From The Chronicles of Karen

Submitted into Contest #180 in response to: Start your story with someone having a run of bad luck.... view prompt

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Christian Happy Horror



Some people are born to make others angry.


Everyone throws pencils, wadded Kleenex and whatever projectiles they can find in their pockets when Karen enters the room. It's been a rough few years for the lady, the media has changed their hate for the woman so many times that she doesn't even remember why they were mad in the first place.


Some moms are targets like that.


Karen takes her kids to the shoe store, they all have their hoodies, slink down, want only to get the shoe shopping done without incident. Angie has the most overgrown feet that day so she goes first.


It's Mrs. Snuffleupagus in the aisles, slowly mowing down people with her large body swaying in brown countenance from left to right. A little depressed. She remembers when her kids had feet so small they fit in her mouth. Karen is often translated as a word from the German that means "tender."


She can't believe the prices, who can, but with three kids that cannot go to school barefoot progressive, Karen opens her suitcase purse. It was probably fashionable in a thrift store some years ago, the zipper used to work but Karen doesn't zip because that would have the not-so-ready problem of unzipping. Her life might be stuck in the purse!


She's not about to tell Angie that "Keds were fashionable when she was a girl," instead she shows her daughter the sign that says "Half Off on the second Pair". Wouldn't it be great if Angie would just try on some sunflower yellow trainers? I mean they can train a girl to play basketball, to bounce off her feet like she has someplace to be.


Karen looks at her other two children who resemble shoplifters in their hoodies. She doesn't understand it keeps their necks warm. The hoodies surround the teenagers like children who pretend that nothing can hurt them under the covers. To their mother, they just look like hoodlums. The hoodlums don't really need new shoes since they already sprouted to maximum food consumption size. She didn't expect any more spurting. In fact, due to the budget, she secretly hoped they would remain just over the legal size of dwarves (4'10").


It wasn't good to have to look up to your own kin. (Kids are baby goats). But Karen was not lucky like that. (Goats are used for community sin shoes while sheep are individual coverings).


She has to bribe Angela, "Look if you get these Keds then you can get some nice heels on the side." (Deut 16:19)


Angie's not impressed (1Kng 21:1). She lets her lip curl in yelling ambulation and swallows hard to make just a whisper, "How much can I spend on the heels?"


Math. Such a useful subject and you can learn all about it as soon as you have on the sunflower trainer Keds. Karen invites her youngest to sit down on the seat and she will bend down and teach her the ultimate in tie jobs. The reverse bunny ears.


It is a girl's secret weapon against trippage and mean girls that like to step on other girl's laces. (Leviticus 11)


Karen is doing the reverse bunny ears. That would be "the underloop '' for those unfortunate not to have a mother that knows about bunny ears. They take the shoes to the register and the itinerant clerk snaps her gum, caulks her head, beeps the shoes with the scanner twice. "That'll be one hundred and thirty two, fifty-seven sent" [sic]


THE LIES, (Oh) the lies. The way people just let you walk their shop for hours. For hours. You can have the most beautiful ensemble in your mind and then you change your fashion for the good of the wallet. There's that blasted math again. But Karen knows something isn't right. (Hosea 12:7)


"Could you please check that amount again."


The clerk-in-training has the largest neck spasm in the history of retailers next to Target. Now Target has gone to the no-teeny-clerk system (computer cashier) and only asks that you press the "1 bag" screen seven times until it believes you actual have one bag instead of a pocketful of plastic that could be sold at the farmer's market.


A tween or a teeny clerk cannot believe that anyone would ever bear false witness against the computer. (Deut 5:20)


She rings up the two pairs of shoes again. Turns the screen so that the customer can be read their rights and holds out her hand as if anyone casually carried over a hundred dollars in their broken zipper purse in that neighborhood.


Here's where it gets weird. Karen cannot explain that the store signage and the computer are not aligned. They are like two different stores. Like parents that fight about whether a participation grade is good or a failure for the school to take notice of anything except the attendance. The school gets paid for attendance but not for letter grades. (Ref: Fall of W.C.)


And then she says it, slowly: 

G e t  

m e  

y o u r  

Man-ager 

(please).


It's enough to make history or a comedian's special where he wants to talk about entitled soccer moms for two hours. It's been a lovely trend for the last three years.


Sisera comes out with his tie stuck to the shirt by a tie clip that forgot to draw blood. He has a clipboard because the inventory has not been upgraded to Scan Guns or weight machines. His day was absolutely unsexy until Karen brought in her family.


He puts on the feet brakes. Takes a big sniff into the Kleenex and throws it at Karen.


