The Magic of Sixteen

The Magic of Sixteen

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Genre: Flash Fiction

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Genre: Flash Fiction

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Submitted: May 13, 2017

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Submitted: May 13, 2017

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A few days ago I had unwillingly been made part of a conversation I don’t recall much of now yet the strangeness of it remains with me still. I had popped into a store to get juice where a woman, her daughter, their puppy, and the counter boy were engrossed in, what seemed like, one of their daily debates. I remember that I heard them discussing the mannerisms of a few out of sort people they knew. Their puppy had casually wandered up to me looking as if asking me a question. I looked back at the row of juices in front of me. Why I didn’t just pick one up and move off is beyond me. But suddenly what juice I got seemed like the most defining moment of my life. Everything was at stake. Choices, choices. I knew intrinsically that I had to make this one decision for and by myself. The rest of my life depended upon getting the juice right. This juice right. In the end I chose the pomegranate.
I walked up to the counter with the juice in one hand and that’s when I got sucked into the ongoing dialogue. The woman asked me if I thought her daughter looked meek, vain, and stupid. I thought it was rude of her but the daughter too stared at me waiting for the answer. I said she looked a little sheepish but wouldn’t go as far as to call her meek (maybe tender was more about it). The daughter laughed at this and the counter boy slapped his palm hard on the counter. I just wanted to get out with my life changing juice after that but the woman picked up the puppy and put him in my arms.
“What about Cracker here then? Would you say he looks more or less sheepish than my daughter over there?”
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I pretended to examine both of them my mind still with the juice and its implications. I mumbled that I could see some similarities in the way they held their eyes. The woman looked as if that had settled the matter and by her air of superiority I guess it was just the kind of remark she had been looking for.  I thought she must be a deranged woman to be subjecting her daughter AND her puppy to such harsh criticism and felt grateful for my own mother who tried always to see the best in all. Curiously the daughter looked like she was the one having more fun.
I was just about to move off with my purchase when another question stopped me. It was the daughter this time.
“You really think that juice is going to change your life for you?”
I was speechless. Did she have the ability to read minds? How could she have known the exact thing that had been running through my mind? She walked over to me nice and slow and took the carton of juice out of my hand. In a couple of minutes she had poured the juice in five plastic cups along with a few ice cubes. The mother toasted “to the life changers” and we all drank. It was cold and tingled on my tongue for a while. Cracker had lapped his up before any of the rest of us had our third sip.
“I think you made the right choice here” someone remarked.
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I was puzzled and curious. It DID feel like my life was changing right here right now with some of the juice in my hands and some on my tongue. So we toasted another time, and then another, until we had drained the five gallon carton of the red, red, RED juice. It was wonderful.
I walked out and back into the car and looked at myself in the mirror. Had I just walked out of a dream? Had I woken up from my slumber? I turned the key in the ignition.
“What took so long?” my sleepy friend asked from the seat beside me. He opened his eyes. “And where’s the juice?” I turned to him not knowing what to tell him. “When are you going to get the juice I’m thirsty?” he looked annoyed.
“I’ll go and get it now” I said and walked out of the car into the store in front of the refrigerator full of the different choice of juice. And a puppy walked up to me.


© Copyright 2017 Jay Bee. All rights reserved.

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