Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)
TITLE: The Shopping Rhino
By william price
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“One o’clock, lunchtime is over.” He silenced the alarm and placed the uneaten half of sandwich on top of an opened bible he had been reading.
Wilson’s office was in the rear of his jewelry store. He was about to make his way to the storefront when his clerk’s voice screeched over the intercom.
“Mr. Goldberg, you better get out here quick.”
“I’m coming, Robin. Is everything okay?”
“You just need to get out here, Boss.”
Wilson quickly marched toward the lobby of his store where Robin stood pointing at the front door. He turned his gaze to the entrance. A grin slowly crept across his face as a tear formed in his right eye.
“Mr. Goldberg! What are you smiling at? There’s a Rhinoceros at the front door.”
Wilson’s voice was calm and clear.
“Robin, you didn’t call anybody, did you?”
“No, sir, I was kind of freaked out.”
“Good, stand back please.”
“Mr. Goldberg, what do you think you are doing?”
Wilson walked to the entrance where he slowly opened the double glass doors and allowed the rhino to enter. There was a crowd of people standing across the street. Wilson waved at them before closing the front doors.
Once inside, the Monoceros tilted its large horn and nose up in the air. Robin jumped up on the counter next to the cash register.
“Mr. Goldberg, I think we need to contact somebody.”
“Don’t worry Robin; it’s not here to hurt anyone.”
The gray beast made its way to the back of the store. The one-ton herbivore slowly bulldozed through Wilson’s office door, ripping the frame from the wall. At Wilson’s desk, the rhino incredibly ate the half sandwich off the Bible.
“Amazing, God. You’re awesome.” Wilson smiled.
When the rhino was finished eating, it turned around and walked back out into the storefront where Robin hid behind four policemen she had let in.
“Mr. Goldberg,” spoke an officer with sergeant stripes on his shirtsleeve. “You need to stay away from the animal. It wandered from a zoo transport vehicle involved in an accident down the street. It might be disorientated. Zoo officials are coming.”
“I’m not afraid, officer. This rhino isn’t lost. It’s shopping for my wife.”
The sergeant looked confused. Robin whispered in his ear.
“Mr. Wilson’s wife died a year ago. He hasn’t been quite right since.”
The armored-beast began moving from one showcase to the other and stopped at the wristwatch display. With one effortless thrust of its horn, the rhino broke the glass. When the animal turned back toward Wilson, a gold watch hung on the end of its horn.
“Mr. Goldberg, you may want to stand away.” The sergeant unsnapped his gun holster.
The rhino and Wilson approached each other and stopped. The widower slowly reached out and removed the watch from the shopper’s horn. He held the diamond studded gold piece of jewelry against his heart and spoke to the beast.
“Pauline had wanted to buy me this very watch a year ago for our twenty-fourth. Did you know, on our very first anniversary, all we could afford to eat was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?”
Wilson thought he saw the rhino wink its left eye as it turned and started to walk toward the front doors. The officers gave it a wide berth. Outside, zoo keepers had arrived with a large transport vehicle. The rhino walked up the ramp and disappeared into the darkness of its interior.
“Are you going to be all right, Mr. Goldberg?” The sergeant asked.
“Oh yes, sir. Did you know my wife had collected porcelin animal figures? I was going to buy her a hand-painted rhinoceros, but she died in a car accident before I had the chance.”
After everyone cleared out of the store, Wilson locked the front doors and watched the zoo keepers drive away. When he returned to his office, the alarm on his new timepiece began to beep. He looked at it and smiled. It was two o’clock, the same hour he and his wife, Pauline, were married 25 years before. Wilson refocused his attention to his jam stained bible.
Surely, death has been swallowed with victory and my sorrow for today has been turned to joy.
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