Night Spot

Submitted into Contest #109 in response to: Set your story during the night shift.... view prompt


Drama Fiction Thriller

The world is a different place when the sun goes down. Certain creatures are exclusively nocturnal. Especially some species of humans. The freaks, as they have been so aptly named. I guess you could say that I am of the freakish persuasion myself. Why else would I always be working at night? For all of its chaos. I actually find the night to be more peaceful than the day. Or perhaps I just feel more like myself under the moon. I’ve worked the night shift ever since my very first promotion. I was seventeen and working as the night manager for the movie theater in the local mall. That was the first time I experienced someone using my credentials to steal money. There was a girl who always worked as the box office cashier on my shift. She would have a huge stack of voids every night. I was called into work early on a Friday. I was nervous because my manager sounded upset on the phone. When I got to work she told me that the girl had been using my login to void her own tickets and she was pocketing cash out of her register's money bag. I left that job when the place went bankrupt. I moved across the country with the intention to transfer with the company that took over the movie theater. I even had a job already lined up as a manager. I never went. I couldn’t do that job anymore. 

After that I worked early in the morning at the gym of a college. I’d get up at 4 am and walk four miles to work. My shift was from 6 am to 10:30 am. I’d walk four miles back to my college and have class until 6:00 pm. My evenings were spent studying and doing my best to navigate the social constructs of college life. That job wasn’t so bad. It was school that was kicking my ass. I dropped out and started working at the airport. That was an interesting job at first. It was super official. It was the first job where I had to have a background check and get fingerprinted. I had a badge and everything. I met some interesting people working at the airport. You're literally in a place that hosts people from all over the world everyday. One person in particular, I met while I was working my least favorite job at the airport, baggage. Usually it's hell. Someone loses their bag and it's personally my fault and they want me to move heaven and earth to get back their pile of stinking laundry. That day wasn't like that. The flight came in light. Only 40 passengers. There were only 15 bags checked. So the ramp had them downloaded in no time. When I checked the carousel for any leftover bags there was a woman waiting there. I asked her if she'd gotten her bag and she said no. I asked her for a description of it and was able to find it in oversized baggage. She thanked me for my help and wanted to give me a gift. I told her that it wasn't necessary and she said that it absolutely was. She reached into her bag and gave me a small leather bound book. There was no title, no markings of any kind on the book. I thanked her for the gift and finished my shift. Four years later I'm still working the same shift. 7:45 pm to 12:45 am. I had to leave my house at 4:00 to make it to work on time because of traffic. Being on time for me is thirty minutes early. I don’t like to rush. When I get to work I like to have time to suss out the energy and prepare for my shift. The airport is 52 miles from my house. So after sitting in traffic for three plus hours; during a hot ass August day. I finally made it to the employee parking lot to catch the shuttle to take me into the main terminal where I work. I see someone leaving at the far end of the lot. After ten minutes of driving around, trying to find a parking spot. The shuttle that’s now leaving. Which is a five minute walk from my car I ran to the next stop hoping to catch it. While simultaneously putting on my shirt and suit jacket. I only wore the pants to my uniform because I would’ve sweated out my entire suit. Yes, I had to wear a full three piece suit to work. The shuttle driver pulls off just as I get to the stop. He’s idling at the gate, waiting for it to open. I tap on the window and he won’t even look at me. I call the duty phone and speak directly to my manager, who can hear that I'm at the employee parking lot. I tell him what's happened. I catch the next shuttle and make it into the terminal. My manager decides to berate me for being late. Even though it’s not my fault and per my track record. I’m never late. I’m habitually early. Which he reminds me of while berating me and uses that as a talking point of disappointment as he pulls out a write up for me to sign. I left my house three hours early! I called him and told him what happened and I have to deal with this shit? Fuck this! I’m out. I was hot and sweating. I took off my suit jacket and threw it in his face. I snatched off my tie and threw it on the ground. I continued to disrobe and discard that ugly uniform on my way out of the building. When I left the employee parking lot I was wearing only shoes and my drawls. Now, jobless. I needed a new place to work but I didn’t want to work just anywhere. I wanted a decent job with good benefits so that I could continue saving up for my dream. I wanted to open up a little night spot. Where people could have good food, listen to good music, and dance. The next morning I was in my local grocery store and I saw they were hiring. I was talking with the gal at the register who was also the manager. We’ve been aquaintences for over a decade. I come in here all the time. I’ve seen this store change so much. It really started doing good when she became the manager. But, lately the store has been having a run of bad luck. Her employees keep calling out and there’s a big problem with shrink. That’s retail talk for thieves. I ask her about the hours she’s looking to fill and in what departments. I never considered working there before but, I need a job and she needs good workers. It’s a union job and they’re hiring at $20 an hour. So I get it in my mind that I’m going to apply. But, when I get home there’s no application available for that store. Even though I just spoke to the lady not even thirty minutes ago. Something’s not sitting right with me about it. I keep looking for work elsewhere. I still go into that store every morning to pick up my food for the day. I notice how the cashiers seem to be striking up conversations with me more lately. One in particular who would always glare at me whenever I came into the store. Or, wouldn’t return my greeting whenever I was being polite if she was ringing me up. This morning, she looked right at me, beaming. She offered to ring me up. She was polite and smiling during the transaction. When I got home I found that all of my items had been bagged so poorly that it had to have been on purpose. My eggs were broken. My bread was smashed by heavy cans. The lunch meat had been sliced open on top. I was furious. I wanted to go back to the store and demand replacements and my money back. But decided on another course of action. I was going to curse that bitch. I was going to curse that entire store. But how? Google didn’t provide me with anything that Iwas willing to do. I just wanted something simple. For some reason I started going through the boxes in my closet. I was looking for something and I had no idea what it was until I found it. There sitting with a bunch of airport swag was the gift that woman had given me. The unmarked leather bound book. I took it from where it’d been resting all these years and opened it for the first time. There were all types of spells and incantations in this book. One of them spoke to  my needs. A simple curse based in truth. I waited a few more weeks. Because I didn’t want to spend my money in that store. I checked online to see if the application had opened up for that location. Seeing it was active, I made a profile and filled out the application and work history. The curse I placed on my application would only take effect if my suspicions were true. 

