Masks No Longer Required at the Convenience Store by Paul Garson

“I was robbed twenty times by people in masks before the pandemic, so I closed down and stayed home. I’ve not been back since,” said the owner leaning against the sales counter, trying not to look at the body. “When they announced masks no longer required, I opened up again. I thought anyone wearing a mask was back to rob me. Muscle memory, I guess. So I hit him with the baseball bat I keep behind the counter when he stopped to look at the chips display.” 

"I guess the guy didn't hear the announcement," said the policeman taking notes while the Coroner's assistant fired off more photos. “About the masks.” 

“Guess not,” said the cameraman gingerly moving around the body, careful not to step on the bags of chips littering the floor. When he accidentally stepped on one, it popped with a loud bang! 

Reflexively the policeman pulled his service revolver and shouted, “Shots fired! Officer needs help!” 

The cameraman started laughing and snapping photos. Even the store owner chuckled. Immediately embarrassed, the policeman holstered his pistol, brought out his taser and fired the electric prong into the leg of the photographer who flailed about, sending more chip bags flying in all directions, shouting “Why!” 

“Muscle memory,” said the policeman 

Published in Issue #16

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