I park my five-speed and walk up the tired wooden steps of the general store. The dog snoozing on the porch acknowledges me with a perked ear and single tail wag. I wrap my finger around the little metal handle on the screen door and pull. It staggers open. I step inside, taking in the overwhelming smell of old books, flour, and cardboard.
The "hello" I glance towards the register is met with a friendly nod. "Hi, sweetie," my mom says. "How's your day going?"
I walk towards the back of the store to the protests of hardwood under my feet. To my right, the frosted doors of the drink cooler; the rainbow of popsicles in the freezer. To my left, fuzzy peach candy and ketchup chips. I ponder what will earn my allowance this week.
Along the back wall is a small set of warped shelves full of VHS movies. The familiar names stick out: Big; Field of Dreams; Ace Ventura; Batman. I glance up at the shelf just out of reach. Schwarzenegger's dark glasses and cold red eye stare back. Hellraiser's grimace inclines me to look back down. I'm not ready.
I walk back to the front of the store, detouring through the snack aisle. I grab a bag of Hickory Sticks and measure three gummy worms out of their fishbowl container.
I spread my haul on the counter. The register clicks and grinds as it figures what I owe. I have just enough left over for a can of Dr. Pepper.
The screen door snaps closed as I hop down the steps. I saddle my bike and pedal along the packed dirt road towards home.