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Ben Miller

#153 - Tiny Tales of Mayhem...

The morning I needed the coffee cake I went to Harrison Market and
found it had closed for good. On the soaped front door, in black magic marker,
was the phrase BECAUSE OF LINDA. I found this quite disturbing. I
needed the coffee cake badly but did not move on. Hammering came from
inside. The buzz of table saws. BECAUSE OF LINDA. The phrase words had
a dark ages stink. BECAUSE OF LINDA. A financial decision based on
discernible economic data was one thing. I could understand and even accept
the fact that the new A&R with the Super Deli, just three blocks away, had
been too much for this old store with its wooden floors and wicker baskets.
Times change and stores do too. One may not like it but it was, in some sense,
natural. The annihilation of neighborhood tradition by a single individual was
another matter. BECAUSE OF LINDA. Meaningless graffiti, probably. But
what if it wasn't? The letters were block and adamant. What if there was some
Linda, a horrid woman with bats on her breath and returnables in her hair, a
monstrosity who had done something so awful in aisle three, made such a vile
mess, that the cost of clean up had driven an already teetering business over
the edge? I had not heard of mention of any such a person but, of course, the
owners would not mention her. The shame would be too much. Not to have
been broken by an honest competitor but by a complete stranger, not by
volume discount but by gunk on the floor!! It was easier to shrug and blame it
on the A&R. While she returned to the sour hotel room and began planning
the next apocalypse, craning over a diagram of Sid's Diner, chewing that box
of King Edward cigars.

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