And now, the third and final installment of “The Grey Grocer”. Hang on to your hat.
Mr. Greg’s eyes rolled around in their wet sockets and eventually locked in on Phil. Phil sucked in a deep breath and managed to stand up just as Mr. Greg’s mouth formed the word “Dogs!”
“Dogs in the store!” he said as he rose up to reveal a squashed bottle of raspberry syrup.
“I…I’m sorry, Mr. Greg,” said the shabby man holding the empty package of meat.
Phil spun to look at the man who only moments ago seemed so menacing. The man held up dirty hands, palms out in an apologetic pose.
“Really, Mr. Greg,” mumbled the man. “I live alone and the dogs just kind of came with me. You need to get a door that doesn’t open automatically. I only needed bread. I… I’ll pay for this mess, but you’ll have to wait a while. I don’t make much…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” shouted Mr. Gregg, raspberry syrup soaking the back of his white shirt and khaki pants. “We’ll talk about all that when we get your mongrels all rounded up.”
Just as Mr. Greg said “rounded” that is just what a group of three medium sized dogs did. They came wagging their tails and panting down aisle 8, one of them stopping to lap up the syrup and the other two running to their unwashed master. He grabbed the collars of two of them and then called the other. Strangely, the dogs did not bark or make any other sound, but all looked the same as if from the same breed.
“Mr. Dobbs and his stupid Basenji’s,” grumbled Mr. Greg.
Mr. Dobbs shuffled past the two dazed grocery store workers smiling apologetically, nodding his head at them. He went toward the front of the store and then stopped dead in his tracks.
“Um, Mr. Greg,” stammered Mr. Dobbs. “Have you looked outside?”
“Yeah, yeah yeah,” growled Mr. Greg. “It’s probably three feet of snow out there and…” Mr. Greg stopped speaking mid-sentence and stared out the large pane glass windows of the grocery store. Phil slowly shuffled over to stand next to Mr. Greg and the bewildered Mr. Dobbs as they stared outside.
It was not snow that they marveled at that December evening, but as to why the landscape outside the store had suddenly changed to what looked like a vast sandy desert bathed in the moonlight of two crescent moons.