Friday Fast Fiction: The Store That Never Closes


BevMo - CopyGregory grew up near a general store known as “the store that never closes.” It was a one-story structure without a name, or hours posted on the front. Everybody in the neighborhood simply knew it was there and regardless of the time, they could get what they needed.

A husband and wife ran it, refugees from Hungary, or so Gregory was told by his parents. The man was burly and bald. Whenever Gregory handed him a dime for a soda or candy, he couldn’t help but stare at the shiny head. The wife avoided talking to customers. In his high school years, he sometimes saw a blonde girl sweeping the wood floors.

When Gregory turned 21, he moved away and forgot the nameless store. Ten years later he visited his parents for the first time in several years. He didn’t expect the general store to be in business—not much of the town was as he remembered. When he drove by it, the front door was open, but there was still no sign.

He parked and walked in, hoping to see comics and candy; instead, he was greeted by round tables and coffee drinkers. A pretty young woman wearing an apron said, “Hi, I’m Ava.”

“Wasn’t this a general store?”

“Yes.”

“There still isn’t a name on the front.”

“My father didn’t like signs—he believed neighbors would know what was inside.”

Gregory sat down and drank coffee for the next four hours. When he and Ava got married a year later, invitations were unnecessary.

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