Outside Wal-Mart, the sidewalk was sloppy with wet Milk Duds and tears, the sky about to split.
"Again? Don't worry, sweetie, we'll get you another ice cream cone." She was trying to reassure last week's empty napkin, failing entirely to grasp the present.
Tears dripped steadily from the crushed carton, their salt a brief costume sugar ball for the swarming ants.
The concrete was cooling. I had to get it out now. I rubbed my ring, blew my nose, and tried to spit.
"You're stepping on my..."
A shoulder-tap turned me around. An aproned greeter eclipsed his toothless grin with a mountained cone, the wrinkled valleys of one hand running with chocolate, the other with vanilla.
"I saw what happened," he began, smooshing a pile of Milk Duds under his loafer and orbiting my head with the planet-sized cone.
Frustrated, I tried to wave him away, but he just waved back.
The Least Successful Collector
Betsy Baker played a central role in the history of collecting. She
was employed as a servant in the house of John Warburton (1682-1759) who had
amassed a fine collection of 58 first edition plays, including most of the
works of Shakespeare.
One day Warburton returned home to find 55 of them charred beyond
legibility. Betsy had either burned them or used them as pie bottoms. The
remaining three folios are now in the British Museum.
The only comparable literary figure was the maid who in 1835 burned
the manuscript of the first volume of Thomas Carlyle's "The Hisory of the
French Revolution", thinking it was wastepaper.
-- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
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