with a passing nod to Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery'
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have only ever wanted to serve this community.
From my place behind the counter of my store
I have attended to the daily household needs
of each and every one of you as you've bought
whatever it is you've required and filled me in
on the doings of the town.
'Jacobson'll have it,' you say; or, 'Jacobson'll know.'
And I will, and I do.
I stock everything. And people like to chat, don't they?
I wear my apron when I work - not just to protect
my clothing, but because it's the expected uniform.
You trust me in my apron: the friendly, avuncular shopkeeper
who can put his hand on what you want and lend an ear - always
lend an ear. I know more about you, ladies and gentlemen,
than you would be entirely comfortable with, were it not for the apron.
But now, of course, having played my part to the full,
having serviced your lives - always deferential, always with a smile -
I am called upon to make one last sacrifice.
None of you has stood in this place before me, of course, because,
as of ancient rite, no-one can ever stand in this place twice.
So, with some sadness in my heart, knowing that I will not,
any longer, be able to pass on what I have gleaned, nor
furnish you with any solid thing to grasp and take home;
and knowing, too, the weight of the revelation
that has been given us, and its sustaining power in our lives,
I stand before you, a proud member of our community,
and accept, with love and dignity, the stones that you will throw.
I am your servant.
6 November 2011