Its midnight Friday night and all is quiet.
The blinds on the shop window in the High Street suddenly rise, and a dull yellow light shines on the window display.
A weathered hand reaches out and flips the closed sign to open.
The Weekend Shop is now open.
Friday through midnight Sunday.
Inside the figure of an old man can be seen shuffling towards the counter of a store that seems to have more dust than goods to sell.
Dan, the old man, wipes the accumulated dust from the counter and looks out into the darkness beyond his shop window.
He knows that before long, the customers will start to roll in, they always do.
It’s becoming more and more of an effort to open the store, knowing he won’t get any break until midnight Sunday.
He’s not getting any younger, but he knows he is the only one who sells what his customers want and so he understands the necessity of opening.
He spends Monday to Friday stocking up on the rare and valuable items demanded of him.
The bell tingles and his first customer enters. It’s Elise who is always first, she is polite, asks for her order, fondles it and places it in her shopping trolley. She pays him, nods her thanks and makes her way out into the darkness.
He doesn’t know much about the people who frequent his shop only that they are regular and they pay well.
This is the routine for the next several hours as there are folk who only come out under cover of darkness and scurry away well before the dawn.
As the first light penetrates the shop window, a different clientele arrives.
These are couples, shrouded in hoods and long dark gowns who peruse the shop, handling the stock, muttering to each other often in a language Dan doesn’t understand before approaching the counter. One customer slides a piece of paper over, and Dan sees he requires something he doesn’t have, but he immediately promises to get it. The customer leaves, and outside the store Dan sees him climb into a flash car which disappears into the city.
This is how the weekend goes, a steady stream of business, of people more often than not hidden behind hoods and dark glasses, some wearing odd-shaped hats and smelling of substances he rather not know about.
His till makes a steady ringing, his is a cash-only business, so he has no need for cards, he likes to see the colour money.
Late Sunday night and his final customer, Miss Agnes, arrives and she is the only customer who engages him in conversation. Miss Agnes seeks craddic berry, a rare Irish berry that Dan struggles at times to purchase but has since discovered he can freeze and so sometimes has to sell her some of his frozen stock. She doesn’t mind as she explains the berries keep her young and agile. “You wouldn’t know, would you?” she tells him on a regular basis, “that I’m one hundred and fifty years old. It’s the berries that do it.”
Dan has tried the berries, but he hasn’t found they worked so well on him. Worked well on his bowel is all he can say about them.
He wipes over the counter one last time, and as the clock strikes twelve, he brings down the blinds on the front window and flips the open to closed.