It was like that one Volkswagen commercial. You know, the one that reintroduced Trio’s “Da Da Da” to a nation that had forgotten a group called Trio ever existed. There were differences, of course. (If there hadn’t been, I would have said, “It was that one Volkswagen commercial” and been done with it.) For one thing, I was alone, so I had no one to react to (or to react to me). For another, I was on foot, so I didn’t have a car to tool around in. And do I have to mention that my misadventure was not scored by any '80s music whatsoever? (Well, I suppose I could have had a boom box or a Walkman or whatever portable device people use to listen to music nowadays, but I didn’t, so now I have cleared that up.)
Fiction: June 2008 Archives
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when the decision was made to take over the office building through bloody insurrection, but once taken it was hard to go back on it.
The proverbial First Shot Fired on Fort Sumter, as it were, was not an actual gunshot, per se, but its reverberations were just as epochal to us. It happened during the lunch hour. The support staff was gathered at the long table in the break room, as was our wont, when one of the senior staff – I don’t even remember which one it was – came in and imperiously declared that we needed to eat somewhere else because they were expecting guests. Now, we in the support staff understand the importance of impressing visiting dignitaries and potential clients, but the lunch hour is the lunch hour. Disturb that sacred ritual at your peril – and that’s exactly what the senior staff was in for. The only question was how much of it and when would it be provoked.
Christa knew she was going to have a problem the moment she reached the counter. Of course, the fact that she was being called to the counter at all meant there was some sort of problem, but she knew how to handle them. That was her job, after all. For an extra 50 cents an hour, she got to bear the brunt of the irate customers. Some were just bruntier than others. This one looked like he had taken a course in bruntiness.
The customer stood before her, fuming, holding an opened CD in one hand and crumpled receipt in the other. He looked like he was used to getting his way, and was openly contemptuous of anybody who contradicted him. This was not idle speculation on Christa’s part; this was based on three years of handling returns from customers just like him. She steeled herself. She had the impression she was going to need all the steeling she could get.