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One story a week will be published until submissions permit more frequent publications.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Standing in Line

By Larry J. Pitman

On the outside, he looked calm. On the inside, he was boiling.

He was always impatient, but never more so than when he had to stand in a line for something. In his native California, he would search for the shortest line at the supermarket, at the bank or wherever there was a line. Time standing in a line was to him time totally wasted.

Now in Peru, he had no choice.

His stomach tightened as he stood there, waiting for his turn.

They always work so slowly.

As soon as he got in the line, he drifted to another place in his head and an internal conversation began.

“This is the fifth time I´ve been here. It is just a simple recording of our marriage certificate, but then in Peru nothing like this is simple. Every time they want another paper”

“Why do they move so slowly?”

Standing there, as the minutes go slowly by, the line inching along, he begins to fantasize:

He is standing at the counter facing the clerk. The clerk looks at his documents, shakes his head and says,

“The form is not complete. Before the certificate can be approved, another paper must be supplied.“

(The fifth time… but this time it is going to be different.)

He tells the clerk, “Señor, look deeply into my eyes. Just relax. Watch the pencil go back and forth, back and forth. You are at peace. Your eyes are getting heavy. Now close your eyes slowly.“

The clerk‘s eyes closed.

“When I count one, two, three, you will open your eyes, you will smile at me, and quickly stamp the form approved. Do you understand?”

“Si, señor.”

Just then reality intrudes.

“SEÑOR! SEÑOR!” He wakes out of his daydream to find the clerk impatiently beckoning him to the counter.

The clerk takes one look at the document and says,

“This is the wrong line. Go over there.” He points to another very long line.

1 comment:

  1. The story touched my soul, really. Kindness knows no boundaries. I didn't imagine the life in Peru is so hard for so many citizens. Shame on the government.