Chocolate Suspect

Today I walked into a candy story to buy a gift and faced a group of employees huddled around their counter.

“Welcome!” said one clerk, rushing over to me with a candy tray.  “Care for a sample?”  She burbled with excess energy.   In contrast, the others seemed grim, frozen in place.

“Thank you,” I said. 

She shoved the tray in front of me.  “Your choice – – choose two!” 

This woman overdosed on cheer and friendliness this morning.  It didn’t feel real.  Why was she working so hard?  Getting an employee evaluation?

As I made my selections and chose my gifts, she prattled on, asking me questions about my life and candy preferences. 

Was this a new corporate policy here?   Best friends buy more?

Making my way to the mix-and match-chocolates, the clerks at the end of the counter asked one young man employee, “Do you want to help her?”

He said, “Will you guard the money?”

I chose my husband’s favorite white chocolate crunch for him and sidled down to the register where the young man rang up my purchases.  The other clerks had all disappeared save one, who stood next to me, her hand firmly on the doorknob leading to the back room.  Her face, planted one inch from mine, was ominous as she glared, fiercely defending her turf.  I wanted to reassure her I really was only there to buy candy, but I held my tongue. 

As I left through the door, I heard a decisive click as she turned her keys in the lock after me. 

 Ah ha.  I had accidentally walked in an unlocked door early, before the store was open and they had their cash out.  They weren’t ready for customers, but were stunned I had gotten inside.   No wonder electricity sparked the air.

Writing Prompts

1.  Every person reacts differently.  Write a backstory and scene about the fun-loving nonstop talking clerk who reacted to stress with friendliness.  Next, write a scene and backstory about the suspicious clerk who acted with intimidation. 

2.  What if?   What if it wasn’t chocoholic me who walked into the store the morning they forgot to lock the door?  Write past the stereotype.  Can you create a scene that isn’t what you would typically expect?  Use humor?  A quirky character?

3.  Use one of these to motivate a story, poem, or personal narrative:  chocolate, doors, locks, being someplace at the wrong time, being someplace at the right time, the clerk at the candy store.

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