Bad Day At CVS

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

The kid waited in line at CVS. The one in Cumberland, near the Honey Dew Donuts; the gas stations; the big white church. He didn’t like that CVS – the people who worked there were assholes; they never carried his favorite iced tea, to boot. It was simply a convenient stop near his aunt’s.

The kid waited in line at CVS. The woman at the counter was some sort of manager. She was late-middle-aged and angular. Dark hair and a face that looked like an ugly stack of triangles.

She was horrible. Notoriously so. On the rare occasions he had visited, he had witnessed her griping about the lack of intelligence of her coworkers. Once, he overheard her being required to apologize to an elderly woman for angrily snatching a prescription bottle out of the biddy’s hand.

Today, she was at the counter.

Two men were buying shampoo and a package of Ivory soap. They probably lived at the group home up the road. One was heavyset and unshaven, sporting an ancient Bruins baseball hat.

The other likely had cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease. He was unable to straighten his back, and seemed to have one functioning arm. He wore a long gray coat and his hair was pulled back into a ponytail. The kid wondered if he was an old biker.

When it came time to pay, the pony tail guy offered a credit card. He had to twist his body so that his shoulder was practically pressed against the cash register, an obviously painful process that evoked trying to pull a Goodyear tire out of shape. His hand shook slightly; after two tries, he slid the credit card through the electronic device.


The pony tail guy inhaled powerfully, and dropped the credit card into the the bottomless pocket of his gray overcoat.  Using the same hand, he reached for the plastic pen to sign for his purchase. It took him two tries to securely grasp it.

“C’mon. C’mon. Just make a squiggle,” said the triangular faced woman.

The pony tail man moved his face close to the electronic credit card scanner, like he was cutting a diamond. He etched out his name, one letter, at a time. He breathed like he was swimming laps in a pool.

“Just make a squiggle,” said the triangular faced woman. “Let’s go.”

He finished. He left. Without waiting for his receipt. He walked out the sliding doors with his friend. Between the two of them, they were carrying a burden of tons.

The kid walked to the register. He looked at the triangular faced woman.

“When you die,” he said, “the people at the funeral home are going to complain that nobody showed up to your wake. They spent all that time, and nobody showed up. Twat.”

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