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Title: Everyone an Orphan
First 250 words
A ‘Back Soon’ sign hung from an iron nail on the door of the rugged granite kiosk. The sign board advertised “Kreuzen Vermietet/Crosses Rented: 9:00-1:00, 2:00-6:00. He glanced at his watch. 9:10. Probably should have left his watch in the hotel room.
Their entire stock of crosses was organized to one side of the kiosk along the cathedral’s high wall, models made of rough-hewn beams alongside others of thinner wood, ten, twenty, thirty pounds lighter. Some were hollow facsimiles.
Ray stared at a challenging version twice his height convinced if he touched it he might crash down the whole row. Maybe he could find Christ-connectedness here but he didn’t want to kill himself in the attempt.
The shutters of the kiosk jumped open, bang. The matron, in jeans and high-necked knit sweater, came around to the front of the kiosk and studiously latched them with long, thin fingers. Her dark hair, streaked grey, swung like a horse’s tail when she turned and nodded toward him. She had stark blue eyes and dark eyebrows.
Satisfied that the tray of brochures had been pulled all the way forward to the leading edge of the counter, she gave Ray a practiced smile with yellowed-ivory teeth. She was almost Ray’s height. Her expression seemed to acknowledge the possibility of deep sadness beneath his interest and promised discretion and warrantied the privacy of his visit.
“Good morning.” She must have placed him as an American. “Have you rented with us before?”
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