Cupo

Grace Mary Potts

Australia

My life is comprised of inconsistencies, daydreaming, procrastination techniques and occasionally, writing.

Message to Readers

I'm always eager to improve my writing so, if you find the time, please afford me some advice on how you think I can. Constructive criticism is appreciated and compliments are very welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read my piece!

To Work in a Book Shop

February 21, 2015

PROMPT: Photo Prompt

1

Acrylic nails tapped out a rhythm in repeated clicks against the shiny surface of the checkout counter. Around her people shuffled through the shop, skimming their fingers over the spines of book after book and then occasionally pulling one off the shelf to inspect the blurb. In that way people do when they’re either having difficulty finding a novel or trying to appear sophisticated but indifferent at the same time. Idiots.

In the right corner, in the children’s section, a flaxen haired boy with dimpled cheeks clumsily thrust a picture book in his mother’s face with a hopeful yet demanding grin. She sighed a little but smiled weakly and placed it on top of the growing pile stacked in her arms. Then in the left corner a man wearing an ill fitted and not to mention god awful brown coat stroked a finger absentmindedly across the upside down cover of a book that she was pretty sure was an exposition on the many unknown uses of snake poison. Every now and then he would look up from the book and cautiously peer at the security camera on the ceiling a few feet away from the check out, then narrow his eyes and the return his attention to molesting the creepy book on snake venom.

She’d noticed him an hour ago but suspected he’d probably been there longer. Her gaze shifted to the phone on the desk and she tapped her fingers in three sharp beats. Despite the immense creepy vibes she was getting he seemed relatively harmless, so she supposed she’d wait another ten minutes. If he was still there then, she’d call security. Probably. But maybe that’d be overreacting. Biting her lip, she surreptitiously glanced up at him again and - Woah he's looking right at her! Best just call security now. He was clearly a rapist, or a serial killer, or a mass murderer… or high. He looked like he might be high.

The distinct thump of a pile of books being dropped onto the counter quite rudely halted her train of thought and alerted her to what was probably her first actual customer since two o’clock. It was the tired looking mother and her vibrating son. He blinked wide eyes at her and then grinned toothily, excitedly pointing at the pile of books as if to say, “Look, look! I’m going to read about dinosaurs!”

She couldn’t help the small smile tugging at her lips and sighed inwardly, pulling back her fingers from where they’d been inching toward the phone. Meeting she woman’s weary eyes, she tried to look somewhat sympathetic as she picked up the books one by one and asked, “Would you like a bag for these?

The rest of the day passed by much the same. She spent an awful lot of time staring longingly at the clock on the wall and the rest of it contemplating calling security. The guy left an hour after the dimpled kid did and she never ended up calling. But it wasn’t totally boring. She did manage to have a nice conversation with a girl who seemed to consider Harry Potter to be the epitome of literary excellence and spent half an hour picking up books when a boy with wheeled shoes, she later found out were called Heelys, knocked over a stand while he was skidding around the store and stubbornly ignoring his father yelling after him.

The store steadily emptied and the day seemed to meld into a blur of sounds and colour, muted by the steady passage of time as she watched, in slight deperation, the minute hand tick its way around the clock face. At five o’clock her feet hurt from standing up for so long and she thought her legs might give way as she turned off the lights and rolled down the door. Then she was making her way out of the empty shop and down the escalator, passing by the few remaining shoppers and staff as she walked to the car park. All the while contemplating the reasoning behind why the hell she ever thought it'd be easy to work in a book shop. 

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