He Smiled

He slumped down in his chair, the weekend had only just begun and already he felt exhausted. Still, the comics were all neatly arranged on the table in a fashion which he hoped would be conducive to sales. He’d done so many of these shows now, but had yet to figure out any kind of pattern or method to selling the damn things. A simple friendly smile could send a potential customer scuttling away one moment, and the next an angrily barked “Buy comics!” would result in a bumper transaction. There was, he had to admit to himself, no rhyme or reason to it.

The hour felt ungodly, although he knew for most people this was a perfectly respectable time to be up and about. His body clock had long since been ruined, leaving him intimately familiar with three in the morning, and a stranger to eight o’clock. Looking about himself he could tell that his fellow stall holders were in much the same plight, and they all appeared to be engaged in various stages of the quest for caffeine.

He wondered what the weekend held, if he’d spend his time feeling lost and slightly out of place in a hall full of people who felt perpetually out of place. He wasn’t quite sure where he fitted in here, especially, at an event where the pecking order in his chosen industry was more clearly defined than usual.

BADABEEP BADABEEP

He fished in his pocket for his phone, expecting it to be a twitter alert from his companion for the day, bemoaning the state of London’s public transport system, or wondering if eight in the morning was too early to start drinking whisky. Then he saw her name and smiled. He didn’t even need to read the message, it didn’t matter; just knowing that he’d crossed her mind was enough to make him smile.

BADABEEP BADABEEP

The hall began to fill with people, comics were sold; people came and went in a whirlwind of colour and beards. None of it mattered. He met all of it with smile.

BADABEEP BADABEEP

He was miles away.

BADABEEP BADABEEP

Just for today.

BADABEEP BADABEEP

He smiled.

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Ian Sharman
Ian is a freelance writer and artist. He founded Orang Utan Comics Studio with Peter Rogers in 2006, writes for their Eagle Award Nominated anthology Eleventh Hour and regularly inks for Panini’s Marvel Heroes comic.
Ian Sharman

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