Literary Reviews, Page 7

"Family Five and Dime" (continued)


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"Family Five and Dime" is a first person story recounted by an unnamed cashier working in the title's establishment. The protagonist is a woman in her early twenties who has found herself at liberty (of sorts) in a small Southern town which the author sardonically names "Liberty." The unnamed checker has lost her mother to death and her father to a resulting subsequent marriage which caused him to move North. She now scrounges a living from working at the store and from savings afforded her by her employee discount.


She tells her fellow checker, Justine, a woman twenty years her senior and the closest one she has to family remaining in Liberty, of her recurring nightmares of being guilty of having murdered people in a particularly gruesome fashion. She finds it strange that she has no memory within the dreams of actually having committed the crimes in question, but rather just being aware of them and her guilt.


Justine suggests that her young friend needs to consult a "shrink," as such dreams presumably must be indicative of a disturbed mind, even if unbeknownst to the young woman herself.


The protagonist is mortified that Justine would suggest such a thing, especially while possibly within earshot of the store's only current customer, a seemingly bizarre and somewhat mysterious young man derisively referred to by the store's staff as "the make-up boy" and sometimes as "that homosexual boy."


It seems that once a week or so for a period of time the apparently sexually aberrant young man has come to the store to buy cosmetics; evidence of his usage of such can sometimes be seen upon him. As a typical denizen of a narrow-minded, small Southern town, Justine has ceased to be amused by the unwanted customer's proclivities towards what she deems to be moral perversion. He most certainly does not fit the store's family name and image.


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Literary Reviews (8)