(they/them) Pt. 1 by Jocelyn Ting

Kenny runs a bookstore.
They plop their keys in the drawer, shove off their sneakers and rub their glasses on their protruding breast pocket, scrunching their nose for a closer look. There are bubble stains from the rain.  Failing to feel the dust-gathering cloth in their manual investigation under the counter, Kenny blinks and replaces their spectacles. The rims rest against cloudy brunette eyes, drooping slightly like broad oak doors on cheap, transplanted hinges.
Determined to make the most of a diluted start to the day (rain always makes the bones shudder), Kenny wriggles their feet into the shoes left by the Christmas party elves last winter. “Hehe, warmmm”, swaying they hug themselves and twirl blowing a kiss at the money fountain, the winding staircase, the festering books. Rejuvenated, they pull off the slippers, bring them lovingly to their cheeks, and place them back in their hatbox.
They survey their kingdom, overwhelmed with all the nothingness to be done. The proverbial cuckoo clocks squawks 1 pm, disturbing the dust haze.  Kenny flips the hanging tavern sign to open and flickers on the neon lights.
Young brunchers start to trickle in, heavy, cocooned in their midday nap. Perusing is today’s Hot! New! Dance! and they must grasp the moves quickly. Arms lift, heads cock to an intrigued angle, the frills of one’s scarf quivers as he takes a quick glance down to the left to see what his neighbor is doing. Kenny beams at the fullness of it all, the quiet milling. People come up to them and ask if they may take from the bowl on the counter. Of course! Take as much as you like! Kenny knew the sweets would be good for business if not for their customer’s gums.

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