"How can I help you? "


Instead of the mother, the twenty five year old Manager wants to flirt with the daughter. She is the end user and the end user is the reason things are returned.



Angie is blushing and decides that she really doesn't want sunflower Keds in her life. They are not trainers. They are flatware for people with flat lives, lack ambition, and will eventually be on a Doctor Scholl's commercial like a social-solid-waste person talking about 'Gellin like a felon'


Old people suck out of every pore..


Karen starts the synopsis to her pain: Sign, Shoes, Scanner.


She points to each of the three major characters in her story (Sign, Shoes, Scanner) but Sisera has been trained to get the customer on a more emotional shoe. He winks at the cashier playing with a long curl behind the counter.


"Come on. Let's go see if we can find some shoes to change your life."


Karen is left whimpering at the counter, "But the price? " she hunches over with her heavy suitcase purse about to start some fresh scoliosis; the do-over shopping decision. She is going to lose the principle and the nostalgia, her daughter in Keds

 The hope is dead in starting over.


This time it's not the flashing BOGO offers or the sweet smell of commercial ink on shoe boxes that entangles the youngest member. There's a real human that says she looks "Hot", "smart," then bobs his head down and says, "Yeah. That's sexy."


He's taking a pair of heels to the end of the aisle, the place where people sit and decide. Sisera knows he has game and the pink glass slippers barely cover the toe of the girl. It's almost indecent.


"HOw's that feel? I bet you're going to be prom Queen when you get these shoes"


There hasn't been a prom in COVID years and Angela just smiles because she likes any attention that's not from Karen. Sisera says thoughtfully, "You have the kind of feet that women in China will bind for. Ew-E! Let me go to the back and see if we can get those cute little toes a bit closer to the border." He gets up quickly and then stops, "Wanna join?"



Karen gapes as her fifteen year old daughter follows a man child into the back of the store. He closes the door but she can make out their silhouettes through the last shelving unit on the wall. It's an open wall closed off by a sturdy rack of shoes.


She googles and dials corporate as the Shift Manager has her girl in a liplock. He's stroking her thigh because thighs must be balanced with shoes. It's all 'professional attention' he will say later.


Karen is on hold with the Regional offices of the shoe store. She pounds on the back door and screams, "Angie-La" over and over. The other siblings are so embarrassed that they walked over to Target to see if Starbucks is serving vanilla bean lattes. Or water.


Bang Bang. Angie- la!


Corporate has already asked her ten questions on the IVR. That's the Internal Voice Relay. Press -6- if the scanner is working. The first five questions were about the type of auto survey Karen could get after the call.


Press -7- if the store does not have your size.


Press -8- if the cashier has failed to give you a receipt and you think she is stealing.


Press -9- if the manager has your under-aged child in an uncomfortable position.


"9,9,9,9,9,9…"


A new phone tree starts.


Press -3- if your manager is on his knees looking up a dress.

"Oh my God. " Karen has her one good ear suctioned to the phone.


Press -4- if your manager has taken your child off our property during normal business hours.


Then, the IVR actually says, "No?" Press -5- if your manager is being inappropriate with CPR activities."


Karen is screaming for anyone to help her. Anyone? There is no option for back room behavior. There's got to be a safety option about back room behavior. Everyone knows that the front is public and the back is private. She cannot simply walk up next to the tweeny cashier and look over her shoulder. The law would suggest that proxemics are real.


Can you walk behind a bar? No. Interpretation would be theft or other violent matters.


"Can anyone PLEAASE help me?"


A mother of two children in a double stroller reminds Karen to call the manager. Karen is non-speechified in response.


Others might ask, how many shoes does a child use if they sit in a stroller? In truth, most children only put on sixteen percent of the manufacturer's warranted use. Children simply grow out of their shoes faster than the shoes were intended.


Had this been car tires? Had the feet of the children been like the wheels on a dirty automobile that went through sleet and rain, then they might have fought about Expected Life of the footwear instead of Actual utility. A shoe is only as good as its owner. ("There is no one good. No, not one.")


Karen kept hitting the -0- button for an operator. She ran outside with the phone on speaker. She flagged down a plaza security officer. He looked very serious with a taser and a notepad. He had the same clothing as she had seen used by a foreign military.


"Please, Help. "


The guard talked into his shoulder talkie, "43 easter. I've made contact with customer." Vrackadacka dack, "You copy?"


The Security officer brought up his sidearm, 450 micro-volts supplied by two darts. The good news is that identity disks come out of the taser if he should fire. It is very important for the Incident Reports to find out which guard decided to fire.


"Put your hands up, Ma'am."


