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Latest Stories

November 19, 2021
Flash Fiction Russ Bickerstaff

Perfect

It’s the little things. That something was wrong. But he couldn’t figure out what it was. And maybe it was the bed and the direction it was amazing. There was a problem with one of the club shops in one hand. Maybe with the thread count of the sheets. Or…
November 18, 2021
General Stories Matty LibraWolf

Haunting Stories Of The Visionaries

On a snowy mistrustful night, a newborn Skully Doyle, who was fast asleep in his cot, his visionary confused himself getting abducted from a Demonic Apparition. A woman called White Widow owns a three-headed dog called Cerberus Trio. This woman was a Satanist…
November 12, 2021
Mystery Stories Glenn Dungan

Gosh Darn It I’m Wet!

Alright fine. Okay, so the rubber duck bobs in the water, ignorant of the vapor steaming from the pool and rising to the banisters and balustrades in the warehouse. It wears a yellow raincoat and holds in a cartoonish way an umbrella inscribed with the words…
November 12, 2021
General Stories Michael McCarthy

Motherload

‘‘Whiskeeee!’’ She ducked as the chunky glass came flying across the room, minuscule droplets of the alcohol splattering her cheek. She’d become quite adroit at dodging his missiles. But she couldn’t avoid his booze ravaged rasp. ‘‘When I call for a whisky,…
November 05, 2021
Flash Fiction Benoit

Therese

Therese Synopsis Rich parents are not everything. Therese is alone. She gambles on marriage when the chance arises, and lands in court on a murder charge. Therese Bordeaux France, 1952 Therese is not normal. She's not fun and has no friends. She finds…
November 05, 2021
General Stories Lawrence Hartmann

The Quiet World

The Pennsylvania mountains surrounded the small car with majesty and grace. “When I die, scatter my ashes here,” said Roger, the driver. “Ok,” said Paul. The two were married, five years now. They had met one summer day at the Macy’s store on State Street in…
November 03, 2021
Crime Stories Benoit

Dizzy

Synopsis – Mistaken identity can be inconvenient, even fatal. I was still dizzy when they brought me into the office. Sharp suits meet hospital smock. Bloody. I could not hear much. The crash and concussion, no doubt. They were smiling, trying to be nice.…
November 03, 2021
Horror Stories Derek-Avery Patz

Movie Night

Here I text him. His profile notified me that he likes cheeseburgers; it’s our second date and Jumpin’ Jacks has the best cheeseburgers around. Gavin is the real deal, or so the twins say he is. Elizabeth and Alyssa are fixtures in this small shithole of a…
September 25, 2021
General Stories NT Franklin

Coming Home

While Rupert paced in the parking lot, a cool spring breeze went down the back of his neck and made him shiver. Or was the shiver from having to go into the boss’s office? He had issues with male authority figures, or so his last work-ordered therapist had…
September 25, 2021
Flash Fiction Sandeep

Space Age Agency

Today I want to write about a nice story about OutSpace Consulting Pvt Ltd. that hired me to work for a Space Age Aeronautics Frontier (SAAF). To create a new vehicle and technology for managing their database, missions, research and exploration endeavors.…
September 13, 2021
General Stories Kasimir Kozlowski

An Understanding

1 The sharp halogen beams of the Greyhound bus cut a swath of light across the white frozen tundra of the flatlands nearing a small town outside of Winnipeg, and the passengers are beginning to get a little restless. Henry also stirs to life. He’s been…
September 13, 2021
Fantasy Stories Abdulla Ameen

That Memorable Quest

Beneath the starlit sky, which not only had that dark blue shade but also a purple tone, with stars lying flat on the vivid plain, was the cavern he chose to spend the night. The hillside was riskier in the dark and that was the only thought that made him…

“Hey, Monica.”

Rotten breath.  Nametag intimacy.  She pushed the People magazine under the cash register.  Slowly raising her eyes, the outline of an outie belly button showed like a pointer through the black tee shirt.  Specks of yellow, maybe mustard, dotted it.

Rule: ask if they found everything.

'He'll have dirty teeth and rotten gums,' Monica thought.  Aloud, she said, "Find everything?"

He looked mangy with a meth mouth.

"Found everything fine."  Store open five minutes.  First customer of the day.  Whatever.  A dolly creaked to a stop.  Two boxes holding monster-sized new TVs, and ten boxes with the most expensive home theatre system in the store sat on it.

Rule: If it's more than you make in a week, call the manager.

This was like six months of paychecks. The fish-eye mirror showed only customers on the floor.  A chubby woman with haystack hair leaving the gadget section, two skanky guys leaving music, plus two at the register: all wearing black.  Wrong.  "Price check ten."  Monica gave the Manager Help call.

'Means nothing, I'm wearing some black,' she thought. 'Means nothing.'

