Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Karma Kills (Part 2) by Karen Cantwell

Tuesday stifled a gasp with her hand. Her heart pounded, her temples throbbed. She barely noticed how badly her hands were shaking when she snatched up the yellowed piece of paper, quickly hiding it away in her sweater pocket. Frantically, she scanned her surroundings. Across the aisle, Markie and Jenna chatted behind the Clinique counter engrossed in a girlfriend gab-fest. They looked ridiculous, but not guilty.

“Do I need to get a manager to help move this transaction along?” sneered her customer.

Tuesday peeked around the tall display that hid the grumbling woman from her view.

“Did you see someone?” she asked the frowny lady.


“Behind this counter. Did you see someone come behind here?”

“I haven’t even seen you for the last five minutes. Do I need to find a manager?”

The floor under Tuesday went wavy. She grabbed the counter for support. “No. Please.” Tuesday was unusually rattled. “I’ll ring you up.” She processed the transaction, slowly but surely, shaky hands and all. Finally, she handed a bag and receipt to the woman and took a deep breath while her mind raced. Should she call the police? Would these notes constitute a threat to her life? She decided to call her lawyer right away. Sort this out. Her break wouldn’t be for another hour, but she didn’t care. She had an emergency. Grabbing her purse and cell phone, she turned right into the chest of her department manager.

Calista Sams was easily four inches taller than Tuesday even before she slipped into her four inch spikey heels. That put Tuesday’s eyeballs just about even with Calista’s bountiful bosom. Tuesday knew Calista’s boobs better than she knew Calista. In fact, she wouldn’t be able to accurately report the color of Calista’s eyes, if asked. Brown? Blue? Who knew? She’d bet dollars to donuts though, that Calista the Colossal wore a thirty-six double-D.

“Calista,” mumbled Tuesday, “I didn’t see you there.”

“Apparently you didn’t see your customer either.” Calista probably wasn’t smiling – Tuesday couldn’t tell. Her breasts seemed more angry than usual, however. Tuesday’s problem with Calista wasn’t shared by most at Bergen’s. Calista was well liked by others, considered to be a kind and understanding boss. She did not seem to care for Tuesday, though. Women rarely did.

“No, no, I did,” Tuesday stammered, “I just finished ringing her up.” The floor was giving way underneath her feet again, and the room started to spin. “I’m just . . .”

“West, are you okay?”

“I’m just . . . no, no. I think I’m going to be sick.”

Calista put her hand on her hip. “Honestly. If it’s not one thing with you, it’s another.” She looked Tuesday up and down. “I need you here today, West. The new shipment will be here any minute and we need those displays up.”


“Karma Kills.”

“What?” Tuesday felt faint, gripping the counter for her life.

“Karma Kills.” Calista was rolling her eyes. “The new scent. Haven’t you seen these?” She pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. The very same size and color as the notes Tuesday had been finding. Calista held it up to Tuesday’s nose as if to make a point. She noted that it smelled lightly of citrus and lilies. Very nice.

“You were supposed to be promoting this all week, passing them out with your sales. So go take a break, then get back here and get to work.”

Tuesday considered her boss’ words. No, she realized with sudden clarity. She needed a less stressful job.

“I quit,” she said, taking her things. “Don’t worry – it’s not you, it’s me. You're a good person, Calista.”

The very next day, Tuesday called her lawyer, told him to draw up those divorce papers quickly. She wanted nothing from George, not a dime. Then she asked if he had need for full-time help in his office. A position with good pay and good benefits.

He didn’t, but he knew someone who did.

That’s how Tuesday West started a new life.

And she had a new favorite perfume: Karma Kills.



Ami Hendrickson said...

I rarely read (OK, truth in text -- change "rarely" to "never") online blogged fiction. Made an exception for this, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Liked it from the "Tuesday West was a marry-er by trade" hook. Just wanted to say thanks for the delightful excursion on a seldom-traveled side road. Best of luck to you in your writing endeavors!


Karen said...

Ami -- thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

Watery Tart said...

Read both parts of this last night and I really enjoyed it! I was looking for one that YOU were the author... I was tickled with the twist. Very nice.

I can't seem to get to the point fast enough for a short story, so I admire the skill.

Karen said...

Watery Tart -- thank you for reading and enjoying. My new goal for shorts is to write shorter and shorter pieces -- flash fiction -- and still entertain. We'll see how I do. :-)