Saturday, 4 April 2015

Novel thing: Nail Polish in a Video Store

Hello guys, I promised you a new bit of fiction and here it is. I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo again, hopefully I'll be able to complete it properly and wrote this from a prompt from Awesome Writing Prompts on Tumblr. If you look through them then you could probably guess what prompt this is and what element is currently missing from the story. It's a work in process so I'm not sure how long it will be by time its finished, but let's label it a short for now as it what I intend to write for this Camp NaNoWriMo. 
Nail Polish in a Video Store

I sat in what had to be one of the last video stores in the world, painting my nails black to match the mood the store gave me. I couldn’t complain, it was a job until this place finally closed down or I left for uni, which was in three months time. I couldn’t decide which was most likely to happen first. Every day (except Tuesdays) I expected to show up for work, only to be told that store was finally closed, my manager Tulisa in tears despite the years of warning.

Tulisa cries over everything: me getting a job here, me applying for uni, me getting into uni, Ted managing to get a job at the local supermarket. Now, that was reliable work. I had tried and failed to get a summer job there.

I’m certain I only got a job here because I was the only one who applied. My main evidence was from the fact that we had yet to replace Ted and a “Help wanted” sign had been in the window for a months. We didn’t really need that much help, but legally I wasn’t meant to work noon to 2 almost every day.

I had suggested to Tulisa that we just cut down the hours, but she said the regional manager said no. I was surprised out to find out that our general manager still cared. I mean we were meant to be 24-hour-Videos but we had let that slip with people not owning video-type players anymore. I hadn’t saw one in at least five years till I started working here. We’re the only ones watching the tapes. The dvds went out now and again, and there was one guy who came in every weekend and rented Resident Evil on PlayStation 1. Why we had the video game was mysterious as why we still functioned as business.

It was a Friday night so I was expecting him any minute and almost done with my third coat of polish. I was planning to put a full bottle on my nails to see if that would stop it from chipping as soon as I finished. The bell ranged, alerting me to potential shoplifters. I didn’t lift my head and smile like Tulisa had trained me to do. I should probably turn off the slasher film that was playing, but it was 10pm at night and if it was a kid they’ve probably seen worse if they out this late. It was from the 80s and the gore was bad and fuzzy anyway.

“I saw the job wanted sign,” a deep voice says next to me. I jumped; I hadn’t heard them walk up next to me. Fuck I messed up my nail; I switched off the pathetic gore fest before looking up.

I look up to see some pale guy, in a long leather jack. He almost looks like he’s from the 80s.

“The manger isn’t here,” I burst out. God, he was attractive, I mean my type. I cough into my hand to calm myself. I didn’t know who he was so that probably meant he was too old for me and I was leaving in three months. I’m just startle because he made me jump. That’s it.

“I mean, you’ll have to come back when the manager’s here”.

“When will he be here?”

“SHE’ll be here tomorrow,” I say now annoyed, I hate that everyone always goes with male pronouns.

“See you then,” he says and walks straight out the store. Being annoyed left me with him walking out the door. If he shows up tomorrow then I guess we’re working together.

I put him out of my mind and get back to work. I still have half a bottle left.


 The next morning I’m welcomed to Tulisa behind the counter, smiling at me even though I was late fifteen minutes.

“How is my Assistant Manager today?” Assistant Manager without anyone to manage was hollow. Though, Ted had gotten a job at the supermarket with that title. I miss Ted; he was fun to talk to. He was a pothead who had been working here from when this place made a profit and he made me do nothing.

Tulisa on the other hand, still takes this job seriously and we do the sad version of working here: Trying. Tulisa is middle age so doesn’t quite get how impossible it be to keep this place going. It must be losing a fortune or our best customers only came on a Tuesday.

“Fine, how is my Manager today?” Looking for another job, I hope.

“Well, I think we’re finally going to be able to fill that job,” She says happily. I guess Tall, Dark and handsome has some competition. “And he wants to work nights as well so maybe we’re be able to go back to actually being 24-hours.” She nervously laughs.

“I thought for the store to be open, you need at least Assistant Manager to be in,” I ask cautiously.

“Company policy says so, but it also says we’re to be open 24-hours. If being so short staffed and you’re having school…”

“I don’t have school any more, I can work all the nights you want me to.”

“Honey, I meant university, you’re going in September, it be good to have a someone trained up to replace you.”

I stared at her blankly, we weren’t replacing Ted. She was replacing me. My chair wasn’t even cold.

I slammed my bag down behind the counter.

“I’m going to change the specials,” I say walking to the front of the store and began tearing down the displays in the window. I was meant have done it Thursday, but my clipped nails were more important. I don’t why I was angry; this was just a dumb job to run the summer out. I had it since I was sixteen and it was my first job but that wasn’t problem. I never saw this place lasting longer than I did. It had been here since I born and I expected it to leave when I did.

I had claimed down by the time I had put the sign up saying we were doing 3 for 2 on Tapes/DVDS/Games with a free bag of popcorn with every tape that goes out. Meaning I get to eat a lot of popcorn before it goes out of date. I continued to avoid Tulisa by genrising and alphabetising the shelves. It’s a good thing I did, considering I found “Space Sluts II” in the kids section. Or maybe Disney will really do anything for money.

“Alex we have interview for 5pm, help me come up some questions?” Tuilsa asks me as I finished with the “Adult” section. I just found “Home Alone” in here; I do not want to think about that.

