short stories ~ literary fiction ~ social commentary
copyright © 1999 - 2013
I was working through my day, busy, a week before Christmas, a cashier in a major supermarket. Even with 17 registers open, most with a bagger, I was still 2 and 3 deep all day. When people are waiting, I work as quickly as I can without seeming to be hurrying the customer.
I try to strike the balance.
I worked on a large order, moving products across my register to my left, talking to the customer about our recent disappointing snowfall when the customer said: “There it goes!”
In one motion, I turned to my left, stooped and caught the jar of Ragu Sweet Tomato Basil pasta sauce squarely in my palm four inches from the floor. Standing, I placed the jar back on the belt, returning to the order.
“Nice catch,” the customer told me.
I shrugged. “Thanks. Happens all the time.” All the time, or most of the time, the jar shatters on the floor.
This, a perfect moment.