Reads: 602  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A story highlighting the stresses of working in retail and dealing with mental illness.

The Shop Girl


Tiffany's grip held part of the woman’s hair and concentrated on the middle of her throat, where a man's Adam’s apple would be. She heard nothing and saw nothing but the bulging vein on the woman's forehead, through her glossy eyes. She willed all the rage; through her hands and onto this woman’s body. She was slowly decelerating the woman’s pulse. She wanted to make her disappear. Sounds could not reach her ears, so she did not hear her co-workers pleading her to stop or the woman gasping for air. Stopping was not an option. Brenda was not going to get away with it, not this time.

Tiffany woke up at 7:30 am to take a shower. She undressed and put on her light pink bunny slippers. Her mom had gotten them for her last Christmas because she knew; she hated her feet being cold.  Tiffany thought it was odd that her mom had not called her yet. She always called her first thing in the morning to help her start off her day. Tiffany loved her mom. She was the single person tiffany could rely on. Finally, she got her call.

“Hi Tiff, are you ready for work?”

“Yes, mom. I’m heading to the shower now.”

“Okay, well hurry up. You’re going to be late.”

“Okay, mom. Bye”


“Yes, mom. Did you take your vitamins?”

“ Yes.”

“I hope that you’re telling me truth.”

Tiffany put her phone down and grabbed her bathrobe before heading to the shower. Putting it on, she made sure to tie the belt in a double knot in fear it could accidentally open and expose her. She always felt Brenda, her roommate, envied her for being thin. She wanted to stay clear of her at all cost. She could not stand one more day living in the same home as her.

Brenda and Tiffany had been living together since their freshmen year in college. They both majored in public relations. They both ran for student body president but Brenda won. They both ran for homecoming queen but Brenda won that too. Their grade point averages were pretty close but Brenda always managed to be two points higher than Tiffany. Brenda excelled in all she did when she put her mind to it.  It could all be seen as healthy competition but Tiffany knew better. She knew that Brenda sabotaged her in ways she wasn’t even aware of. Today was definitely one of those days.

Opening her door, Tiffany's first step out of her room was on the present Brenda’s dog left for her at the foot of her door. It was especially loose today and easily smeared all over her right slipper, turning the light pink fluffiness into the mangy fur of a mutt.

Trying to leave this unpleasant incident behind her she rushes into the shower. It was always her custom to turn the cold water on and then the hot so she wouldn't burn herself. She stepped into the shower and started to lather her hair. When her hair was ready to rinse she placed her head under the stream of warm water. Suddenly, she jumped back in shock of the icy water running through her scalp. Trying to catch her balance Tiffany grabs the shower curtain but it gives way, landing her on the rug outside of the tub.

Angry, bothered and bruised, Tiffany tried to dry her body. She wrapped her hair in the neatest bun she could manage, got dressed and walked out of the door. She walked to her car but she stopped and stared. She noticed something was different. Both of her back tires were flat. She knew it had to be Brenda. She was always jealous that she drove a 2010 VW and she is the only person that hated her enough to do this. The end of the lease could not arrive fast enough.

After probing through her purse, she found a metro card. The nearest train station was ten blocks away. Exhausted she swipes her card just as the train is pulling in the station. There was a tiny space between a lifted armpit and an oversized backpack, with her name on it. Luckily she only had a few stops until her freedom. This luck is worth noting; for it would be the only luck she had all day. When she arrives at her stop she scans the station for the exit. She finds an attendant in the kiosk and asks her for directions.

“ Hello.”

“How may I help you?”

“Which exit do I take to get to 26th st.?”

“ You’re gonna have to speak up honey.”

“ Which exit for 26th st.?”

“ You want to 26th st.”


“ Well, that’s all you had to say, sweetie. Take this exit here and make a left. You’ll be in 26th and Park.”

Tiffany walked away without a word and proceeded towards the exit.

Disheveled and with an angry expression on her face she enters her place of employment. Trying her best to leave the recent events in her life on the other side of the door, she greets her co-workers and potential clients.

Soon after, a client who needed assistance approaches her. The client throws the package on the counter and says to Tiffany:

“I need to return that.”

“No problem. I will take care of that for you. Do you have your receipt?”

The client ignored Tiffany as she asked her for the receipt for the second time. Instead, she handed Tiffany her credit card.

“You can put it back on that.”

“I am very sorry, I cannot return the item without proof of purchase. Would you like to check in your bag?”

“I just need my money back okay. I have to go, I’m double parked and I have to get my daughter from school.”

Tiffany tried to explain to the woman that she was not able to do what she asked but the woman proceeded to pull out her phone and make a call. In front of Tiffany's face, she told her friend how idiotic the help at this store was.

"I bet they don't even need a high school diploma to work here. I don't even know why I continue to shop here anyway. They're so stupid.”

The shopper then turned around and said to Tiffany, “why aren't you done yet. I have to go. Oh my god, you're really good for nothing. I need to speak to a manager. Where is the manager? Don’t just stand there; get someone to take care of this. You must not like your job. What’s wrong with you? "

Tiffany tried really hard to stop the blood from rushing to her head. But while she concentrated on that, the woman on the other side of the counter kept hurling insults at her. Tiffany closed her eyes to make it all stop.

When she opened her eyes again she found herself in a jail cell. She had been charged with aggravated assault. It took four people to get her off of the woman. By that time the woman was already unconscious.  She was not remorseful; for she did not understand the things they accused her of doing. Amidst it all she felt the calmest sense of serenity take over her body, knowing that she did not have to see Brenda's face again. But Brenda came to get her from jail.

“Tiffany what did you do?”

“Get away from me Brenda, I know it was you.”

“What was me?”

“I know it was you. You made me do it.”

“I am calling mom”

“When you call her, make sure you tell her what you did to me.”

“You didn't take your vitamins today did you?”

“I know it was you.”


Submitted: February 21, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Carolina Miller. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

More Literary Fiction Short Stories

Boosted Content from Other Authors

Short Story / Non-Fiction

Book / Mystery and Crime

Writing Contest / Flash Fiction

Other Content by Carolina Miller

Poem / Poetry

Book / Literary Fiction

Short Story / Memoir