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Not If, When

In Long Short Story by Beth Weeks

I first met Caleb Allen at the twenty-four-hour Kroger where he stocked shelves third shift. He was only twenty-one and had failed out of college the year before because he found it beneath him and told me “the services rendered were not worth the costs incurred.” I was an insomniac, and near nightly went to Kroger at three in the morning to meander among the concentrated fruit juices and cans of condensed soup, under fluorescent lights that tricked me into believing I should be awake anyway. I often found Caleb on his knees, deftly tugging items to the front of the shelf, face-forward, while he sang old blues songs and occasionally broke into bursts of air trumpet. He was the only living thing in a dead place.

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