The Incense Salesman
Mom’s garlic kale salad and mac’n’chicken casserole are to die for tonight, just like every night she cooks them up – they are her signature dishes, after all – and Liam eats himself two helpings of each to replenish himself after all that hard work. Dad and mom get to washing the dishes and Liam carries his plate and fork to the sink to help, but then he’s right upstairs to finally do his work for the day. He helped his dad, he helped his mom, and now it’s time to help himself.
Liam rips the footage from his camera and uploads it straight to YouTube – why even bother editing it? He’s a genius, plain and simple, and every video he puts together is perfecto from the get-go; besides, it’s getting late – at this point, editing would just be wasting time.
While he’s waiting out the processing process, Liam notices a little red circle next to the bell icon in the top right corner of the screen.
“A notification…?” he wonders out loud, having never gotten one before. He clicks the bell and then, screaming at the top of his lungs, Liam announces, “SOMEONE LEFT ME A COMMENT! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” to his empty bedroom. He doesn’t even read the whole thing, but rather clicks the link and goes straight to his video to read the comment like he was a Little Liam. It’s on his seventy-third video (he keeps track in his head and remembers exactly what he did for every one of his videos, a sign of genius), a clip of him going to a park and watching other kids fly kites. The comment, from a user named Smells, reads:
Kool vidoe! Wanma b3 YouToob frienbs?
“Awh,” Liam says to himself, “he must be a challenged Little Liam who doesn’t know how to spell right. He’s putting himself out there just like I’m doing with my Being Liam videos, that’s so wholesome!” Not knowing how right he is, Liam replies back:
Yeah, let’s be YouTube friends! I’ll send you a message right now!
And so Liam does send this Smells a message, and to his utter and inexpressible ecstasy, he gets a reply in a matter of minutes! Being Liam and Smells go on to message each other back and forth all night, talking about memes and movies and the video games Liam wants to start recording himself playing for his channel. Their conversation continues on into the next day, then the next day, then the next day, they keep in constant communication for days that turn into days that turn into even more days. Liam keeps putting out his really great Being Liam videos every day, and although they never get any views (not even the old kite video had any views, even though Smells had to have watched it in order to comment on it – must be because of YouTube’s broken algorithm or something) Liam and Smells keep on talking about absolutely nothing at all, never getting to know each other, never sharing any information about themselves.
Until, one day, Smells reveals that he’s a salesman. The exact message reads:
Hay, byw, I seIl djincense burneys. Wood yew liek a fr3e sample?
Liam is taken aback by the unbridled kindness and generosity of Smells, so much so that he actually touches a hand to his chest. He replies back:
Definitely! Thank you, Smells! My address is 123 Thisroad Street, Wanaque NJ 07478. When should I expect them?
But Liam doesn’t get an answer, not within the five-minute window all the other messages arrived in. So he sits patiently and waits for five more minutes, but those five minutes turn into ten, into twenty, into a whole hour. Liam decides not to think about it, stressing always makes him pee the bed and he wants to not pee the bed anymore (almost as bad as he wants to keep Being Liam), so he gets back to posting today’s video. Coincidentally enough, today’s clip was a return trip to the Monksville Dam – Liam shot it from the other side of the bridge as last time so he could take his walk in the opposite direction. He still hasn’t gotten any views on any of his videos, but that’s all right, that just means he has to up his game, which he is. Hence the swap in sideage.
Liam sits up at his computer for hours waiting for a reply from Smells, but it never comes. When the clock strikes 9:00 (a very late night for our Liam), he decides he’d better get to bed. Smells probably just fell asleep on the keyboard. ‘That Smells, he’s such a character.’ He’ll probably get back to Liam tomorrow. Besides, Liam needs to get up early so he can set up his camera to do a time-lapse of his dad’s pond. He likes to do one of these every week; they’re Liam’s favorite videos to make because he helped build the pond, so technically it’s his pond too, which he makes sure to mention twice – at the beginning before the time starts lapsing and at the end after the time unlapses – in every one of the time-lapse videos.
After checking his empty inbox one last time, Liam powers off his computer, stashes his video camera in his special lockbox he keeps in his top desk drawer, and then hits the hay. Much to his mom’s surprise (and relief), Liam doesn’t pee the bed that night.
Hello Commons, this has been the third 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 OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~