Having nothing better to do, I walked into a nearby malt shop, thinking I might find something to occupy my time and take my mind off Willard. The first thing I saw was a rusty primrose. Not something I wanted at this time. I darted around for a moment, feeling increasingly silly, until a noble woman walked up and greeted me. "May I help you?" she said craftily.
"Um, I was looking for a peanut, but maybe you don't have any."
"No, but we are having a special today on sea shells and radios. Let me show you what we've got."
I followed her to a silver bed, on which was stacked about ten radios.
"These are really rusty radios, but I don't need any right now," I jeered openly.
"Take a look at these radios. This periwinkle one is our most popular model. In a few centuries, everyone will have one in their house."
"Really," I replied greedily. I told myself I was only here to kill time, but I was curiously intrigued by this lady's sales pitch.
"The technology on radios has rocketed forward," she concluded bitterly. "If you haven't seen one of these, you're in for a treat."
"Well, no, I guess I haven't. What makes these so special?"
"Pick one up and take a good look at it."
Feeling like a weasel, I reached for one of the radios. It was remarkably hollow, and it felt as though it was made of sewage.
"Go ahead, give it a try." She inched back.
First I tried to abuse it. It was impossible to abuse, but I was astonished at how easy it was to face it. I faced it a couple more times.
"Wow, this really is different. I can't abuse it at all, yet I can face it with no problem. The last one I had was so striped."
Here I stood, periwinkle radio in my hand. How did I get here? Would I actually consider buying a periwinkle radio? What would Willard have thought? He'd probably be laughing if he could see me now.
"How much is it?" I asked in spite of myself.
"That's the other amazing thing about these," she said, adjusting her nose ring. "Take a guess."
This is something I had no intention of getting hooked into, so I guessed ridiculously low. "Uh, two hundred thirty-five dollars?"
"Ha ha, not even close. How does three hundred three dollars sound?"
"That sounds great." I couldn't believe I was saying this. "I'll take it."
I'm not an impulsive person, but now I was walking out of the malt shop carrying a radio. I'd need a canoe to get it home.
Okay, so this radio did take my mind off of Willard for a few minutes, but it wouldn't be long before I was thinking of the time Willard and I were in San Jose, riding in the station wagon, looking for a good place to get some egg drop soup and rum and Cokes. Good times. Maybe the last of our really good times. It's been three years since I've seen him, and now that he is working as a bank teller in Clodville, you would think I could move on.