Harris Tobias (A short story)


     Once there was a man who had no joy. One day he said to himself, “I have no joy.” So he set out on a journey to find some. He traveled for a day and a night before he came to a small village. He stopped the first person he saw. It was an old woman. The man asked her, “where can I find joy?”

     The old woman shook her head and sighed, “I have been looking for joy ever since I was a young girl but have never found any.”

     The man continued on his way until he came upon an inn. He asked the innkeeper where he might find joy. “She’s upstairs,” said the innkeeper, “It will cost you a silver coin to see her.” So the man dug into his purse and gave the innkeeper a silver coin and the innkeeper showed him up the stairs to a door and left. The man knocked gently on the door. “Come in,” said a voice. The man was about to turn the door knob and enter when he thought, “what if I find joy and am disappointed?” And so he hesitated and then he thought, “what if joy doesn’t care for me?”

     So he left the door unopened and went back downstairs. “Well,” said the innkeeper, “did you find joy?” The man had to confess that he didn’t and asked the innkeeper for his coin back. The innkeeper shook his head and pointed to a sign behind the bar. The sign said, “No refunds. Life is your responsibility.” The man had to agree that was so. He turned and continued on his way.

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Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at www.hamptonroadswriters.org
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