The Happy Store – Where’s Walter?
Published: May 8th, 2020
By: Shelly Reuben

FICTION – by Shelly Reuben April 10, 2020

Business comes to an abrupt halt during Clementine’s 31st adventure at The Happy Store.

Clementine Fraile, after working for over a year at The Happy Store, had come to think of Walter Graybill, the store manager, as their paterfamilias. When Walter asked her what that meant, she replied, “The male head of a household. The father figure. Our protector. The man in charge.”

Walter, tall and broad-chested with a pleasantly handsome face, ginger hair, and a handlebar mustache, narrowed his eyes, shook his head, and responded emphatically, “I don’t think so.”

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But Clementine never altered her opinion. Nor did she bring up the subject again. At least not until one sunny Friday in April, when her world turned upside.


Because for the first time since she had known him, Walter Graybill disappeared. As in … Pfft … as in “Now you see him; now you don’t.”

Contributing to Clementine’s emotional upheaval was a 3:00 p.m. appointment with Montgomery “Monty” Sturgis, District Manager for all The Happy Stores in the Northeast. Athena Eliopoulis, assistant manager, and Betty Davis, lead sales associate, knew about Monty’s pending visit, but only because he needed their help in preparing for what he called “The Great Surprise.”



The Evening Sun

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