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More writing

I'm finally getting around to posting stuff from my first writing class. I figured there's no harm in putting it up.

This first piece was "Write about a work-related incident.

All that over a bit of mayo

I look up at the clock. 7:15 am. Seven hours and forty-five minutes until I get to go home. Seven hours and forty-five minutes of smiling and pouring coffee.

“Allison.” I jump from where I had been counting out the tips left from last night. My manager Patti skips over to me. Trailing behind her is a new boy, looking sadly like a lost puppy. “This is Alex. Train him on cash, ‘kay? Thanks luv.” She pushes the boy towards me and skips off.

Cheerfulness this early in the morning is only used to irritate others.

Alex smiles down at me. Pretty cute, but definitely underage. “So, what’s first?”

I park Alex in front of the register. As I’m pointing out the easy coffee buttons, a customer comes up. I let Alex ring in the drinks, but take over when the guy decides he wants a sandwich. The people after him are easy orders. Single coffees, donuts and timbits. The most complex is a plain bagel with butter. I point out the bottons Alex needs and show him a few tricks. Always check to stay or to go, otherwise your runner and sandwich bar staff will kill you. Qualify donuts and bagels when possible so that head office is happy. Ring in tap water as ‘ice water – no ice’, yes, I know it’s stupid, but that’s how it works. The screwdriver used to open the cash drawer is on the right, here’s the sweet spot. Alex picks things up quickly.

I’m making a coffee order when a man loudly clears his throat and slams a hand down on the counter. “This is absolutely unacceptable.” He yells. “I want this fixed now!”

I look up at the man in front of me. Dark suit, tie, bluetooth headset. I glance at the clock on the register. 7:30 a.m. Too early to deal with annoyed businessmen who think that I’m here to be their personal slave. Especially with the line growing and Alex asking me to make drinks in between frantic ‘come save me’ looks.

I smile apologetically at the man. “I’m sorry, Sir. What seems to be the problem?”

He rants at me for a while. Blah, blah, “wrong”. Blah, blah, “stupid”. Blah, blah, “incompetent”. I’m not really listening. It’s too early for someone to be complaining. I manage to figure out that he had said no sauce and ended up with mayo on his sandwich. Apparently that means the end of the world. God knows, mayo is evil incarnate. Wasn’t it the fifth horseman?

I offer to replace the sandwich. Somehow I still haven’t lost my cheerful smile. I think it’s become stuck after working here for a year. The man decides that’s not good enough. He wants a refund.

"Alright, Sir, just give me a moment.”

“I don’t have time to wait! Give me my money now!” Dear lord. Could he sound any more like a two-year-old?

“Of course, Sir.” I glare at the man’s back as he walks towards the register, pushing the other customers away. He’s already staring down Alex when I join them. “Alright, Alex. This is how you do a refund.”

I proceed to take as long as possible to process the refund. After all, I have to show Alex how to do it properly. And if it annoys a rude businessman, well, that’s just a bonus.

First we look up the original order. It’s about ten orders back so it takes a while. Then we print the receipt so that we don’t loose the original order again. And then, and then, and then… In the end it would have been faster to just get a new sandwich. Alex keeps looking up at the angry man. I keep pulling his attention back to my instructions. The man’s visibly shaking by the time we finish. I hand his money over and he storms off, my cheerful “Have a great day!” following him out. I move back to making coffees and Alex calls the next person up, a slight tremor in his voice.

Fifteen minutes later Patti bounces up. “Are you okay hon?” She sees my confused look and adds, “Jackie said someone was swearing at you.”

I think back over everyone I had served. Everyone had been great except for… “Oh yeah! The mayo guy.” I shrug and finish off a mocha with a twist of whipped cream. “It was no big deal.”

“Well, just remember, you don’t have to put up with that, ‘kay? Next time it happens, come get me, ‘kay?” She smiles and cocks her head to the side. “Nice handling of it though. You could learn a lot from her, Alex.” Patti pats me on the shoulder and flounces away.

I think back to the mayo guy. Now that I think about it, I can hear all the swears he yelled at me. No wonder Alex was so shaken. I would have been too if I had actually been paying attention. To think, all that over a bit of mayo. I don’t even want to know what he would have done if there had been mustard on the sandwich. After all, mustard is mayo’s evil twin.

For this next one, we had to write about a family member. I figured, hey, my cat's a member of the family.

Witching Cat

I looked through the cage bars at the tiny creature inside. Yellow eyes glanced at me before looking away. The sign said she was female and a year and a half old. Her name was Ginger. It wasn’t a very creative name. It was nothing more than a statement of her colour. She was extremely cute and her fur looked so very soft. But that fur was exactly the reason I wouldn’t be taking her. I was looking for a black cat. A witching cat. A cat to help with spell casting. It was only fitting that the cat be black.

I moved to the next cage. Inside was a raggedy calico. Her tail was almost gone and her fur had scars running through it. Green eyes opened in narrow slits and looked up at me. Sizing me up. She knew she could take me. Apparently her name was Missy. She looked like she would eat anyone who called her that.

Below Missy was a black and white Tom. Classic tuxedo pattern with a splash of white on his tail. His eyes were closed. He was curled up in a ball, asleep. Monsieur Noir was close to what I wanted. Close, but not quite right.

A group of kittens were beside the Tom. Four of them. Two tabbies, a black and white one and a brown one. They were clustered around their food dish, wolfing down kibble. One of the tabbies kept pushing the brown one out of the way, eating his brother’s food. All four were named after candy. Chocolate, Liquorice, Jellybean and Truffle. I thought the last one was stretching the theme a bit.

I looked into the cage above the kittens. The cat there was still a kitten himself. The card said his name was Blackie. Another boring name. It fit though. He was black. I opened the cage and put my hand in. The kitten sniffed my fingers. He must have liked what he smelled. A tiny tongue poked out and licked my hand. I smiled and gently pulled him out.

He was bigger than I expected. Still young, but big. Perhaps too big to be trained as a witching cat. I ran a hand down his body. He was strong. His tail had been broken at least once. It hadn’t healed properly and left a kink in the otherwise smooth fur. I cradled him like a baby. Black paws batted at my necklace. Perhaps too bid and too playful for a witching cat. I looked closer at his chest. Six white hairs. Not completely black then. Not a witching cat then.

One bat-like ear drooped to the side. The other pointed straight at me. I lifted him up so we were eye to eye. Yellow looked back at me as I cooed at him, saying goodbye. A paw quickly came up to hit my nose. Apparently cooing wasn’t his thing. I stuck my tongue out at him. He happily hit me again, getting fur all over my tongue.

Wiping my tongue off, I held him against my shoulder. I was about to put him back, but he was too fast for me. He crawled from my shoulder to my back. From there he buried under my hair. I felt tiny claws digging into my skin. No amount of tugging on my part would get him off. He was stuck there for good.

I sighed and just gave up. Keeping one hand on him I left the room. It seemed my black cat had chosen me. Perhaps he was a witching cat after all. No cat of mine was gong to be called Blackie though. Certainly not my first witching cat. He needed a dignified name. Something with meaning. I smiled and tried to look back at the kitten.

“Welcome to the family, Aiden.”

And in other news, I'm going home today!!!!!

I've just finished two week of midterms, including two yesterday alone, and now I'm ready to go home. My plane leaves at 7pm tonight. Luckily that gives me plenty of time to pack, since I haven't even started yet. Meh, it'll get done. Eventually.