The Incense Salesman
And the Wind Continues to Blow
Hazy vision and a dull pounding inside his head bring Gill to a waking state. He didn’t sleep very well last night – well, that’s not true. He was sleeping deeply for quite a few hours before the lights and sirens woke him up, and even then Gill was half convinced he was still dreaming. It’s sometimes hard for the Milligan heir to differentiate between waking reality and his own dreaming reality, no matter how dreamy the dream may be; one time, Gill dreamed he and his nonexistent family were all out on Monksville on his Father’s ocean boat, and when he woke, he mistook the sweat he was coated in for the residual spray from the waves. Of course, when Gill asked his Father what time they got in last night, he was made perfectly aware of how ridiculous he was to even so much as think it was real – ocean vessels aren’t allowed on Monksville, of course he it happened in a dream.
“Do you think I’m dreaming right now, Father?” Gill asked, and was answered with a heartfelt, “If you were dreaming you’d be a lot more successful, now wouldn’t you?”
But last night, when his bedroom filled with flashing red and blue lights and the siren pierced his ears like an arrow through thin metal, that was no dream. At first Gill thought he had imagined himself some sort of twisted disco party; the only thing missing was all the females from his old high school he never got a chance to dance with. They almost always show up in Gill’s dreams, disco or not, and rarely are they wearing anything but parka coats.
Had Gill asked them to dance way back when, they probably would have obliged, but he was always too afraid. Gill has never exactly been a lady’s man – when Gill got the talk, it was delivered in drunken slurs from his first Stepmom on the night before her and Gill’s Father’s divorce. She told Gill it was wrong for men to look at women, that if a man so much as thinks about a woman’s (and I quote), “… luscious, supple breasts, her firm, tight ass, her delicious, glistening [you get the idea], then he is headed straight to Hell, and with each further dirty thought he allows himself to entertain he shaves off another minute of his life and another two centimeters of his dirty, filthy Peter!” She was a troubled woman; in her suicide note, mailed to Bill Milligan half a decade following their divorce, it was revealed that she was raised by a questionable band of Gypsy nuns who gave her a similar treatment that Catholic priests give to choir boys. She also thanked him (sincerely thanked him) for never touching her, even when she begged him to. That’s about all you need to know about Bill Milligan, although it’s more than Gill himself knows.
Sitting up on the edge of his bed, Gill reaches out blindly for the water bottle he left on his nightstand last night. He finds it by way of knocking it down, and the sound of the glugging reminds Gill that he didn’t replace the cap. ‘You need to replace the cap, Gill. You’re stupid. So unsuccessful and stupid.’ He waddles out of his room and down the hall to the bathroom to grab a towel. On the way back, Gill momentarily stops at the door and closes his eyes, as to focus his ears.
The air is still; nobody is walking around downstairs, nobody is watching the television. That’s good.
Gill returns to his room and throws the towel on the wet spot in his carpet, stomping it down with his feet to soak up all the water. That done, he moseys on over to his desk and turns on his computer to check if he had any sales last night.
As the son of Bill Milligan, Gill was one of the first mogul-to-bes to start a business and open up his own store on Buyify. His company is called Gill Bottles, and through it, Gill sells old glass bottles – beer, soda, milk, you name it – that he finds buried in the leaves while out exploring the woods behind the pond on Fricker. According to the owner of the auction hall across the dam, there’s a big market out there for antique glass bottles (so long as they’re in good condition), and Gill’s bottles are pristine – no scratches, no unsightly cracks or chips, and every time he finds a new one, he always takes it into the bath with him and scrubs all the dirt off by hand. He puts all of his effort, all the effort in the world into selling his bottles; but yet, like all the other days since he opened this store back in high school, Gill has no sales. Zip, zero, zilch. On the upside, Gill knows that this can’t possibly be a dream. Like his Father said: if he was dreaming, he’d be a lot more successful, now wouldn’t he?
Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the eighth 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~