Antlers

Charlie stood behind the counter gazing up at the moose head that hung from the opposite wall. Its black beady eyes stared back, mocking him. Even from here he could see the patchiness of its fur and he instinctively hugged himself, his hands reaching to the worn fabric of his elbows.

‘Are you even listening to me?’, the guest demanded, causing Charlie to turn back and face him.

He looked closer at the guest and noticed how the blotchy redness of his face was in sharp contrast to the young woman who stood next to him, whose skin was as white as the snow outside. As the man repeated himself for the fifth or sixth time, little mounds of spittle congealed in the corners of his mouth causing Charlie to wrinkle his nose in disgust. 

The guest slammed his fist down on the counter and began shouting. Charlie noticed the filth under his fingernails and a thread loose on his jumper. His eyes darted back to the moose before looking the guest directly in the eyes.

By this time the guest was puffing his cheeks with rage and was the colour of a red carnival balloon, his beady eyes looking like they’d been drawn on with a marker. He looked back up at the moose and squinted at what looked like a smirk on its face.

Charlie came around the counter and held his index finger up at the guest, before striding over to the wall next to the moose and taking the old blunderbuss off its fixings. Charlie swung it round, took aim at the moose and fired. Fur, antlers, and stuffing rained down into the lobby, as Charlie put the blunderbuss back on the wall and walked back to the guest.

‘Now, where were we, sir?’, Charlie asked with a smile on his face.  

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