[Short Story #40] - Immortal Store Clerk

in #writing3 years ago (edited)

The writing prompt was:
"You have lived since the dawn of time, but instead of being or knowing someone famous, you have always existed as a store clerk or its analog."

Provided by some reddit user I can't recall the name of.
Sorry to whoever you are for not giving you proper credit.

Image courtesy of @rocking-dave

“I’m out of Marlboro, is Camel okay?”

“Yeah, sure, whatever. Give me 2 packs.”

“That’ll be $69.45, please.”

“Here, it’s fine, keep it,” the man slid $70 worth of banknotes on the counter.

“Thank you very much and have a nice day! Good day, sir! What can I get you?”

“Gas on 3,” a young man, around 20, most likely 21, stepped up wearing very loose clothing, playing with a toothpick in his mouth. Having worked the cash register for a long time, I could easily tell how and when he stole a chocolate bar, trying his best so I wouldn’t see.

“Anything else?”

“Nope, that’s all.”

“You sure?”


“You sure you don’t want to pay for that chocolate bar in your pocket?”

“Oh come on, man! How did you see that?”

I didn’t reply, just shrugged.

“Fine, I’ll pay.”


“You know what?” He reached behind his back and pulled a pistol from under his jacket. “Fuck that! Empty the register, go! Paying $2 for a chocolate bar? Fuck no!”

“Sir, I will have to ask you to put the gun down.” I had foreseen he would do that, and also knew he wouldn’t have what it takes to fire.

“Are you deaf? Give me the cash!” He flailed his gun through the air.

“Listen, there’s a camera up here, see?” I pointed above me, “And over there also. You sure you want to risk jail over 45 dollars and 22 cents?” I made sure to emphasize the 22 cents.

“Fuck you! Are you giving me the money or what?”

I shook my head no and stayed completely calm.

“Oh, fuck this! I’m out!”

He grabbed some 3 or 4 chocolate bars on his way out, while some more ended on the floor.

Soon after he drove off a lady who I immediately recognized walked in through the door.

“Hello, Ronik.”

“Hello, Becca. What can I do for you on this fine day?” She came around every week, sometimes every 10 days.

“The usual report will be fine.”

I crouched and moved the hand sanitizer, toilet paper and the air freshener out of the way to pick up the report I had done for the last week.

Since the dawn of time, which coincides with the time of my own existence, I have been studying various species and since the evolution of humans, I was so fascinated by them I dropped my studies on alligators to study them instead. I found it most effective to work as a store clerk, a waiter, or any other job that lets me get very close to my subjects and interact with them without them ever feeling any kind of pressure or the need to pretend.

“Anything special this week?” She asked when I handed the report over. She was lazy and didn’t want to look at it herself.

“Not really, no.”

“So your research is stalling?”

“It’s actually doing very well. And if they continue to act this way, I’ll have the final article on humans ready in 37 years.”

“Final? You never mentioned you’re giving up studying humans,” Her forehead wrinkled.

“If my predictions are correct there won’t be a single human left to study 37 years from now.”

“Oh. Well. We’ll see.” She packed the report I gave her into her leather bag and walked toward the door. “I’ll see you next week.”

“No chocolate bar for you?” She left without answering.

I fired up the cameras again and waited patiently for the next subject to walk in through the door.

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Happy ending
#1 - Living off the grid
#3 - A young thief
#8 - A traitor from hell
#9 - Not alone
#10 - Millitary testing grounds
#13 - Bigfoot
#14 - And angel in love with a whore
#15 - Down the rabbit hole
#18 - Reborn as a 10 year old
#19 - A struggling door to door salesman
#24 - Rebellious talking food
#26 - Ssssnails!
#28 - Mission Erased
#32 - Dog's breath
#38 - Abducted
#2 - A dolphin tea party
#4 - Stained hands
#7 - The giant depressed onion
#21 - The red star
#25 - Long-distance Relationship
#27 - A dream
#30 - Potato
#31 - Dragons
#33 - The Jungle
#35 - A life lesson
#36 - Unicorn meat
#39 - The Purple Road
#40 - Immortal Store Clerk

#5 - The homeless man
#6 - A blind date
#11 - The wealthy man
#12 - Happy ending
#16 - Asshole soulmate
#17 - My bunny Fluffy
#20 - War veteran
#22 - Wishing to meet a villain
#23 - School trip

#29 - Green Chewing Gum
#34 - Turkey Trauma
#37 - Stuck in a loop

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Excellent story, with a gloomy prediction. Funny thing is that his way of observing is the best way to learn about species. When you think about it lions don't know nat geo team is filming them, right? Who can guarantee that we also are not subjects of observation. Short story, but deep one

Exactly what I was going for, yeah!
When we're at the doctor's, we all act, even if only a little bit.
When we're around friends, random strangers who we find attractive, ... "insert just about every encounter here".... we're always worried what others will think about us.. we never truly let go...
But in such seemingly "meaningless" encounters, we tend to not care enough to put up a farse. Especially if we're at, say, a gas station abroad when we're sure to never meet that same person again... then we don't care how we act... In a sense, our true selves show.

Kind of sad, really.

What an interesting concept. Makes me reflect on how I treat the average store clerk I think I may never see again. I wonder if that's a good measure of a person. Maybe it's a good indicator anyway. Although, there will be outliers, such as a bad day, or a busy morning, etc.

Too often have I seen people who appear very kind and loving be complete assholes to people they "value"* less (sadly, often times this means the workers I had mentioned)... And I believe it does indeed tell a lot about a certain individual.
The way you treat the ones you need not treat any special way says something about you... And too often we forget other people have feelings too. :| Especially when we're having a bad day ourselves, as you mentioned, and need to "vent" ourselves somehow, and somewhere.. And what more convenient way than to trouble someone we'll never see again?
Which is also why I try my very hardest to treat everyone - regardless if I'll ever see them again or if I'm having a bad day - the best I can. Make these people's days maybe just a little brighter. And if I can't do that, at least not make their day shittier.
I'll admit I can't keep smiling all the time, but I managed to contain myself on my bad days to just communicate as little as possible. Stay quiet instead of being offensive. Save us all the bad mood. :p

You know, this may seem like a small thing, but I think it is essential. It can be tough to do on occasion. But I try to do the same--just be congenial and gracious. And I think it is uber important to value and treat everyone the same. I'm all about the kumbaya in that respect.

It takes a lot to get me to be cold toward someone, and even then, I'm still going to be courteous.

It takes a lot to get me to be cold toward someone, and even then, I'm still going to be courteous

Exactly! I'm the same now!
It's hard sometimes when someone snaps at you, and it's sad you never get credit for ... being the nicer person. But it does make living with my own self a whole much easier :P

And since I mentioned not getting credit for our endeavors... Kudos to you for trying your best! You're making the world a better place. Even if no one notices... ;)

Well, that would be nice if I could leave the world better than I found it. I hope that is the case. At the end of the day I am stuck with myself. Every day. No way around that. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be stuck with someone who is nice to be around. I don't know if I succeed at it as much as I'd like. But it's definitely better than being some other people I know!

Exactly my thoughts!
At the end of the day I am the one who has to live with myself, and my actions. Having a clean conscious sure helps me sleep at night. ^^

Beautiful story and well narrated

Thank you very much ;D

I really like this one.

Thanks :D Very happy to hear you do ^^