In place of the usual hello, Mike Hook, the veteran pawnbroker and manager of DM Past and Present, has a phrase prerecorded on his mobile phone, which he plays when a customer first enters his small Iola shop. The audio is of a womans voice, tinny, robotic its the standard issue voice of Google Translate, in fact and its one of the few ways remaining for Hook to sever, if only momentarily, the vast silence into which circumstance has plunged him.
CUSTOMER [enters store, sound of door chimes]: Hello. Hot day, huh?
MIKE [seated behind the counter, reaches for his phone, hits play]: Sorry, the automated voice intones, Im not trying to be rude but I lost my tongue to cancer a few weeks ago.
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