Belly Button pushed the dolly close for her to scan the barcodes and tossed a handful of candy on the counter.

Monica always worked slowly but twelve slower cans stretched her bounds. Nobody answered her call.

Rule: always be polite.

"Your card, please."

Belly Button pushed a credit card at her.  Scuffed in the middle down to the white, the name read Patric then a white space.

Rule: repeat the customer's name.

"Patric ley," she said.

She waited for him to respond. He was looking at a van backing towards the doors.

Rule: swipe the card.

Monica looked at the fisheye mirror. Haystack hair in the camera section.  Skanky guys out of sight.

Rule: always have multiple people on the floor.

No sign of Manager Wally or Customer Service Rep. Chet. She pushed the panic button.

Rule: look at the signature.

The little signature strip was mostly rubbed off, only a loopy "P" and "ley" no guy ever wrote, remained.

The card reader screen showed “Patricia Dooley” and credit card code.  She hadn't thought about Pat Dooley in weeks.  Buys music and games.  Always quotes her own rules.  Kick ass woman.

Wally and Chet both didn’t answer.  Rule: manager at the register within a minute.

Let it go.  The credit card company wouldn't charge her.  This crappy chain wouldn't notice.

Rule: if something is wrong with a credit card, call the card company.

Belly Button looked her like she was lunch.  The guy behind him stared at her.  Skanky guys were gone.  Haystack hair walked towards the front door.

"You got a problem?" Belly Button bullied.  He would do her.

"Says to call."

She picked up the phone and pressed the speed dial button for card security.  "How may we help you?"

Code.  They had given her a code.  The number wouldn't come.  She punted. "Verification said code eleven."

"We don't have a, never mind, hold please."

Why am I doing this?  Just hit complete transaction, they go away.  Wally threatened to fire her after scammers hit them before.  Cunt he’d called her.  Wally'd said stupid cunt.  Wally'd then said "You cunt get a job anywhere else."

Chet said, "If you got tats on your tits I'd hire you to show them to me."

Pat Dooley’s voice popped into her head saying "that's sexual harassment."

Mom’s voice said, 'Got a job? Hang on to it.'

Monica called again, "Price check ten."

"Card Security," a girlish voice said, "Answer yes or no."

"Yes."

"Are they there now?"

"Yes."

"More than one?"

"Yes."

"Do you have the card?"

"Yes."

"Something wrong with it?"

"Yes."

"Scan the card again, press resend."

"Yes."

"Do you fear they'll hurt you?"

"Yes."

"See a weapon?"

"No." Then she saw the knife in Belly Button's right jeans pocket. "Sorry, yes."

Why work here?  Minimum wage plus two-bits didn't cover a guy with a knife. In her mind, Pat Dooley said ‘leave, go to the cable company where I work.’

"Is someone else there? Other employees? Customers?"

"No."

"Tell them we are verifying the transaction."

"Yes."

"Really, tell them."

Rule: smile at the customers.

Monica smiled. "Verifying transaction."

"Press print receipt. Have them sign. Let them leave.  Stay on the phone."

Haystack hair stood by the open doors of the van.

"Sign here."

Belly Button scribbled on the receipt. They pushed the dolly out the door.  The skanky guys left.

"They're gone."

"Don't hang up.  The police are there.  If they come back, hide."

Forty years at minimum wage, that was her future.  Cool things would always be six-month's take home.

The reflection on the register screen showed Wally and Chet walking up behind her.

Haystack hair carried a shotgun through the front door.  Monica plastered herself to the pad on the floor.  A single blast.  Bits of plastic, torn paper and money fell around her.  The People magazine dropped on her head.

"You OK?" gasped the girlish voice.

"Yes."

"Wait."

There was groaning behind her. Monica waited a very long time.

A uniformed policeman helped Monica to her feet.

"Are the police there?" Asked the girlish voice of credit card security.

"Yes."

"Here's my supervisor. Give the phone to an officer."

"Yes." Monica handed him the phone.  Across the store, Haystack hair wore handcuffs.  Another officer held her shotgun.  Four candy racks away, blue uniformed EMTs bent over Wally and Chet.

Monica waited and thought it through.  When the Officer got back to her, Monica knew she'd solved it.  "The store was barely open five minutes, so that stuff was already on the dolly.  Wally and Chet,” she pointed at the two gurneys being wheeled out, “they didn't answer my panic call.  They were in on it.  That woman came back to kill them.  She was cleaning up the loose ends."

Her mind’s Pat Dooley said, ‘You’re done here, Monica.’

Monica’s first Rule came into sharp focus.

The End

  • Escaped farm, life passed, now farming. I also write, teach, and consult. I have many publications, but none of them seem relevant. My experience feels best expressed in this Found Tanka:

Past performance does

not guarantee future results.

Current performance

may be lower or higher than

the performance data quoted.

 

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