Now this is what you call a real store Clearance Sale
“Going Out of Business! Everything in the Store and Stock must Go!” Kyle Lawton groaned aloud and shook his head in disgust as he read the notice. He frowned as he roughly crumbled and tossed the bold printed flier insert into the corner of the department store receiving room.
“They got these stinking notices under the wiper blades on every single car out in the parking lot, Danny," he added. "They got 'em posted all over the damned place. What a bummer and kick in the ass this is. I mean like this is my third year to be working here in the receiving room. Even my boss, Budman never said a single fricken word they were closing their doors forever before today. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised he's not in yet checking out some of the hot young chics for the last time. Horny dirty old man," he chuckled. I seen his beat up old Plymouth in the lot, but I didn't see his ugly old puss out on the floor.
"He's probably in the men's room beating his carrot flipping through the pages of Playboy or something,' said Danny with a slight snicker.
"Whatever. But anyway, you know this closing, you know t's kinda strange in a way. Like it wasn’t even in the Journal newspaper. Now I’m out of fricken job. I know when I tell my folks it will be a shock to them too. I just punched in a little late this morning like I always do Danny, and there it was. A shitty stinking little yellow post-a-note on my time card informing me that today is my last day on the job. What a kick in the ass.” Kyle struggled to keep his angry voice down and placed his hands into the back pockets of his Lee jeans. He shoved a skid pallet jack across the cement floor with his work boot. Anxiety and deep frustration were etched into the wrinkles of his forehead as he tried to make some sense of the situation.
“Yeah, same here, man. I'm always a few minutes late, too. I guess Spellman got tired of telling me about it. He accepts it now that I ain't getting outta bed and here on time for no minimum wage dead end job. Hey, practically all of us who work here come in late. It's no big deal. I got a little yellow slip on my time card, too saying this was my last day. You’d think the old gray haired management bastards of Mammoth Mart would have given us some notice ahead of time so we could at least hunt for another job somewhere else,” Danny Jackson said removing his Atlanta Braves baseball cap. "I didn't see my boss walking around the store this morning either. Just as well. Maybe he's with Budman in the men's room and their taking turns," Danny said playfully punching Kyle in the shoulder with a laugh. He lazily leaned against a pallet of flattened cardboard.
Their laughed quickly faded and the solemn slap of reality quickly replaced theit smiles. There was a tingle of resentment in his tone of voice.
“I never imagined Mr. Spellman, the store manager, letting them big shots at the top get away with something like this so suddenly,” offered Danny. He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples attempting to soothe the hangover results of another night of heavy partying.
“Just don’t seem fair, Danny," said Kyle. "I mean this store has been here for, oh shit, at least forty years, if not more. My own mother worked here when she was in high school. You know what I’m saying? One of those after school jobs as a sales clerk in the jewelry department just before she got married to my dad.” His face echoed a strained look as if the weight of the world lay heavy on his shoulders. “I mean like I got bills to pay too. These sleazy bastards got no consideration except for themselves to go and do something like this to us without no notice or reason why.” Kyle rambled releasing more of the bitterness of his harbored feelings. “Everything in the Store Must Go, the sign on the window out front states! What a bunch of bullshit.”
Danny raked his fingers through his matted hair and sighed heavily. “Well they got those new stores like Wal-Mart and Kohls that moved in just down the road on Route 98 over a year ago and I guess they lured a lot of this stores customers away. But that’s business I guess. The big fish eats the little fish. But screw it. Hey, look cheer up a bit. As like a final farewell of our last day working for Mammoth Mart before they open the front doors for the customers, why don’t we just fire up a joint for old times sake? You know, let's get high and celebrate for last time. Spellman always said he wished he could fire and get rid of all the teenagers working here because we were always screwing off and sneaking into a backroom somewhere and getting buzzed.” Danny smiled and reached for his flip top box of Marlboros. He chuckled and with an educated flip of his thumb, he produced a finely hand rolled cigarette. Now ain't this something? This little number comes to us the compliments of Mr. Spellman himself, who said he got it from some shoplifter."
