The Inadvertent Shopper by Kai Raine

“What do you mean, I have to?”

“You come, you buy. My store policy.”

“Stores can’t make policies like that.”

“You don’t run a store.”

“I run the grocery store on 17th!”

“You don’t run a store with a kelpie in it.”

“Yeah, I don’t think anyone but you keeps kelpies around.”

“Not kelpies. Kelpie. One. Just one.”

“Right. Still just looks like a creepy aquatic… thing to me.”

“And creepy things are in all the lakes.”

“How would I know? I’m no marine biologist. But probably. Besides, they’re always discovering new life forms on the ocean floor.”

“Kelpies aren’t in ocean. Just lakes. They like fresh water that doesn’t move.”

“Good to know.”

“You don’t believe.”

“Oh, come on: if someone walked up to you and told you that they had a kelpie, would you believe them?”

“I didn’t walk up to you. You came into my shop.”

“Yes, because it says aquatic pets on the sign. You know, you’d probably have more business if you added a ‘mythical’ somewhere on there. I mean, mermaids? Seriously?”

“You see, there.”

“They look like some sick scientist’s idea of an experiment.”

“Fine. I’ll show you kelpie.”

“Oh! It’s… wow, it didn’t look like that underwater.”

“No, stay back!”

“GAH!”

“Help me close! Kelpie is strong!”

“Yeah, thanks for the memo! It’s dragging me in by my collggggghh–

“Here, rip it! Just like that. Kelpie is very dangerous. Not for amateurs.”

“Then why did you open it, you crazy old lady? You ripped my shirt collar.”

“Thank goodness. A collar is a small price. Kelpie free on New York streets would be disaster. But it would probably die soon. I think it needs water.”

“Christ. Can I just take one of those goldfish mermaids and get out of here?”

“That will cost your watch.”

“My wa– do you not believe in money or something?”

“My watch broken. Your watch look nice.”

“Why don’t you just– oh, whatever. Here.”

“Thank you for your purchase! Have a nice day!”

 

 

Kai Raine
Kai Raine believes in the power of stories and aims to write stories that are about questioning assumptions and the status quo. Kai has published a fantasy novel, These Lies That Live Between Us, as well as several short stories in anthologies such as Suddenly Lost in Words and Denizens of Darkness. Kai is a trained biologist and cognitive scientist.

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