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Short story: <i>The Master</i>

It takes a lot of self-discipline to do what I do.

Firstly, you have to have the ability to remain calm, even when you’re seething inside and ready to scream and shout and tear your hair. None of these things are productive or will get you where you have to be.

You also have to be alright with crowds. If you can’t stand to be jostled, pushed from side to side like a crumpled paper bag and then preferably jostle back with your elbows out, then this gig isn’t for you.

Don’t be afraid of being chastised, either. You have just as much right to be there as anyone else, and just as much right to use your elbows, so don’t let anybody intimidate you into thinking that you’ve behaved badly or you should be ashamed of yourself or you’ve cheated in some way. It’s all mind games, and while I play them myself from time to time, it should be water off a ducks back or you just aren’t cut out for it.

On the other hand, make sure everybody else takes your slights personally. It’s not like they know you from Adam, it’s not like they can sue you for slander or anything, so get in there and fling the insults around. If you use a little intuition and a sharp eye, you can generally at least make someone cry.

It’s not for the faint hearted, particularly that first one after Christmas. It can be down right bloody. But with bargain hunting, you’ve either got it, or you don’t. Stick close by me and watch what I do. But don’t get in my way. I can’t be held responsible. Look! There’s the shoe table.

This is the result of a fifteen minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: chastise, jostle, self-discipline, hunting, and slander.

Image courtesy of Bruno Bolzano.

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