Story: What’s in Store?

Today is National Writing Day – a celebration of the pleasure and power of creative writing – so I’m sharing a short story I wrote a while ago. The challenge was to write a story within a certain word limit, using dialogue only. I hope you enjoy it.

“Good afternoon, Mrs Fletcher. How are you today?”

“Hello, dear. I’m fine, thank you. Yourself?”

“Not too bad. Watch out, your baguette looks like it’s about to fall off the belt.”

“Oh yes, thank you. That should do it. I love your new hairdo. I didn’t recognise you straight away.”

“Thanks. I got it done at the weekend. Just really needed a change.”

“Blonde suits you. Does Tom like it?”

“Well, he said he does… but he doesn’t really seem to be liking anything very much at the moment.”

“Uh oh. Trouble in paradise?”

“Well, things really haven’t been great between us lately, to be honest. We had another big argument this morning.”

“Oh dear. Did you manage to sort things out?”

“I was running late for work so I said we’d talk properly when I got home. Hopefully he’ll have calmed down a bit by then.”

“I’ve lost count of the number of years I’ve known the pair of you but it’s certainly long enough to know that you two were made for each other. I’m sure you’ll sort things out, dear. Is your Mum okay?”

“Yes, the operation went as planned and she’s feeling much better than she was, thank you. Hopefully that’s it for hospital visits for a while.”

“Send her my love. I was going to drop in to see her this afternoon and take her some flowers but the roads are really busy today and I’m not sure I’ll have time before my optician’s appointment.”

“Are they? The traffic seemed normal enough when I came into work.”

“It’s busy out there for a Tuesday.”

“There’s a jobs fair in the town hall today. Perhaps that’s the reason.”

“Are you looking for a new job?”

“I just saw something about it in the newspaper in the staff room. Actually I’ve applied for a shift manager role here.”

“Oh that sounds good. Would that mean more hours?”

“More hours and more money. It’d be good as Tom and I are trying to save up to get a place of our own.”

“I wish you the best of luck, dear, you deserve a promotion. You’ve been here a few years now, haven’t you?”

“Almost exactly four years. I’ve already had an interview which went quite well, I think. I should find out any day now if I’ve got it.”

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, dear. Let me know how it goes.”

“Thank you, I will. That’ll be £45.94, please.”

“Oh dear. How did that happen? I only came in for some milk and bread.”

“If I had a pound for every time I heard that, I’d be able to go abroad for my holiday this year.”

“I guess I’m just a sucker for a special offer.”

“You’ve got to make the trip worthwhile, haven’t you?”

“Haha, yes. There you go, dear. I’ll see you soon. I hope you kiss and make up with Tom when you get home. You’re my favourite couple, you know that. I’ll be thinking of you.”

“Thanks. Take care, Mrs Fletcher… Hi there. Sorry about the wait.”

“No problem. I’m just about to go to that jobs fair. Do you know if there are any jobs going here?”

“Probably. We had a couple of people leave recently.”

“Oh, isn’t it a good place to work then?”

“Well, one left to go travelling and one moved to the city. I think it’s alright here. I like it much better than my last job. It’s always busy here and it makes the shifts go quicker. Best thing to do is check on our website. You can search for job vacancies and apply online. That’s £9.45, please.”

“Okay, thanks, I’ll do that. Here’s £10.”

“Here’s 55p change and your receipt. Good luck with your job hunt.”

“Thanks. Have a good day.”

“You too… Hi, are you okay there?”

“Hiya. Has anyone handed in an umbrella, by any chance? Navy blue, about this big… I must have put it down somewhere.”

“No, sorry, someone left some glasses behind earlier but we haven’t had any umbrellas handed in, as far as I’m aware.”

“Damn. Okay, thanks anyway. I wonder where that’s gone to, then.”

“I hope you find it… Hi, Bert.”

“Afternoon, Hazel. You know what? I did it.”

“You did what?”

“Treated myself to a new motorbike.”

“Good for you. I remember you were umming and ahhing about it.”

“Yes but then I thought you only live once, right? You see that Yamaha out the front there?”

“That black and red bike?”

“Yes. She’s mine. Beautiful, isn’t she? Almost as beautiful as the staff in here.”

“Really lovely. My boyfriend has one a bit like that.”

