Phebe Jewell ~ By Any Other Name

First day on the job and the only work shirt that fits Mohammad has “Bob” embroi­dered above his heart. Buttoning up the dark blue oxford, Mohammad jokes about how easy it is to spell. His first cus­tomer, a tiny old woman need­ing new wind­shield wipers, calls him “Bob” twice before Mohammad remem­bers she’s talk­ing to him. By the end of the day, Mohammad has let his inner Bob in — a jovial neigh­bor ready to jump start your car on an icy morn­ing, or a best bro to share a beer after anoth­er fight with your wife. The cus­tomers are eat­ing him up. No one in his fam­i­ly would rec­og­nize the man stand­ing behind the counter, cradling a phone on his shoul­der, ring­ing up a sale, wav­ing at the boss watch­ing from behind his island of a desk. Each morn­ing the bell jin­gles as Bob steps in, con­fi­dent and crisp in his navy shirt, while Mohammad waits on the side­walk for Bob’s shift to end.


Phebe Jewell’s work appears or is forth­com­ing in MoonPark Review, Pithead Chapel, Flash Boulevard, Milk Candy Review, Drunk Monkeys, SoFloPoJo, and else­where. A Seattle teacher, find her at