he pressed back through the front door with his damaged shirt.
The day wore on and the dry cleaners business saw a number of bewildered customers , “Where is he?” one of them questioned. “The sign on the door says, OUT TO LUNCH” the other responded sneaking her new dress off the rack and out the door of the dry cleaners.