It was my belief that mean girl one (the cashier) and mean girl two (the manager) think that they are better than me. So I submitted my application with this spell. If it is true then let it be. They shall burn to the ground, for thinking they are better than me. The spell was written in invisible ink. I handed it right to the manager that morning after I’d cursed it. She had the giddiest gleam in her eye when I handed her my application. Like I’d just handed her my diary and she was about to read it over the loudspeaker. She said she’d take a look and give me a call later that afternoon. I left the store and stopped by the gas station to buy a lottery ticket. Later that night when I was listening for the winning numbers. A breaking new story interrupted the drawing. A fire had broken out at the grocery store. Officials say the fire started when the store's general manager and a cashier both burst into flames. The laugh that erupted from my belly was nothing short of maniacal. I felt like the narrator from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  I stared at the store in flames on the television for a few moments before noticing the banner scrolling at the bottom of the screen. They were the winning lottery numbers. I looked down at the ticket in my hands and to my delight. I’d won! I won the fucking lottery! A few weeks later I claimed my winnings. I bought not only the store that burned. But, the entire complex. I bulldozed it and built my night spot.

August 27, 2021 22:38

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Jude S. Walko
03:41 Sep 08, 2021

Thanks for taking us on this journey. I love twist endings, and this story had a nice balance of mundane and mystical.


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Mustang Patty
12:16 Sep 05, 2021

Hi there, A well-crafted story in terms of tone and pace. However, I think some work needs to be done on the structure. Your paragraphs are long and do not focus on one topic. A good style guide or grammar book can help. I do teach writing classes, but at the moment, my classes are full - but I will be posting new classes soon, KEEP WRITING!! Practice makes perfect - well, almost ~MP~


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