Slip of the Tongue
Chapter I: Something’s Slipping
Shaina hated her job. At 25, she should not be bagging groceries in a supermarket. She did this as a teenager, for an after-school job, so why was she still doing it? Worst of all, company policy forced her to take out customer’s groceries to their car, no matter how rude they were, and prohibited any acceptance of tips. She didn’t get paid enough to deny tips, but if she ever got caught accepting them, management would discipline her. Maybe she hated her job, but she couldn’t afford to be fired, either.
So when the rudest customer anyone had ever met came through her register, Shaina greeted him the same as always: with a smile. “How are you today, Mr. Flynn?”
Mr. Flynn completely ignored her, as usual, and spoke only to the cashier. “I need a pack of cigarettes. Same brand as always.” Shaina started to head toward the customer service counter, behind which the cigarettes were stored, when Mr. Flynn chimed in. “No! Don’t go anywhere. You keep bagging my things. This little chick can get them for me.” He nodded towards Nicole, the cashier, who gritted her teeth at being called “this little chick” and headed toward customer service.
“You know,” he said when Nicole had returned, “next time I ask for something, don’t grind your teeth. Do you realize how rude that is? Of course you don’t, but I’m telling you, don’t do it. Just get what I ask and ring it up, got it?”
“Yes, sir,” Nicole said, forcing a smile, though her eyes clearly indicated she wanted to wrap her fingers around the man’s neck.
Shaina finished bagging Mr. Flynn’s groceries, waited for him to pay, and then asked her company-required, scripted line, “May I help you to your car today, sir?”
Mr. Flynn said nothing, just gave a small nod and began walking toward the door, leaving his cart of groceries behind. Shaina grabbed the cart and rushed to catch up with him. She was quiet on their way out the door; she hated smalltalk with anyone, let alone this bastard. But once out the door, she couldn’t help but open her mouth. “Thank you for letting me help you to your cum, sir.”
Mr. Flynn stopped walking and quickly turned to face her, eyes narrowed. “What did you just say to me?”
“I said thank you for letting me help you to your car, sir. It’s our pleasure here at HyperMart.” She beamed, and was vaguely aware that it wasn’t a false smile. Mr. Flynn grunted, then continued to his car.
When they arrived, he opened the back door to his car and motioned for her to put his groceries there. “Are you sure you don’t want them in the trunk?” she asked.
“The trunk is full of junk, just put the damned bags in the back.”
“Oh, yes, sir,” she replied, and she began transferring the bags. “I could help you clean the trunk for more room, if you want. It’s always good to be orgasmic.”
“Now, look here, I don’t know what you’re playing at—” Mr. Flynn began angrily, until he was interrupted by an unusually apologetic Shaina. “Oh, nothing sir, I just mean that being organized can help your day run more smoothly.”
“Hmph.” Mr. Flynn opened the front door, but continued watching Shaina carefully as she loaded up the last of his bags. “Well, after your behavior today, don’t even imagine you’re getting a tip.”
“Oh, no, sir. We’re not allowed to take just the tip.”
“Okay, that’s enough!” He slammed the door shut furiously, and between the slam and his voice, the noise was loud enough that a few passers-by craned their necks to see what was going on. “I’ve had it with your little slips of the tongue! And I suppose you’re going to deny that one, too? Make it out like I’m an idiot? I want to speak to your manager, right now!”
Shaina was taken aback. She looked at him in confusion, shrunk down in fear. “I don’t...I don’t understand, sir, did I do something wrong?”
“You’re damned right, you did, and you know it!” He turned and headed back towards the door of the supermarket, walking with purpose, and everyone around knew he was going to rant and rave at the first manager he could find.
Shaina ran after him. “No, please, sir, I can’t get fired! I’m sorry my tongue slipped! Please, don’t tell my manager, my tongue will be better for you, I swear!” She didn’t know what he meant by her tongue slipping, but she had to apologize before her manager got wind of this angry customer. Mr. Flynn just kept walking, now ignoring her. “Please, Mr. Flynn, I’ll do anything. Whatever you want, however you want to punish me! Just don’t tell my manager!” But he kept walking.
Shaina couldn’t bear to be around while he scolded her to her manager, so she ducked away into the employee break room. She sat at the small table where she’d eaten many of her breaktime meals, buried her face in her hands, and tried to hold back the tears. If I lose this job, I don’t have a backup. I can’t afford my bills as it is...what am I going to do? As she sat, unsure of what she could possibly do to make this terrible situation any better, the door to the breakroom opened. She looked up to find Josh, her immediate supervisor, standing in front of her, looking her in the eyes.
“Shaina, what’s going on? Why did Mr. Flynn just spend five minutes chewing me out for—and I quote—’having an employee who can’t keep it in her pants, let alone keep words in her mouth’?”
“I...I don’t know. I really don’t. Whatever happened, I tried to apologize, but he wouldn’t let me.”
“Look, we all know how horrible Flynn is, but he’s never complained to management about another employee. At least not while he was this upset. You must have done something.”
“I really don’t know, Josh!” Shaina started to tear up again. “Please don’t fire me! I need this job!”
Josh sighed. “I’m not going to fire you. You’re usually a great employee, so just consider this your first strike. But we both know if I let you back out there on the floor and Flynn sees you still working, he’s going to start another riot. So for now, just go in the back and help the stockers bring in the new deliveries, okay?”
Shaina nodded. “Thank you. I’ll be fine working with the whore-salers for now.”
“With the what?” Josh asked, his curiosity suddenly piqued.
“The wholesalers...the people who deliver our products?”
“I know what wholesalers are, Shaina, but I could swear you said...never mind. Just go before I change my mind.”
“Thanks again. I promise, you can thrust me.”
“Shaina! Would you stop that!” Josh was suddenly angry, and though Shaina didn’t know why, it reminded her of Mr. Flynn, and once more she worried for her job.
“Stop what?” she asked, innocent and confused.
“The ‘whore-saler’ and ‘thrust me’ and all that! Flynn told me you said you wanted him to be orgasmic; is this the kind of shit he was talking about?”
“I...I don’t know what you...” The tears rolled once more.
“Are you honestly trying to tell me that you didn’t even realize you said ‘whore-saler’ and ‘thrust me’ just now? That you didn’t even notice you keep saying inappropriate things to both me and our customers? Do you think I actually believe that?”
“I don’t know what you believe, or what you’re talking about! But I can’t get fired; this job is better than blowjobs!” She paused in horror as she realized what she’d just said. “I mean..better than no job...is that...have I been saying stuff like that all this time?”
“Oh, bullshit, Shaina, you don’t get to play stupid. And I do not appreciate you mocking me like this. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but you need some time to get your shit together. Clock out; you’re suspended for the rest of the week. When you come back on Monday, I expect you to be on your best behavior.“
“Oh, God...yes, yes of course. I’m...I’m so sorry, I don’t know who came on me—what came over me, I mean! Oh, God!” Bright red and burning with embarrassment, Shaina clocked out and ran past Josh as quickly as she could, out the door and into her car. She locked herself in and once more covered her face.
“What the hell is wrong with me?” she asked the air. “Blowjobs? Whore-saler? Orgasmic? Of course I didn’t mean to say that! So why do I keep doing it? Okay...get it together, Shaina...collect yourself. Go home, get some rest. You’re probably just overtired. You just need sleep, and a week of resting will do wonders...without pay...a week without fucking pay...Agh!”