A Likely Story
by Jean Blasiar
“Miss Hastings, do you know why you are being dismissed?”
“I believe so. I was slow.”
“Not just slow, Miss Hastings, you deliberately bogged down the cashier line in some sort of protest. I heard it was about the layoffs.”
“You have five minutes to tell your side of the story, Miss Hastings.”
“Yes, sir. Well… I was waiting on a customer who wanted twelve of the cashmere sweaters with the tiny pearl buttons and who insisted that I button every sweater before she would take them. The buttons are very small and the buttonholes are even smaller. I was afraid that she would notice how impossible it was to re-button the sweaters and we would lose the sale for
$2,400 plus tax.”
“Wait. How much?”
“$2,400. Plus tax. They’re $200 each, in twelve different colors. The customer wanted one of each. They were on hangars, unbuttoned. Anyway, there were several people in line behind this customer and I was trying my best to re-button the sweaters when Mister Hodges, my manager, came over to assist me. Unfortunately, Mister Hodges has very large hands—how well, I know—and he was unable to hook the little hole over the tiny pearl button also. When I bent down under the counter to get some more tissue paper for the sweaters, Mister Hodges bent down to help me—not that I needed help with the tissue paper—and that’s when he cupped his hand around my breast and—I guess you could say—tweaked it. He whispered that if I lost this sale, he’d deal with me in the back room…again.”
“Miss Hastings…” Mister Herbert said, turning quite scarlet.
“It wasn’t so much the tweak that made me scream, “Get out of here!” as it was the big spider in the box of tissue paper under the cashier’s desk. I was afraid that the customer thought I was talking to her because she stormed out of line calling Mister Hodges and the store some vile names. I believe she witnessed the tweak. She left the department screaming how I was an innocent “slave”… I believe that was the word she used, “slave”. Anyway, I was an innocent slave to a lecherous molester and she saw the whole thing. She even volunteered to be a witness if my sexual harassment suit against the store went to trial.”
Mister Herbert was now gasping for breath, grabbing for his water glass and pitcher.
“I guess it’s a good thing that Mister Hodges left early, right after the woman who screamed at him, “I saw that!” hit him with her purse. Oh, and the other three women in the line were returning sweaters with the tiny pearl buttons. Before I could finish writing up the last refund, I was told that you wanted to see me.”
Miss Hastings smiled at Miser Hodges as she waited for him to speak.
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Jean Blasiar is a published author with 12 books for middle grades, playwright (one of her plays was optioned by 20th Century Fox for a pilot), and theatrical producer. Please visit her website, www.jeanblasiar.com, for a complete listing of her books, plays and productions.