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Dimestore Reconnaissance

Dimestore Reconnaissance by Joseph CaulkinsMuch of Joe’s childhood was spent in his parents’ dimestore. His top-secret reconnaissance missions took him from the break room, past sewing and notions, and into a world of discovery including ladies underwear and specialized weapons of destruction.



from the memoir
Surreal Adventures from an 8-Year Old’s Perspective


I knew there was a whole world above the break room to explore. So I donned my olive-green plastic army helmet, grabbed my genuine plastic binoculars, and began what turned out to be some of the most dangerous reconnaissance missions in dimestore history.

The game was simple…don’t get caught. Be back in the break room by noon and, whatever you do, don’t let your father catch you on the floor. My dad was old-fashioned and believed his customers didn’t want his eight-year-old son in battle fatigues with weapons absconded from aisle nine to take them hostage while they were trying to decide which shampoo to buy.

This dangerous mission required a special weapon, The XR 1500. The XR 1500 had arrived earlier in the week and was now in plentiful supply on the end cap to aisle ten.

The XR 1500, “As Seen On Television,” was a very sophisticated, cutting-edge space technology rifle. It was slightly smaller than my plastic M-16 and had four special settings: Stun, Vaporize, Pulverize and Rapid Fire. Not only did the XR 1500 have four different ways to annihilate your enemy, but also four awesome hi-tech sounds. Let’s see, set to Stun, aim, fire! Doooo-Wang! Now Vaporize, Nyung, yung, yung, yung, yung! Prepare for Pulverization Pansy! Tzoooooooowokk! Now Rapid Fire! Wong, wong, wong, wong, wong, wong, wong! With my army hat, binoculars, Silly Putty (just in case), and my new state of the art XR 1500, I was ready.

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