Saturday, June 2, 2018

Fiction: The Vintage Shopkeep - A Short Story by Jason MacKenzie

The Vintage Shopkeep

A Short Story by...
Jason MacKenzie

   Enrico John Wilmont lived in the last rung of civilization in North America, you may not be familiar with this place but it's where the hobo's and the homeless live. This is the last place in the world where people still live in houses and apartments. In fact, Enrico himself had lived outdoors several times but these days he was raising a family.

   "It's hard raising a family these days." Enrico thought to himself. "Everyone is having a hard time getting along." Enrico was, as usual out talking to himself in the back yard.

   Enrico didn't actually know what that meant he was just repeating what other people said but when he said things like that he seemed to fit it with the people around him.

   He was fifty five years old now and barely worked a day in his life, mostly living in poverty with the other almost homeless.  These days he was attempting to raise a family and keep living in doors.

  These days he spend most of his time walking around in the back yard talking to himself and playing with old junk.
   It was on a hot summer day out in the back yard that it came to him..."I'm not just going to keep sitting here with nothing my whole life, I'm going to live my dream."

  Enrico was going to become a personal shopper for the rich and famous.

   "My life is going to be great when I become a personal shopper for the rich and famous, then I will just hold their money for them and deliver stuff to them when they need it." he said to himself.

 It wasn't long before everyone in the neighborhood knew that Enrico was planning to become a personal shopper for the rich and famous. In fact, Enrico was the main source of information for all the village idiots to find out what was popular.

  Enrico spent most of his time out in the backyard and talking to himself then he went around telling all the village idiots what was popular. To them, Enrico was big shot. Now Enrico was going to become a personal shopper for the rich and famous and then everyone else would know too what the village idiots did already.

  It was that Enrico was super important, now everyone in town was going to find out.

One day while milling around out in the back yard two guys from the neighborhood came over.

"Hey Enrico, when are you starting that new job?" one guy said.     

"Working on it." he replied.

"Oh yeah." the guy responded.

"How are you going to become a personal shopper anyway?" the second guy questioned him.

Enrico glared at him sarcastically and with disdain, "he should know this already" he thought to himself.

"I'm gonna open a vintage clothing store." Enrico answered.

"oh yeah." the first guy responded. "How you gonna do that?" he questioned.

 "I have my ways."  Enrico replied.

"How is a vintage clothing store going to make you a personal shopper for famous people anyway?" the second guy asked.

"Easy." Enrico answered. "When people come into the store and meet me I will offer them my rewards package and when word gets around about how great it is famous people will hire me to shop for them." he said.

"Oh yea, that's a pretty big plan there Enrico." the first guy replied to him.

"Yea Enrico, what's your store going to be called?" the second guy questioned.

"Wine and Clothing." Enrico answered.

"Wine and clothing?" the guys asked together.

"What does that mean?" the first guy asked.

"The clothing is vintage like a fine wine that gets better with age. Do you get it? It means vintage clothing." Enrico explained.

"What are you talking about?" the first guy asked him.

"The clothing store, it's called Wine and Clothing."

 "I don't get it." the second guy said.

"Yeah Enrico, are you opening a wine store?" the first guy said.

"No." answered Enrico, "It's just clothes, but instead of vintage it's called wine like the clothes are an aged wine." he finished.

"Don't you think that's a little complicated?" the first guy said.

"yeah." the second guy said "shoulnd't you be a little clearer in the name?"

 "No." Enrico answered. "That's to show that it's not just another used clothing store. It's vintage clothes, so instead of saying Vintage Clothes, I'm saying Wine and Clothes then if you're upper class then you'll get it that the clothes I sell are actually like vintage wine, they get better with age. In fact, they are probably better than new." he explained.

 "Hahahahahahahaha." both guys burst out laughing.

"Then I am offering a rewards program at the store like a club card and I also offer personal shopping. The name Wine and Clothes is to attract an upper class customer base." he concluded.

"Hahahahahahahaha." the two guys almost died laughing.

"Are you fucking joking or what?" the first guy asked.

"No one's going to shop there are you retarded?" the second guy asked.

"No." answered Enrico, "I have it all figured out, my research has shown that upper class people want a store like this to shop at. Then they always need people to help them get their stuff and manage their shopping list." he told them.

"What research?" the first guy asked "All you do is sit around in the backyard all day." he finished.

"I do it at night on the internet." he answered.

"oh yea, when's you're store opening then Enrico?" they both asked him.

"Probably in a few months." he told them.

"Sure there Enrico, let us know when you're store's opening." the first guy told him.

