This is just a slice of life story about life in a small town. It feel like it could be a prologue to a much large peice, but when I tried to write a continuation, it didn’t really connect, so I have made the choice to post this on it’s own.

Margie was dumb. Okay, that wasn’t really that nice, but she wasn’t slow, she didn’t have a learning disability, or have an especially low IQ. Margie really was just dumb. So much so that other people really should have found it frustrating talking to her, but they didn’t. Because Margie, sweet Margie, was something akin to the little engine that could as she tried so hard again and again. The thing was, Margie would more aptly be called the little engine that couldn’t, because the trying never really amounted to anything.

Most people would give up, but not Margie, and that seemed to be why people liked her so much, nothing ever really got Margie down. Its also how despite perpetually failing at life, Margie was doing as well as she was. People, did a lot for the silly girl, mostly out of a sense of pity, and a bit of guilt at their own ill will towards her sometimes.

So Margie had a job at the grocery store, as a greeter. She had started as a stockboy, but had been confused, as she was not a boy. She labeled things wrong, and put them where she felt they belonged rather than where they actually belonged causing more harm that good.

No one thought that Margie would be able to handle cashier, so they tried her on bagging next. AS much as the other town residents understood Margie was as she was, Margie could only pack so many bags poorly before it was suggested that maybe Margie not do that. After all, people wanted to get their food home, relatively undamaged, and there were too many loaves of bread being squashed under canned goods for people to abide by Margie.

Greeter wasn’t a real title, not at a store this small, but everyone smiled when they saw her, and Margie made sure to stop and greet every person that entered, if they wanted a greeting or not. That said, everyone liked seeing Margie taken care of, and she was a fairly sweet girl and she did try, so people who didn’t usually shop at the store made a point to stop by now and then, just to say hi to Margie. The increase in business wasn’t huge, but it did rack up to a little more than a greeter salary a month, so they kept her on.

That was the odd thing about small towns, people cared. Okay, they didn’t really care, people were not inherently better in small towns than the city. In small towns though, one didn’t have the veil of anonymity to hide behind. Everyone in a small town knew who you were and what you did, and who your parents were, and what they did. There was a sense of being watched that some found comforting, and many found invasive. If you were rude to the greeter, you would be hearing about it from your own mother within the hour, so you better mind you manners.

This led to a sense of obligation to be a better person that one actually was at heart. In a small town reputation was everything, and you couldn’t be the only person in town that didn’t stop by and say hi to Margie, so you did it. For all they are portrayed to be more “real” and “down to earth” in small towns, you had to wonder if they were actually just spending a lot more time being really good fakes.

In the city you could have a work personality, a home personality, and for some, a friends personality. Which one, if any, was you, was a choice, and rarely did they overlap enough to worry someone might foul the waters. Meanwhile in small towns, home, work and friends would see the same thing, and it would be distributed far and wide, and why most of us had a sneaking suspicion that Trevor who helped Ms. McAvoy with her groceries was not as nice as he seemed.

Its why, when they found the body, it was both more and less surprising than it would have been in the city. It certainly gave everyone something to talk about other than the weather, and for many, that made the murder the best thing to have happened in years.


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