Um, Yeah….

This isn’t protocol.  I mean this box and everything…well…it’s not what I meant. I meant it’s you being back here behind the store.  Don’t think I don’t know who you are.  Creating a fuss that way and you aren’t really that good of an actor, you know.  But well, you do answer to corporate don’t you and this…this isn’t what it looks like you know.  You see the reason the meat counter was unmanned was because it was slow, like it generally is on Tuesday at 2:00 and I sent Anthony–the meat boy–over to the south side store because we have this customer who is having a party and has to have this case of cherry juice for her punch and well, we didn’t have it but the south store did. And the south store is very short-handed and after all they were doing us the favor and so we needed to go pick it up and the sooner I had it for the customer the better and isn’t that what you’re all about? Please don’t glare at me.  Anthony got the case of juice but since you were in there needing help ASAP–and I still think you’re a mystery shopper–I told him not to unload it, just get in the store and take care of the customer. And yes, yes, yes, I see you checking out the license plate.  It is my car.  Corporate pays me mileage but it doesn’t pay Anthony mileage, so it hardly seemed fair to make him take his car to the south store unless I wanted to pay him a little extra, which I don’t, because frankly Anthony is a little iffy when it comes to dependability. But yes, I do digress, I, well…We got you all settled as quickly and politely as we could and then I came out here to fetch the juice before it starts popping seals in this awful, awful heat. I lifted it out of the trunk.  As I got it out I realized my wrist wasn’t quite healed–I injured it playing tennis two weeks ago–and heavens the last thing I want is surgery, or time off work, or an on-the-job injury because you know corporate just hates that kind of thing.  I kinda dropped it on the bumper and caught it with my knee, which I am sure is quite bruised, thank you very much.  So now, here I am, trying to get it back in the trunk without making the wrist scream any louder and of course, Anthony has the receipt in his pocket.  You’re welcome to come back in the store with me and check all this out and here, well, maybe I should have left the case out so that I could get you to help carry it in.  Oh, wait.  You can’t.  You’re a customer. Sorry.  Keep thinking you’re a pawn–I mean employee–of corporate.  Because corporate has been out to get me for weeks.  I think it’s the wrist.  Really I do.

Timer:  Ding, Ding!

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Photo by Ali Farid

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From Take Ten for Writers, page 137, prompt #64: In the eyes of the person who just caught you, you appear totally guilty….Tell the story in the first person…present tense…you are the only speaker…do your best to talk your way out of this dilemma. Start with: This isn’t… This is who you are, what you were doing, and who caught you: #5 health-food store manager, loading a case of juice from the store into your car trunk in the middle of the day, with no receipt in hand, a mystery shopper hired by the parent company to evaluate performance.

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