The Incense Salesman
‘Oh no…’ Liam thinks to himself from the back seat as his mom’s car rolls to a stop in the driveway. ‘He’s out there again. He’s not gonna let me keep Being Liam.’
Liam’s dad waves to his wife and son with a smile on his face, then gets right back to work.
“I’mnotgonnahelphim…” Liam mumbles to himself, stroking the camera in his lap as though it is a cat.
“What a great idea, Liam!” whistles Liam’s mom who clearly has cotton swabs stuffed in her earholes. “I’m sure your father will appreciate you helping him.” She gets out of the car before Liam can protest and heads inside to get Liam’s bedding washed. She’s not sure why Liam is still wetting the bed at fourteen years old, but lots of other kids probably do. Their mothers are probably just as mortified about it as she is, that’s why none of them will admit it whenever she brings it up at the weekly book club.
When his mom goes inside, Liam releases a groan the likes of which a mother bison giving birth couldn’t even manage. He gets no sympathy from the interior of the vehicle. Leaving his precious camcorder underneath the back seat (so no hoodlums can steal it while he’s out working), Liam pours himself out of the car and drags his feet over to the edge of their front yard where the grass turns to forest. His dad is working with some five-gallon pails. Liam leaves a clear set of tracks in the grass behind him.
“Hidad…” Liam mumbles, his lips hardly moving at all.
“Well hey there, sport! Come to give your ol’ dad a helping hand?”
“Iguess…” Liam mumbles, wishing he had just kept his big mouth shut so he could get his new video online and play his video games.
“I appreciate that, buddy! So look,” as he gestures to the pails and the stream of river rocks running parallel to the road. “These have been over here since we moved in, and they just drive me and your mother insane. I’m gonna use them to build a pond with a little river and a waterfall in the backyard, but we have to move ‘em all back there first.” He stands up and slaps some of the mud off the knees of his work jeans. “One bucket’s already full, I’m gonna carry it yonder. They’re probably too heavy for you, so you just fill ‘em on up with the smooth rocks – don’t worry about the jagged ones, you can just leave ‘em or toss ‘em off into the woods or somethin’ – and I’ll be the ferry. Does that sound good?”
Liam doesn’t confirm nor deny this, he just starts picking the smooth rocks out of the muddy gully and limply tossing them into the empty pail. It’s hard, but his dad manages to smile.
“Thank you, son. Be right back!”
After thirty seconds, Liam thinks to himself, ‘Wow, it’s a lot harder to move rocks in real life than it is in video games,’ but he keeps on plugging along. Because he’s Liam, because he’s Being Liam, and so he’s gonna give it his best shot, whatever he’s doing. Even though it’s keeping him from uploading today’s video, he’s going to give it his best shot.
Liam and his dad get about ten buckets of rocks moved from the gully in the front yard to the pile in the backyard, then call it quits. It’s about dinner time anyway, they can get the rest of the rocks tomorrow. Or the next day, or the next day – the pond is a side project, nowhere near as important as Liam’s daily upload, so he doesn’t pay it any more thoughts after the work is done. After fishing his camera out of the car, Liam runs inside and stashes it in his room, then washes up for dinner.
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the seventh story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Be well Commons~