"No Way!" screamed Kyle.
"Way dude. It must have been awesome to see that happen! Spellman actually took a joint off a shoplifter. You know before the police hauled the dude's sorry ass down to the station,” Danny snickered.
“The sorry shit probably figured he would rather face a shoplifting charge than a possession of a controlled substance charge anytime," Kyle said scanning the room. Come on man, let’s fire that sucker up and get twisted before anyone comes in and see us. But now that I think of it, what are they gonna do to us if they do catch us? Fire us?” Kyle said with a sarcastic laugh and reached for his Bic lighter. “Come on Baby Light my Fire, as Jim Morrison would have said if he were alive. Poor bastard.”
"Peek out through the swinging doors just to be on the safe side. Make sure no one is coming," Danny whispered.
Kyle quickened his steps and pushed open the swinging doors of the receiving room. He studied the commodity laden aisles for any other sales clerks at their work station. He smiled and signaled the coast was clear.
“Come on let’s go into the bailing room," he pointed toward an adjoining room. "Grab a few of those empty boxes on the way. I have to flatten the rest of these storage boxes and tie them up with the wire before the trash collector truck arrives,” Danny said circling around the pallet and placing a hand on the steel door leading to the bailing room. “Old man Gladding, the Security Guard won’t be able to smell it if we smoke in there. Just make sure you close the metal door. Damn hydraulic bailing machine is loud as hell when it compresses and flattens the boxes."
"I didn’t see anybody out on the floor, not even Gladding, so it looks like the place is ours for a while. Gladding is probably in mourning crying his eyes out. Most likely they are all in the employee's lounge having a last cup of coffee and bitching about where they are going to get another job too,” said Kyle.
“Old man Gladding wouldn't know the difference between grass and tobacco anyway even if he does happen to pop in here and catch us smoking. I mean like Godzilla and him are the same age. Wouldn't it be something if he didn't even know he’s about to be canned himself?” Kyle laughed. “If he does smell anything at all, he’ll point to the sign that says No Smoking because of the plastic and cardboard around. Then he'd wave a finger and say he was gonna report us to Spellman. Yeah right, sure you will, Fart Face.” Kyle mimicked the security guard as they sat with their backs against the cinder block wall.
“Someone ought to burn the place down seeing what they have done to all of us. Putting us out of a job like this without notice. I mean practically all of us working here are teenagers.” Danny said lighting up the joint and inhaling the acrid smoke deep into his lungs.
“Pass that joint over, Dude. What is it Colombian or California home grown?” Kyle asked reaching and inhaling the smoke from the lighted end before properly placing the joint to his lips. “Did you catch sight of Marcia or Jocelyn at their desks in the office when you rang in at the time clock?” Kyle closed his eyes and inhaled a double hit on the joint and held his breath.
“This stuff we are smoking is Acapulco Gold with a touch of angel dust according to Spellman,” Danny said motioning with his fingers as if sprinkling some magic ingredient over the top of the cigarette.
“Naw, I didn’t see Marica or any chics in the office at all. And come to think of it, even out on the floor it seemed pretty empty. I glanced down the concession stand to see if Matt or Aaron was in but I didn't see them either. Kinda weird in a way. There's always someone at the coffee counter by the time I ring in.”
"Did you hear me, man? I said that Spellman said this stuff has got dust on it!"
“No way, dude. Spellman knows about angel dust? Doesn't he know it's another word for hog tranquilizer?” Kyle flashed him an unbelieving stare.
“Way Dude. Yeah,I guess so. The way he smiled when he handed it to me, he seemed like he was an authority on the stuff," said Danny. He said this joint we got had just a touch of the stuff for effect. You know, the way he was holding it and smiling proudly in all, it was almost as if he rolled the joint himself. But I see you ain’t complaining.” Danny grinned assuring him of his claim.
