on parade...

They stood on the shelf, all lined up in an odd little row. Well, as lined up as they could be. Some were straight, others bent in the center, several had tips that were practically frayed with over-use.

And the colors… A pale pine color served as the base for a palette of faded tints of green and red and orange, amongst others. Those with unfrayed points displayed every shade of every color of the rainbow, the halogen lights shining on the acrylic case infusing the fifty objects on display with a peculiar richness and beauty.

At this thought I turned to my host, looked at the strange glint in his huge gray eyes, the unsettling proud smile on his narrow face, then took a quick glance of the bizarre collection, the used toothpicks on parade.

“What are you, fucking nuts?â€? I asked, running out of the dingy little studio apartment near Santa Monica and Highland as fast as my heels could carry me, praying he wouldn’t follow me. He didn’t.

Never again would I answer personals from the back of the free weekly.

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