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The Mint

Copyright 2013 Douglas T. Vale

Cover image courtesy of Rmackay /

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He got up in the morning trying to feel proud of himself. He’d done it. He slid off the side of the bed, stretched his arms above his head, and then picked up the plastic-wrapped mint on his night stand from its hiding place behind his glasses. He held it up to his nose and filled his nostrils with peppermint air. Then he set it down again on the night stand and began dressing himself.

He paused with his shirt half on, and then, mumbling, undressed again. He still needed to shower. In his underwear, he went upstairs to the linen closet and took out the towels he needed, then, with a glance down the hall to the upstairs bedroom, went into the laundry and got fresh clothes from on top of the dryer. Back downstairs he went, and took his shower, after setting the new clothes in a tangled heap on the corner of his bed. His old clothes made a similar heap on top of his dresser. As he always did, he locked the bathroom door behind him, after he’d gone in, and before showering went through the ritual of arranging the items on his sink.

Usually he had to move his current paper cup, which he used to rinse with mouthwash, away from the edge of the sink and behind his plastic toothbrush, since it got in the way of his razor and shaving cream. Then he’d hang up his towels on the rack opposite the shower stall, pace back and forth the length of the room trying to dispel the thoughts and dreams of the night before, and then turn the shower on and hop in.

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