“Shit, talk about being wasted. Two hits on this and I am already buzzed. I'd like to get the dude's name who had this stuff. Maybe we can post his bail!" Kyle laughed uncontrollably.
"Wait a second. Wait a second," Kyle laughed again. His speech began to slur. "Like there was no one on the floor yet either you said when you came in? Maybe they got fed up and just walked out when they saw it was their last day too. Wouldn’t it be something if like no one came into work today? Well one thing for sure we get the last laugh!”
They both leaned against one another and laughed a reverberating laugh which echoed throughout the concrete chamber. The heavy compressor arm of the steel bailing machine unexpectedly roared to life as it inched its indestructible descent into the iron chamber crushing the contents of the bin without reservation.
“What the hell?” Kyle said staring in disbelief at the fully extended hydraulic cylinder piston rod. “Danny did you push the red button to start this thing up?” Another unfinished sentence hung in the air as they both stood in awe at the iron behemoth’s independence as it’s huge flat iron plate repeatedly slammed into the chamber before finally coming to a halt.
Both of them were clumsy in attempting to stand upright and stabilize their coordination due to the effects of the drug and leaned against the coolness of the cinder blocks. Kyle raised what seemed to be his lifeless arm and pointed toward the metal door of the bailer. “Please tell me someone threw cases of red paint in the hopper. There’s red stuff dripping down from the crack in the bottom of the panel door. Just below the metal emblem. See it?”
“Screw this man. I am out of here.” Danny moaned. “This is giving me the creeps. I didn’t start the machine up and you sure as hell didn’t. It can’t start by itself. That red button has to be held in for it to run.”
“Okay, maybe there’s an electrical short in the system somewhere, Danny. Let’s just open the hopper door and see if maybe the paint department put some of its shit in there to get rid of it,” Kyle suggested and reached for the long iron lever to unlatch the door. “Come on stop your bickering and just help me swing the door open a bit.”
“I don’t like this at all, Dude. I mean suppose it isn’t paint?” Danny panicked filled eyes reached for Kyle’s arm. “I feel like I am suffocating in here and the room is spinning.”
“Well what do you think the red stuff is? Fingernail polish?” Kyle said rolling his glazed eyes. He pulled his arm free of his friend’s grasp. With a heavy fumbling grunt he disengaged the lever with a thud and pulled the six-foot iron door away from the hopper as he fell to his knees. Waves of nausea washed over Danny as the grey matter that once neatly and comfortably housed inside the head of Percy Gladding spilled freely out onto the concrete floor like undercooked pudding.
The mangled and dismembered body parts of the teenage employees of Mammoth Mart were mashed together in a vomit stricken psychedelic mural painted inside the hopper of a bailing machine tomb.
On rubbery legs, the Danny and Kyle stumbled as they attempted to back away from the sight of the mutilated corpses in their disarrayed stained clothes of many of their teenage associates.
“Danny, I can’t move. My entire body is numb.” Both boys lay prone against the coolness of the bailing room floor staring overhead at the single white light bulb that illuminated the room. Their hypnotic concentration was broken by the sound of the voice behind them.
“Late again boys? Well I won't have to dock your pay this time. Store is closing boys, and like the sign out front says, “Everything in Stock must go, and that does means everything.” Mr. Spellman started to smile as he pointed and pushed a hand held remote control module unit button, which once again brought the huge bailing machine to life. "Oh and if I may correctly add to your statement of you both having the last laugh. Rest in peace assured, I will laugh the best."
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|Reviewed by Jane Flowers
|Entertaining. A great read. Plenty of room to expand this later into a novel.|
|Reviewed by Cynthia Borris
|Reviewed by Tinka Boukes
|Much enjoyed this read.......thanks for sharing your talent!!
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Terrifically entertaining read, Chuckie! Well done!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
Thanks for your review on my last story; it is much appreciated! Feel free to check out the others in my evergrowing "Letters" series; think you will like all of them! I have a lot, and there will be more to come!