Karen could not put her hands up because the suitcase sized purse was completely full. The zipper was worn, not wanting to obey its owner, stuck on the job with large bottles of triple-biotic ointment and umbrellas for her children ready for the nearest storm.


One of her babies came out from Target, lifted his hood and was about to return to avoidance shopping. "Mom?"


Karen started crying. She couldn't stop. She was going to get tazed again, it was always the slow one that got tazed in confusing situations. "Tommy, You have to go save your sister from the shoe store manager."


"What?"


It was too late. Mom was tazed because she couldn't get her right arm up. It had some rotator cuff damage and was probably suffering an inward fatigue that comes from caring for children too long about the shoulder.


Da, Da, down she went. A blubbery seal trying to shake off the water. She doesn't have time to bring the paw to her face and lick the underpads -- Karen slowly loses the muscle stance in her legs and she falls in a death posture just like a 1950s overly-dramatic actor.


Shock points are real.


Angela comes out some time later with three pairs of shoes, jumping and laughing. She even has the store bag and it didn't cost her a thing.


The crowd gathers around Karen who is not recovering as fast as her normal beatings. Angie asks her brother, what's up? He says "Moms just being Karen again. Come on, let's go have a look at phone covers."


~Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12).


January 13, 2023 13:02

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10 comments

Michał Przywara
22:56 Jan 18, 2023

Great! I did not expect to hit a treatise on the defence of Karens, but here we are :) And it's a great point too. You paint the portrait of an exasperated woman that just wants to do right by her family, who struggles with affording to do so - cause kids shoes are a scam, but a necessary one, and Big Shoe is well aware of it - and who is disrespected by her kin for it. Add to that getting screwed over by a technicality… Yeah, it's not hard to see why she needed help. We all do, occasionally. That's normal. But Karen lucked out by her ac...

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Tommy Goround
21:54 Jan 19, 2023

Yes. Mom was Karen. I suppose the story is true. She actually argued with a manager because they promised something on a sign and it was not correct. From this vantage, it seems like the old people kept the world sane. They wrote their congress person. Who does that anymore? I would guess that we are more disconnected now. Even with all the connection technology. Thank you for giving it a go. I think I added too much spice to the recipe :)

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Wendy Kaminski
02:24 Jan 14, 2023

Loved the Bible verses interspersed throughout, and just the general mayhem that is your trademark. LOVED it! "Tased again?!" "her normal beatings?!" lol You are so terrible! One possible typo: "fatigue that comes from [caring] children for too long about the shoulder" Stanford is doing away with "Karen" in-house. They are changing it to the more-specific "entitled (color) woman" since it's offensive to women named Karen. WAY TO OFFEND, TOMMY! :P

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Tommy Goround
04:43 Jan 14, 2023

Nice catch. Moved the "for". Fatigue that comes from caring for children too long about the shoulder.

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Tommy Goround
04:45 Jan 14, 2023

An article on failed Utopias argues that humans are wired for chaos. Paradise is boring. Have you ever resolved on a good argument to go to heaven? Asking for a friend, named Lily.

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Wendy Kaminski
04:56 Jan 14, 2023

Well, I think our heaven is whatever we believe it is. If you believe in reincarnation, that is the truth as to what will happen; your place in it will be based on whatever qualifies you as what you'll be in your next life. If you believe only 144k people are going to your particular heaven, then that is what will happen if you make it happen based on whatever the parameters are. If you believe hell is your heaven (Anton et al), then go for it. I don't think there is one "Heaven," so my argument in favor is that mine will be pretty awesome, ...

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Tommy Goround
21:56 Jan 19, 2023

Clap'n. 144k might be the bureaucrats in heaven. Administrators. Else, the logic and math fails.

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Wendy Kaminski
22:04 Jan 19, 2023

Only if Jehovah's Witnesses took up bureaucracy. There are some sects, theirs in particular, that believe that. :) Again, though, I have a very "you do you" outlook on this, so who knows... maybe? :)

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Lily Finch
16:21 Jan 13, 2023

Great Lines: 1.It's Mrs. Snuffleupagus in the aisles, slowly mowing down people with her large body swaying in brown countenance from left to right. 2.(Goats are used for community sin shoes while sheep are individual coverings). 3.A mother of two children in a double stroller reminds Karen to call the manager. Karen is non-speechified in response. 4.The zipper was worn, not wanting to obey its owner, stuck on the job with large bottles of triple-biotic ointment and umbrellas for her children ready for the nearest storm; 5. A blubbery seal t...

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Tommy Goround
17:10 Jan 13, 2023

:) yvw.

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