otp: three quarters

VII. Three Quarters

I walked into a store the other day and confronted the shopkeeper about the price of his merchandise, a particular item. I asked him why the headband was more expensive here than at the other store. I asked him what the difference was, and that I had tried both but couldn’t tell; a feign of ignorance as bait. No, I had not seen either. My sole intention was bent on getting him to tell the truth. He told me that the material he used was of finer quality, owing to the fact that his fabric was weaved thicker and the color was brighter.

He gave me a bull shit answer, I could tell because he made too many hand movements. They moved off and on the counter top several times, occasionally tapping his fingers on the glass in between. While he sputtered out his answer not once did he look at me. Instead, he caressed the headband; I felt as though I should have left them to their own devices.

But, I called him on it. Now he was agitated that I wasn’t convinced.

I know that feeling. The audience knows you’re wrong but you continue to act out your lie in vain, all the while slowly figuring out that the audience knows. Once you do the sinking feeling sets in, your innards melt, the stage collapses. A nervous shiver and the goosebumps flair up. The need to lie sets in, a cover up of the farce is the finishing blow.

He tried to correct himself about mistaking the item in his hand with a different one, one of better quality, obviously. I played along, which made him noticeably more comfortable. The game renewed itself, as it must. I accept, he continues. Now he told the truth. He equaled my stare, released the headband, and relaxed himself.

I was done. I said thank you and left.