There are times that I think I am a good writer, and even if the world happens to disagree, I would rather hear about the disagreement firsthand than just assume what the world thinks. So, as in the past, here is something that I wrote for a destination other than my blog. This was the second of two short stories I wrote for my Creative Writing class my final semester of college. I delayed posting this story because I thought some of its adult themes and language would be a bit offensive to some readers, and instead opted to post the less controversial first story I wrote for the class. Irony.
So here is the second story, because I have determined after much thought that the adult language is justified by the characters that use the adult language. I do not intend for any part of this story to be offensive, language and content included (nor do I ever intend to offend when writing). The characters in the story below are fictional, and any resemblance to any real person is purely coincidental. Kmart is, of course, an actual corporation that I have mentioned by name. I do this solely because I, as an employee of Kmart, am familiar with the store, and I have often hoped that the following story would happen to me. Readers should take note, however, that this story could take place at any retail store anywhere in the country (a.k.a. Kmart don’t sue me).
Additionally, and since I don’t think there has been enough distractions yet, I have included a musical playlist to accompany this story. Listen if you’d like (click here then click “Play All”).
As mentioned above, this story has some adult language and themes, but I think it is safely PG-13. Normal PG-13, not like Titanic PG-13, so hopefully you are not put off. Now that all that is out of the way, and without any further ado, I give you “The Greatest Tale You’ve Ever Been Told.”
The Greatest Tale You’ve Ever Been Told
Sit back and I will tell you the story of how I wrote the greatest tale you’ve ever been told.
Not really—I thought that would be a pretty dramatic intro, but I don’t want to oversell this. I mean, yes, the short story I wrote did win some awards (mostly local stuff—intensely local: my best friend Zach’s “Best Short Story That I’ve Just Recently Read” award and my grandma’s “Oh honey, I was confused the whole time but I’m sure it would have been just lovely” honors).
It all began one fateful day some time ago. I was halfway into a shift at Kmart—get your laughs out now. I work at Kmart. I’m a cashier, putting my college degree to good use. I scan people’s stuff and take their money and tell them to have nice days. It gets worse though; the Kmart where I work is, well, ripe for comedy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been handed cash that came not from a purse, pocket, or wallet, but from the inner part of some white lady’s bra. Seriously. At least three different times. “Your total is going to be twelve seventy—oh god!—yeah, you can just set the money right down on the counter there, thank you.” I see more people in sweatpants than I see teeth. I would take a cut in pay to have more attractive girls come through my line. (I should be grateful though, because I think the average age of my customers has just recently dropped beneath one hundred.)
Working at Kmart isn’t without its perks however. It’s given me plenty of time to think, to wax philosophic, to work on my writing. Living life as a full-time writer is tough—especially when you have a nagging mother who keeps claiming that you’re “wasting your education” and is always lamenting about “her hard-earned money to put you through college”—but moonlighting (or daylighting) at Kmart gives me time to work on all my masterpieces. But when I’m not working on my masterpieces, I’m interacting with other delightful members of the human race. It’s about the only social interaction I get anymore. But man am I good at it now. I can extract conversation from even the most salty of customers. “Hi! How are you today?” No response. “Oh, did you put on your grumpy pants this morning?” That usually gets them laughing. Or there’s the overly friendly customers, the ones who look at your nametag and then say “Hi” to you as if you’re old friends.
“Hi. . .Hero!”
“Hello,” I say. “Were you able to find—”
“What a fancy name! Hero.”
Trying not to roll my eyes, I respond, “It’s a winner.”