“You’ve got a boyfriend? You’ve not mentioned him before. Gosh darn it, that’s ruined my day. It’s no real surprise though, a nice girl like you. What kind of motorbike has your boyfriend got?”

“Erm… a green one? Sorry, I don’t really know much about bikes.”

“Never mind. Isn’t that scanning? That must mean it’s free then, hey?”

“Haha, I wish I could say it did, Bert. I’ve put the code in manually though.”

“I’ve got a voucher here somewhere, hang on.”

“Okay, with the voucher that comes to £18.13, when you’re ready.”

“There. Right, I’m off for a joyride. See you, Hazel.”

“Have fun… Good morning.”

“Apparently it’s a motorcyclist that’s been caught up in that accident. It always seems to be motorcyclists, doesn’t it? I’d never let my son get a motorcycle. Nasty, dangerous things.”

“What accident?”

“There’s been an accident up that way, apparently.”

“Oh no. Do you know what happened?”

“Not sure, I just caught the tail end of the traffic report on the radio.”

“That’ll be £3.87, please.”

“I’m sure I’ve got the exact change here… One, two, three… Fifty, seventy… seventy-five… eighty… two, four, six, seven.”

“Thank you. Enjoy the rest of your day… Hello.”

“Hi. That accident must have been a serious one. Police have closed the road, which is why all the traffic is having to come through this part of town. I was stuck in a jam for 20 minutes near the library. Lucky it’s my day off today.”

“I hope nobody’s been hurt.”

“How much is that? I couldn’t see a price ticket for it.”

“It’s £2.99, is that okay?”

“I think I’ll leave it. How much do I owe you for those bits?”

“£5.77, please… Thanks very much… here’s 23 pence change and your receipt. Have a good day… Hi.”

“Hey. I’ve just got off the phone to my mother-in-law. She said the air ambulance flew over her house earlier. I wonder if it was going to that accident.”

“Sounds likely. That’s £3.15, please… Thank you, bye… Hiya.”

“Tyler, put that back. Come on, it’s our turn now. Go and wait over there. Tyler! Stop it. Elsie, go and sit over there with your brother. Sorry about that, I think I’m ready.”

“No worries.”

“Elsie, sit down! They are seriously doing my head in today. Have you got kids?”

“Oh, no. I mean, I really want to have kids, one day, but not at the moment.”

“Enjoy the peace and quiet while you can. Mind you, there’s not much peace and quiet in here, is there? Those bleeps must drive you crazy.”

“You get used to them.”

“I couldn’t work here with all that constant bleeping… Those are buy one, get one free, aren’t they?”

“Yes. It’s a good deal, isn’t it?”

“I haven’t tried them before, are they nice?”

“I haven’t tried them either but they’re pretty popular. That’s £36.82, please.”

“I’ll put it on my card… Oh, where’s it gone? It’s in here somewhere… Sorry.”

“No worries.”

“Here it is.”

“I’m really sorry, it’s been declined.”

“What? I used it in the pet shop just now and it worked then.”

“Sorry. Do you have another card on you, or any cash?”

“I’ll have to use my credit card. I don’t like using it but I suppose I’ll have to.”

“That’s gone through fine, thank you.”

“Right. Tyler! Elsie! Come on, we’re going now.”

“Bye-bye… Hi there.”

“Hello. Can I have a bag, please?”

“They’re just underneath the belt, there.”

“Oh, yeah. I’ll take two.”

“I think you win the prize for the healthiest shop of the day so far.”

“It’s all for my tortoises.”

“Wow, okay. I love tortoises.”

“Have you got one?”

“No, I’ve got a cat and a couple of guinea pigs. I love all animals, though. That’s £13.67, please.”

“Cheers.”

“Hey, Hazel, have you heard there’s been a motorbike accident? It couldn’t be Tom, could it?”

“I tried to call him during my break but he didn’t pick up. I assumed it was because he was still angry with me after our fight this morning.”

“Everyone’s talking about it. Apparently a young man came off his motorbike after a crash with a van.”

“Really? Could you cover for me while I go and try to call Tom again? I’m really worried now.”

“Sure… Excuse me, could you come over to this till, please?”

“Hazel?”

“Oh, you made me jump! Yes, Boss?”                                                                 

“Could you close down and come and see me in my office? I’ve got something to tell you.”