Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Finding Justice," a short story by Connie Cook



It was a busy Friday evening at the local grocers. All the checkouts were full and I was in the express line, patiently waiting. The express line means 12 items or less. The sign said so. As I waited my turn, I looked at the cashier. She reminded me of my daughter on her first summer job. A little flushed and trying to do her best. Probably she was on day one after orientation and training. She fumbled a bit on weighing items and took a bit longer to check out the codes for pricing.

Most customers took the time to peruse the strategically placed items found at all checkouts; those last minute things you toss into your basket and were definitely not on your list of things to buy.

All was well, except for the lady directly in front of me. She tossed her perfectly coiffed, highlighted hair back and forth while complaining “I’m going to be late,” in a loud voice on her cell phone. She rolled her eyes at anyone who dared make eye contact with her.

Her high-heeled shoes tapped a staccato on the terrazzo floor. She was in a hurry to be somewhere else. I cringed when she shouted, “Can’t you go any faster? This is the express line, you know!”

My heart went out to the checkout girl. At the same time I counted not 12 but 20 items in this customer’s basket. I tried to keep silent, but as her agitation continued I felt compelled to tap her on the shoulder and said, “Can’t you just cut her some slack? She’s doing her best.” The icy blue stare I got in return could have frozen hell over. She sniffed and turned away.

When she finally got her turn, she threw her items on the conveyor belt and continued her toe tapping dance. By now, the cashier was beet red, but still managed to stay calm. The customer tossed the cash on the counter for her purchases, and raced out of the store.
I couldn’t help but congratulate the cashier on keeping her cool and she smiled. “Yes, it’s my first day, and most people have been really good.”

As I left the store, I couldn’t suppress my laughter at the scenario outside. A tow truck was pulling a Hummer out of the No Parking Zone. There was “Ms. more than 12 items,” clutching her shopping bag, waving her cell phone, and running in high-heeled pursuit after the truck.

Sometimes, you just have to love justice.


Connie Cook, based in Port Credit, Ontario, has been writing short stories for the last three years and is currently working on her first novel. She’s constantly on the lookout for real life scenarios and is amazed what you can learn just by observing and listening. Finding Justice was previously published on CommuterLit.com. For information on submitting to CommuterLit, see here.

This summer, Connie took part in the Intensive Creative Writing course in Burlington. Three courses starting this fall still have space: Welcome to Creative Writing in Burlington on Tuesday afternoons (see here) and The Next Step in Creative Writing, offered on Thursday afternoons in Mississauga (see here) and on Thursday evenings in Georgetown (see here).

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.


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