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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

“Oddity Shop”

Home Away from Home

Jars with skulls and beetles encased in resin lined the worn wooden shelves of the Oddity Shop. The floor was checkered and stained with boot-prints from previous customers that no amount of scrubbing would ease. The air had a strong aroma similar to my grandmother’s house, which brought a cozy feeling to this otherwise unusual store. The walls were filled with pinned butterflies and moths, their wings practically glowing from the sunlight peeking through the tall windows. The window sills were crowded with books depicting stories of cults, killers, and unusual anomalies, each cover adorning a delicately placed price sticker. I usually sat at the cash register in the back, admiring the taxidermy displays that come in biweekly from ethical sources. 


This shop is just like me— not surprised by the occasional stare and murmur from judgemental folk, typically from the older generations. However, there are always those few kindred spirits that enter my store and are transported into the same reality that I am. A deep curiosity and fascination with life and death that is displayed through the little pieces on each shelf. It is common for my regular customers to become my friends since our interests align like the pinned wings of butterflies: each is uniquely different but still beautiful all the same.


 August is a customer who often frequents the store, perusing the bug displays. She is autistic and bugs are her hyperfixation. She absolutely loves them, especially the horned elephant beetle. Since her autism makes it difficult for her to find a job, I hired her part time to stock shelves during our busiest weeks and I taught her how basic cash registers work. Since she loves painting, I also give her the opportunity to sell her finished paintings, allowing her to keep all of the profits from each sale. She reminds me a lot of myself and I always look forward to seeing the smile on her face when we get new bugs in the shipment. I give her first dibs on one for her collection, in which I set it behind the counter and she pays me a discounted price for it. She has honestly become one of my best friends and this little oddity shop has morphed into our cocoon—our home.

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