“Sure, we do have to figure out how to ask if she willing to prostitute herself to our league of loyal customers without directly saying it.”

“Alex,” she sounds exasperated, but that might be from the fact one out of ten customers hit on us. It had been one in five, but old Mrs Cumbles only had eyes for Ted. She gives us weekly updates of his “young muscles”. That might be worse than being hit on by an old man who couldn’t decide on my gender. Whether he called me “Girlie” or “Son”, it was always followed by some weird come on.

“He’s coming in at six tonight.” I raised my eyebrows at that.

“A bit late” I stated. Tulisa usually left me at it at five.

“Yes, but he said he couldn’t come in any early.” And we really need someone else to list as working at Midnight. I was going to miss the money, not that I had spent any of it.

“What about your kids?”

“An extra hour alone won’t hurt them and my Rupert is almost thirteen now.”

Yes, trust the S1 with the P1.

“Maybe you should go home at three and come back for the interview”

“What if the Regional manager comes in for surprise inspection?” It would be about time. In the two years, I had been working here, I hadn’t met him.

“I’ll say you had to pick up your kids early.”

“Okay, I’ll go and check them on now.” I checked my watch, it was already three.

“See you then,” I said awkwardly as she walked out the door. I sat down and got my nail polish out.


It was five forty-five and Tulisa wasn’t back yet. Should I be worried?

God, I hope this guy wasn’t the early type. I paced around the store, was I going to have conducted an interview myself? This was when Tulisa came through the door, her kids in tow.

“Sorry, Rupert was being difficult,” she frustrated. “Pick a video from the kids section, under 12 Rupert.” It was good thing; I had depornalise the kids section.

“It’s okay, she hasn’t showed up yet,” the bell ranged as I said this to a hooded guy wearing sunglasses and leather gloves. What is he a spy?

If this was a normal day, he would just be a weirdo customer. But all bets on him being my potential co-worker. I felt a tugging on shirt.

“Alex, do my nails like last time?” Tulisa’s five year old wined.

“Not now Rupert,” I said knowing it was Louisa who had attracted herself to me.

“I’m not Rupert,” she giggled before letting go to look at the animated films. I walked behind the counter and sat down. The guy followed me and stood in front of the counter.

“Yours,” he asked slyly.

“Yes, it’s especially hard time during their 40s,” I say sarcastically. He took off his glasses.

“So is the manager here now?” he smirked at me. God, it was the guy from the last night. I nodded.

“Hello, you must be Mister Graves?” Tulisa asked as she ignored her children running through the alleys. I guess I have to re-organised the tapes tomorrow, or maybe I get the new employee to do it.

“Yes, that’s me,” he said.

“I am Tulisa Black and this is Alex Grimm,” Tulisa said making me realise that our team would be gothicly cliché if we hired this guy. I was the only gothish person we needed.  To think this used to be ran by a Black and Smith. Arr…maybe we should get Ted Smith back to balance this place out.

“I am the manager and Alex is the assistant manager.” Why ain’t I getting addressed by my surname?

“Alex will take you into my office while I deal with em, our current customers.”

“Follow me Graves to our lair,” I said I lift the counter thing to let him through the back with me. I direct him to the cramped office that I haven’t been properly in since I was interviewed. I pointed him to the chair I had sat in and dumped myself in Tulisa’s chair, picking up the clipboard with the questions I had made up, once I finished my newest nail polish coat.

“So Mr Graves I have some important questions to ask you to decide whether or you’re suited for this job. First, I would like to start with if you would be willing to change your name to something less ‘Goth’?”

“No, I’m quite fond of my name.”

“That will definitely count against you,” I say kidding on to write notes on the clipboard. Instead, I’m drawing what I think his skull looks like. “We’ve been told that we have too much of Goth theme going on with our names, it why we had to let Alysa Darkness go.”

“But the eyeliner and blue hair is okay,” he smirked at me.

“I fulfill the gothic stereotype working in a video store, which bring us to my next question, would be willing to dye your blonde and wear fake tan; it would be just for three months?”

“What happens after three…”

“Sorry, my…the customers took longer than I thought, let’s start the interview,” Tulisa interrupted.

I smile and stand up from the chair for her. She sits now as I stand against the shelves of broken tapes, where Ted had stood during my interview. He hadn’t started the interview with pointless questions while Tulisa rounded up her kids.

“I hope you and Alex were getting along.” He smiles while I do my best to keep my face blank.

“Your c.v. and references were very impressive,” Tulisa said in her professional voice.

The interview went for a similar vein, till Tulisa’s seven year old Leannah came through the door saying the DVD had went staticly like that horror film.

“If you have any questions, I’m sure Alex will be able to handle them,” Tulisa said as she left the office. I sat the sit back down.

“When do I start?” he asked as soon as Tulisa left.

“Between a day and six thousand years,” I say tonelessly. “We call you tomorrow to let you know.”

“I can’t wait to hear from you,” he winks at me. I draw a blank on how to respond to that.

He stands up and grabs my limp hand to shake it. He walks out of the office. Tulisa comes in soon after and I’m still sitting in her chair.

“Isn’t he great?” Tulisa says happily. “We’re lucky to get him, no idea why he would want to work here.” Wow, that was unusually negative for her. “He’ll be starting tomorrow at five, I’m sure you do a good a job of training him.”

Great, I got to deal with him on one to one bases for three months. This was either going to be great or terrible. 
Hopefully Continues Next Week...

 I'm off to write or something, comment what you think.

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