The ‘C’ World a Discount Noir
“Clamp, Center, Child, Clan, Chipper, Clipper, Chirp, Church,” Mave hissed at Matt, her auburn hair falling into her eyes. They were clear eyes, and Matt never tired of looking into them. He only wished that she felt the same.
“Captain, crisp, chiller, corpuscle, capsule, conundrum, commander, crimson,” Matt answered.
He pulled the return bin off the rollers and started walking among the go back carts, dropping the returned items into carts for their departments. It was like a big puzzle, toys, house wares, and clothes tended to be easy to sort, it was those little odd items that you had to stop and wonder. Did close line go to outdoors or hardware?
It was a standard Monday evening at Mega Mart, the second shift tended to be dead until right after dinnertime. He and Mave had the mind-numbing task of sorting and then calling for the full carts to be picked up. It being the start of the week, the carts filled up fast with the weekend returns rush, there would be another during the weekend, but
Matt sorted the bin: Twine, garbage bags, a box cutter, duct tape, an unopened package of mini candy bars.
“Couple, corpse, canned, cane, clingy, clergy, carbon, charred,” Mave rattled off the words and grabbed the next bin from the belt.
From across the room, Roberta looked at them. She was older and never got their word little games.
“How do you guys do that?” She called as she pulled the big trash bin out of the back door to returns. Matt and Mave looked back at her and shrugged. Roberta disappeared into the back of the store, headed for the trash room.
Mave turned back to her bin and riffled though the items: Plastic sheeting, zip ties, underwear for a pre-teen girl, bubble bath, and a unopened two pack of black electrical tape.
“Condor, candy, color, crash, crass, crimped, condemned, curtail, critical, crop, charm, chagrin, cucumber, cold, Cloistered.” She rattled off as she dumped the items into the correct bins. She caught her toe on the pallet where they stacked the big items that went back the staging area for oversized items. She silently cursed and paused to look over the room.
The clock on the wall said it was almost 8:00 PM, just one more hour to go.
“You alright?” Matt picked up the next bin. Wire Cutters, Dish Soap, 10 huge 30-cent nails, a packet of multi colored sharpies, duct tape, and a coupe of paperbacks. Matt put them into their correct bins.
“Crap, crap, curses,” Mave shook her foot a bit. Her shoes covered her toes so Matt assumed that she hadn’t been cut.
“Yeah, I just caught it at the joint, it’s gonna be fine in a moment.” She limped over to the desk and sat for a moment.
Matt grabbed the next bin and started to sort. He let his mind wander for a moment.
“Comics, Culture, cubs, crumbs, card, coffee, cola, cream, charge, cross, chump, cleared, classic, cinema, cutlass, cutter, chalk, cheaper, cheese, charred…” mechanically Matt put the empty bin on the stack and looked over to the belt. Only one bin was waiting for sorting, it could wait a little longer.
“Are we done yet” looked at the clock as she walked over to the last bin. The clock said 8:30 PM; soon it would be time to close. Soon the LP Receptionist would come on the speaker and start making the closing announcements. Mave surveyed the carts, was it time to take them to the back, time for the department staff to collect them and shelf their rightful place.
“Continued, counted, condensed, cardboard, collected, collated, collar, centipede, calamity, chapter, closed” Mat called as Mave sorted.
The little wheels started to rattle and the last bin to be sorted rolled down the track into the room. Matt and Mave both turned to look, there was a crackling as the overhead speaker was turned on. They listened as the first of the three closing announcements were made. There would be no more returns tonight. It didn’t make much sense, but it was company policy.
Matt grabbed the past bin, having just made it in under the wire. Matt started his sort. A Patricia Cromwell paperback, a packet of crayons, an unopened season 2 set of Veronica Mars DVD set, Duct Tape, an unopened starter make up kit for teen girls, a unused Polaroid and a box of rubber gloves.
Matt set down the bin and started to move the go back carts around, lining them up for the department workers to come and collect them. Looking into the hardware departments go backs cart he just shook his head.
“What’s with all the duct tape returns? Really it’s not like it goes bad and it will all get used at some point,” Matt held the up a roll from the last bin of the evening, before dropping it back with it’s mates.
Mave glanced over at him and shrugged, they both headed for the back door and up the towards the employee coatroom.
“Crime, it’s all a crime,” Mave winked at Matt as they headed for the time clock, their shift over.