A smiling man* walks down the stairs, peers into the darkened windows of the copy place across the hall and turns to me to ask “What time do they open?”
"Monday." I say.
"Monday?" he asks. And now I can see him smiling.
"Monday." I say. "They’re closed Sunday."
"Well, you tell them they just lost a customer." He says, smiling.
"I can’t." I say. Also smiling.
"How come?" he asks.
"They’re closed." I say.
"You could tell them tomorrow." He suggests. Smiling.
"It’s my day off." I lie. "Besides, we have a strict policy, unless someone buys something from one of our stores, we can’t transfer each other’s messages."
He grimaces. “That’s a strange policy.”
"It helps weed out unnecessary negativity." I say. Smiling still.
"So, how do I leave them a message to let them know that I’m taking my business elsewhere?" And, I think, I really do think he’s kidding, to show off his knowledge that I am politely making fun of him.
"There’s a message service upstairs that can deliver your message." I lie. Smiling.
"Really now?" He says, also smiling.
"They charge $10 a message." I say. You know what my face is doing. "Or, you could buy a $3 comic, and I’ll throw in a message for free."
"Do you work on commission?" He asks.
"For that information, you have to buy, at least, this $1 Tintin button." I say. Anti-frowning.
"I would wish you a nice day," he says, the corners of his lips turned up in a manner indicating amusement. "but you seem to already be having one."
"It’s perpetual." I say, showing my teeth in a non-aggressive manner.
This day has been going on forever.
*- ok, I couldn’t see him smiling yet, but he walked like he was smiling