Day 1: Bartleby Tends the Shop; Ambrose Enters the Shop

[Logbook Chapters]

Bartleby Willard—today sky blue rather than see-through, in brown double-breasted suit complete with matching vest, round-collared white dress shirt, thin dark tie, and forestgreen tidily center-parted hair and handlebar mustache—polishes a wood countertop running the whole backside of his brand new Pure Love General Store.

Ambrose “Amble” Whistletown, in the dudiest cowboy outfit (white ten gallon hat; black western shirt with extensive curlicue-ing thick red embroidery; white slacks and black leather chaps; rattle-skin cowboy boots; giant clanking spurs) strides noisily (the crack-slap boom of unsteady cowboy boot on foundationless wooden floor; the absurd ringing of those absurd spurs) in through the double-ways-swinging raised saloon-double-doors. He’d pushed those lunglike doors gratuitously hard and now they squeak and clatter back and forth behind him, adding to the din which, Bartleby quietly considers, seems to follow Ambrose wherever he goes, as if he were enveloped in a perpetual noise-cloud, akin to the swirling dirt-cloud constantly trailing Pigpen of Peanuts fame.

“Been scout’n the perimeter!” exclaims Ambrose, thumbs tucked into his giant silver belt-buckle inlaid with a ruby-eyed turquoise hare.

Bartleby looks up from his buffed-shiny countertop, “What perimeter? We’ve just got this little general store here on a dusty old Main Street from various forgotten times and places.”

Amble’s jaw drops slightly, the piece of (truth be told, thoroughly disinfected, washed and sun-dried) straw he’d been ceremoniously chewing from side to side (across the full range of his mouth) droops downward, caught between his open lower lip and top teeth. “Well, sure. But, out, um yonder (which word he shoves out from the back of his throat rather high and rushed, as if he were embarrassed by it, or perhaps by his inability to form a meaningful relationship therewith)—out yonder (rallying now; chin still a little tucked, but oval-eyes now flicker up hopefully during pauses) we got a whole mess ‘a Pure Love ranges, mines, factories, distilleries, farms, storehouses—you name it!”

Bartleby nods slightly, lips shut but teeth apart, allowing lower jaw to jut a bit forward. His dark-purple eyes roll up contemplatively towards the bare wooden rafters. “Well, yeah, now that you mention it, I reckon we do, I reckon we do. And when a body’s got so much valuable property, well then, somebody’s gotta ride the perimeter, sure as shoot’in.”

Amble brightens up, straightens up, smiles big-eyed, completely forgetting the straw which now tumbles end-over-end down his ridiculous outfit to the polished oak floor boards, brushes the nonexistent dust off his chest and chaps, and says, “Well, yeah, that’s what I reckoned, that’s about how I reckoned it too!”

Witnesses: AW/BW
Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew Mackenzie Watson

We’re keeping track of all these posts here: The Logbook. Maybe it can be a words-only comic strip of our Pure Love moguling.

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