Customers who hadn’t died

Customer whom I’d thought had died suddenly appeared. The last time I saw this customer I understood him to be undergoing cancer treatment, and the last time I saw his partner, somewhat later, he was alone and looking extremely sad — sort of communicatively sad — on which basis I made an assumption.

… I probably hadn’t seen him for ten years; would occasionally reprimand myself for having not been more concerned, taken more of a part — then he just suddenly walks in, in perfect health, for a coffee — ridiculous!

Customer whom I’d been telling people had died suddenly calls in. A customer told me that “The Professor” had died and since I knew only one person whom he might have called that, and since I had myself witnessed that person to be in quite ill health, I made mention of his demise to a few intimates around the store, though I hadn’t been able to find an obituary. Then to my surprise one day, not long after, that “professor” calls in — “still among the living, my friend,” he reports, “yes indeed”… which I found to be quite odd. Odd that he was living, of course. But odd also that there was almost no way this person could have learned I was telling people he was dead. “The professor” who had died, it turned out, was a semi-famous black scholar around here, whom I didn’t know, and whom the person who’d told me “the professor died” didn’t know; “the professor” who yet lived was another older blackman with a PHD, whom I considered a friend, and who was known to a number of the local businesses around here.

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