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.
8 thoughts on “A Likely Story”
last line – miser hodges or mister hodges? or mister herbert because hodges left early.
a little too predictable – what d’ya think?
hastings herbert hodges – is it an alliteration or coincidence?
Hilarious. A classic David vs. Goliath story.
It is a little unfortunate that the last line wasn’t better proof read, but over all it was a good story with a not quite unexpected ending. I’ve been warned that using similar names in writing (Hastings, Hodges, Herbert) can lead to confusion and in this case it did. Also, it started out as a straight dialogue story and only got attributes right near the end, in which case using a tag or two for the first couple of lines would have helped.
Despite all that, the story gave me a morning smile, especially with the spider.
This was a very fun read as well as validation for those women who’ve had to endure a Hodges character.
The mixture of slapstick and social (in)justice didn’t quite work for me. AGB
As soon as you brought up the possibility of a suit, the reader gets an idea of how the story will end. Given that, the last line is, for me, a bit weak; a bit of a let down. The progression is good – it just needs a stronger finish to top it off.
Thank you all for taking the time to comment. Sorry about the typo and the name. I appreciate the comments.