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Sweet as Candy: A Novel in Verse

By @Madison


It seems my lie about having a cold has jinxed me. Apparently, Izzy actually has one

Standing in my bedroom doorway in the early hours of the morning

With a red nose and hoarse voice.

“Sorry to wake you,” she says.

“But I’m really sick. Would you mind running to the store for me? I’ve gotta call my client to tell her I won’t be there today.”

Eager to push my current dilemma out of my mind

I accepted

Rousing myself and taking her list

Which consisted of NyQuil, Vaporub, saltines, and Coke.

With that, I wind up at Culpepper’s once again Walking through the doors with my head down.

“Welcome to Culpepper’s!”

I turn around to see the same cashier from yesterday smiling at me from behind the cash register.

Oh, no.

I almost walk out right then

Before pulling it together.

I lift my chin to the air

Determined to get the things on the list and then leave

Simple as that.


Why should I care what some random drugstore cashier thinks of me?

So I walk with an exaggerated confident gait First to the cold meds aisle

Then the snacks Before making a beeline for the register To meet the cashier.

Once again, he smiles politely

Displaying two rows of slightly crooked pearly whites.

He has a nice smile

The type that some might find goofily endearing.

It’s a smile I’m not quite sure I can believe.

“Find everything okay?” he asks as he runs the Saltines over the scanner.

I nod

Keeping my lips in a perfectly straight, unexpressive line.

He nods back

My wordless response apparently being all that he needed.

“Great,” he continues

His voice ever-so-chipper.

I don’t offer him a response to this, either

Looking down at the green apron draped over his thin shoulders.

Levi, his name tag reads.

He scans the last item

Stuffs my purchases into two plastic bags

Before handing them to me

Along with the receipt.

“$13.95,” he says.

For the first time since I walked through the door

His amber eyes meet mine.

Much to my horror

He freezes.

“Hey,” he says

Drawing the word out for a nerve-wrackingly long time

Causing every hair on my body to stand on end.

“Weren’t you here yesterday?”

My brain kicks into high gear

Telling me to reply with a ‘wouldn’t you like to go to H-e-l-l?’

I would go through with this

If a little old lady didn’t just step into line behind me.

Thus, I remain motionless

My tongue feeling as if it were stuck to the bottom of my mouth

Coated in molasses.

Levi doesn’t seem to notice my hesitation

His goofy grin returning

As he lifts a bag from behind the counter.

“You forgot these.”

A flash of orange shines through the transparent plastic.

Miniature tangerines.

Of course.

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