The Vultures of Main Street

They have come like vultures to pick the meat from my bones. They will peck out my heart if I let them. They circle and circle then swoop in to kill what is already dead.

I do not recognize them. They have not been here before. They only came now because they were drawn in by a rotting carcass festooned with signs proclaiming “Going Out of Business” and “Everything Must Go.”

Everything is 75% percent off but still they peck for more. “Will you take $5 for this?” “I’ll give you $10 the lot.”

They try to disguise their vulture selves with feigned sympathy. “I’m sorry to see you go!” they say.

They are not sorry. They only care because they don’t want their neighborhood to be pockmarked by an empty store front. They don’t want to have to worry if the “charming little building” will be torn down to make way for condos. They are worried about blight. They are worried about property values. They are not worried about me.

If they actually cared about me and my business they would have come in before now. Before it was too late.

Not all these people are vultures. Some I recognize. I may not know their names, but I remember their faces. They are my customers. My loyal customers. When they say “I’m sorry to see you go!” I know they mean it. They look at me with sad eyes as though they are losing their business too. Because they are. This was our place.

I feel like I have let them down. But there were too few of them. We were not strong enough to carry each other.

Now, here we all are. Being circled by the vultures until there is nothing left.

*     *     *     *     *

This post is part of my periodic series Fiction Friday.

RELATED POST: The magic of a good neighborhood

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