"No problem, make sure you come in to get your clothes there. By the way, you're not in need of a personal shopper are you because I'm in the personal shopping business?" he asked them.

"Uh, no thanks. I do my own shopping." they both agreed to each other and left.

"They'll be down here looking for free clothes in two minutes as soon as I open." he rewarded himself.

"Honey..." he yelled to his wife , "yes" she repilied. "Can you go get my think pad I just landed a couple customers for my store and want to put it in my ledger." he told her.

"Just a sec dear, I'll go get it." she told him.

 Enrico knew that this was going to be big, he was the only personal shopper for rich and famous people in the entire area.

    Several months later to everyone's surprise Enrico's store opened. Wine and Clothes was a used clothing store just like any other, perhaps more limited. To Enrico it carried the best Vintage clothes in the market.

Working a full time job running a used clothing store was much harder than Enrico expected plus he had a hard time keeping up with the cleaning and maintenance.

On top of that he was making no money because no one was shopping there and his small government loan was running out fast in inventory and rent payments.

Enrico sat in his store alone sweating in the heat and smell of old musty clothes, occasionally someone stopped in and looked around but didn't buy anything. 

Wine and Clothes wasn't doing well at all. Most people just came in to see what was in the store and then left.

Enrico was using his personal shopper and rewards program sales pitch on everyone in town but no one seemed to want to use his services.

"Excuse me miss?" Enrico said to a woman in front of his store one day "Would you be interested in having a personal shopper because if you are I can come over to your house later and start working on your shopping list for you. All I need is a small fee and access to your kitchen and needs to get started right away. Plus, I offer reward points. The more you use me the more you save." he asked her.

"No thanks." she replied "I have to go now." she told him and walked away.

"No one wants my services." he said to himself.

Enrico was used to being out in the back yard and began  standing out in front of the store all the time looking for customers.

He continually stopped people on the street and gave them his sales pitch.

One day a man looked in the window, "You know if you're interested in Vintage Clothes that I can come over to your house later and go through your needs with you. Then all you need to do is give me access to your house and leave several hundred dollars in my bank account and then I will shop for you and deliver the clothes to you automatically, plus I offer reward points." he told him.

"What?" the man said.

 "I can be your personal shopper for a small fee, but you have to leave money in my bank account and give me access to your house so I can keep your closets full of vintage clothes, then when you check your closet there will be new stuff for you right in your bedroom based on your chosen preferences that you select from the rewards program. I will also need access to your kitchen and offer a full list of shopping services including food and bathroom needs."

"uh, no thanks." the guy said and walked away.

Enrico was frustrated. No one was shopping in his store and he had yet to land a single personal shopping customer. He had given everyone in town his personal shopping sales pitch but no one was coming to his store.

He couldn't understand why no one wanted a personal shopper, plus expenses were piling up fast. Enrico was trying to stay open long enough to land that one big customer like a celebrity or something but it wasn't happening fast enough.

Enrico thought he might get a cup and start bumming change in front of the store for extra money but he thought this might look unprofessional.

Instead he got someone form his neighborhood to do it for him and split the money they bummed.

"You sit out in front of the store and bum change and then we'll split it, if I get any customers I'll hire you to work in the store." he told the guy.

"No problem, I'll get right to work." the guy told him.

While they were out in front of the store a couple was walking by on the other side of the street.

"I thought that guy was the decapitated body they found at the homeless shelter." the woman said to her husband.

"No." he replied "That's the personal shopper guy that tries to follow you home and get in your house if you talk to him. Don't make eye contact!" he told her.

She looked at him sideways out of the corner of her eye and tried not to make eye contact.

"That is the most terrible man I have ever seen in my life." she told her husband and they kept walking.

After several long hot hours in the sun the guy out front came into the store.

"How much money did we get?" Enrico asked him.

"$2.80" he replied.

"Almost enough for two coffee's." he explained. "Run down to the coffee shop and pick them up, I'll cover the difference." he told him.

"No problem, I could use a coffee." he said "Never had coffee from a restaurant in while." he told him.

The guy ran to the coffee shop.

"Things aren't working out the way I thought they would." Enrico said to himself in front of the store. "and time's moving fast, somehow I gotta get that big deal. If this was a movie it woulda worked out by now." he told himself.

"What do you have to do around here anyway to become a personal shopper for the rich and famous." he said out loud and then went back inside to wait for his coffee.

Enrico's store didn't last long and people didn't hear much about him after his attempt at becoming a personal shopper for the rich and famous, but word has it that he wasn't that dead body they found down by the rail road tracks.


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