Everyone’s doing it wrong, he says. Your lumber’s substandard, he says. The security is on him the minute he walks in the door. First of all, he’s a pig. That’s not a judgement. He’s an actual pig, the kind they turn into bacon if they get a chance. And not only that, he talks. A lot. His brothers, whose lives he saved, thank you, couldn’t stand it anymore. They said if he hadn’t turned the wolf into soup, he could have just talked the poor guy to death. The other two pigs moved out, Cleveland, maybe, who knows. Anyway, Pig Number 3 has had lots of repairs. Even a huff and puff proof brick house starts to fall apart, and so he started coming into town on the regular. Started annoying some poor sap who was buying a light bulb –incandescent’s over – Pig Number three was telling him. LED’s the way to go. PN 3 thinking about the future, which he’s not even likely to have one if he keeps this up.
I am writing to complain about your lack of service when I came into your hardware store.
I am a loyal customer. Have been one ever since I constructed my brick dwelling in the forest. I bought bricks and mortar and tools.
Now, I come in daily, DAILY, to buy fixtures, light bulbs, etc. However, I’ve been noticing how rude the security guards have become. They say that I am bothering the other customers with too much advice. They “claim” that these “customers” have “complained.” which, frankly, I find highly doubtful.
I mean, who would complain about good lightbulb advice? What kind of person doesn’t want to save hundreds of dollars in future years, not to mention the labor involved in changing lightbulbs, the climbing up ladders they won’t have to do.
Also, and this is no small thing. I happened to smell bacon coming from the employees break room. Now, I do understand the allure of this particular aroma. But since I’m a pig myself, it is an aroma I cannot allow myself to enjoy. This would be wrong. It’s very possible this particular aroma could be one of my friends, if you see what I mean.
Now, I don’t want to have to take my business to a big box store. For one thing, they have a service animal only policy. For another, they require their customers to wear pants. Being a pig, and a fairy tale pig at that, I’ve never been required or even expected to wear pants. I honestly blame this whole cartoon dress code on Mickey Mouse, who frankly ruined lots of things for everyone.
But I will. Take my business elsewhere. Now, it’s true, a light bulb or fixture may not
add up to much business in your opinion. But I’m talking good will here. And word of mouth. And social media. And let’s not forget the gossip little gossamer forest sprites can spread.
I look forward to your kind attention to these matters.
Turns Out the Manager is a Pig Woman
And the most beautiful one PN3 has ever seen. Courage, he tells himself in his self-telling way. Ask her out, he thinks, I’m sure she eats dinner, he thinks. And lo and behold she says yes.
He goes home to get ready for their big pig night out. The fanciest place in town. Of course, this will require a jacket AND pants and so he scrambles to find something in his closet. Trouble is, everything reeks of wolf-breath. Even now, all these months later. But he won’t let this stop him. He’s Pig Number 3, after all. Attention to detail, he is. Build the best house, he is.
He thinks back to a particular triple date he went on with his brothers. How Pig Number 1 thought it was enough to order water. How Pig Number 2 thought a salad would impress.
Clearly not PN3’s style. He remembers this as he looks for the perfect outfit. He looks at the clock. Half an hour until their reservation. He has lined up all of his pig suits, the ones he had for job interviews and such, and laid them on the bed. He is sniffing and whiffing. The clock is ticking. He hopes the beautiful manager will understand if he’s just a little late.
But really, it’s more important to do this right. Three hours later, PN3 realizes the manager is sitting alone at the restaurant, water in front of her, maybe even a salad. Still he stands there, blowing on his jackets as only Pig Number 3 would do, huffing and puffing the wolf out of them.
Francine Witte’s latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ in Fall 2021. She lives in NYC.