The man walked quickly to his destination, boots crunching on the old snow. It was covered in dirt and dog piss. No one had bothered to shovel for a few days so the heaps of ice and snow were getting hard to handle. But he walked confidently, slamming his feet down over each solitary snowflake.
A few feet away sat the local bodega. It was rather large for a corner store, with groceries as well as home-goods. It was the only thing resembling a grocery store in the neighborhood. It stood out against the rundown apartments and sketchy shops. It was family-owned and a popular spot for lazing around.
The man stopped at the door of the bodega and looked inside. Usually it was full of patrons, but today is was empty. This worked to his advantage. He opened the door and the large bell rang harshly. There was a little girl behind the register. She has shiny black hair that was pulled back into braids. Her blouse was embroidered by hand but had food stains from years of hand-me-downs. She was doing her homework but looked up idly at the man. He walked deliberately down the aisles, grabbing items and shoving them under his arm. The girl turned back to her homework. She was accustomed to watching the shop while her father was busy with other things. After a few minutes the man dumped his items by the register. The girl eyed him suspiciously. He wore a black hoodie, black jeans, and large black boots. His eyes were heavy and purple. He looked as though he hadn’t slept in days.
The girl entered in the prices for items. She typed each number with care, making sure to charge the exact amount. Her little fingers punching the buttons made a louder sound than the man expected. He waited as patiently as he could.
She finished ringing him up and stuffed his items in a bag. He paid with dollar bills stained just a bit with age. He grabbed the bag almost violently and moved towards the door. A small piece of paper fell out of his pocket.
He left the bodega and the little girl came around to pick up the paper. It was a shopping list. It said:
She held the list in her hand for a second before opening the door. She saw the man a few feet away waiting at the streetlamp.
“Hey,” she called after him.
He turned around and stared at the girl. She held the piece of paper up. “You forgot the zip ties.”
The man slowly grudged back to the bodega. The little girl went behind the register and pointed out which aisle for him to look through. He found the zip ties and brought them up to the front. The girl rang them up and he paid.
For the first time in their encounter the man smiled. “Thank you for reminding me. I am having some good friends over for drinks.”
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