Chapter 20

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The little bell announced Abby as she left the sunlit street and entered the shadows of the village liquor store.  Though Abby had been in this store many times before today her stomach was knotted and the store had an odor that tasted bad on the back of her throat.  Dennis was working the register today.  He sat on a stool doing a crossword puzzle.  A little black and white TV sitting at the end of the counter was turned to an old movie, or the movie was black and white and the TV was color, Abby was not sure.  Either way Dennis’s eyes did not leave the puzzle.  Like any good counter worker though Dennis was well aware that Abby had come into the store.

“I heard you were back,” said Dennis.  “Your Dad said you’re here for a visit.”

“He did, did he?  Yeah, I’m here for a week or two.  Has he been in today?”

“Not yet, I expect him round supper.”

Abby wanted to look like she had come in with a purpose.  She paused and looked around the store.  She took her hands out of her pockets and picked up a bottle of brandy near the end of the aisle.

“That’s not the one,” said Dennis.

“Excuse me.”  Abby looked up at Dennis.  His eyes were still fixed on his crossword.

“That’s not the one.  That’s not the elixir,” said Dennis.  “It’s the one next to it.”

“The elixir?” asked Abby.

“That what he call’s it, but that’s not the one, he likes the brand next to it.”  Dennis pointed the eraser of his pencil to the row of ginger brandy.

“Oh right,” said Abby picking up a bottle of ginger brandy, “here it is, his elixir.”  She walked toward the counter examining at the bottle.

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