It’s quite a handy little job really. I take the kids to school then I catch the beginning of Trisha and I tape it if it’s any good. I like the ones with the lie detectors but I switch off if it’s a makeover. Mutton dressed as lamb most of them. I don’t like to rush so I have a fag and a natter in the staff canteen before I put on my uniform. We used to have these nasty brown ones. But now we’ve gone all aqua and purple. They’re not bad really but I don’t think much of the logo. I prefer check-out number six because I can keep an eye on Phil on the deli counter. We have a laugh together and he’s such a good mimic. I keep telling him he should do something with it. He has me in stitches sometimes. I don’t mean to show off or anything but I’m a really good judge of character. Always have been. Except my two fellas that is. Don’t get me started on them. Anyway, the morning did seem to drag and I could have sworn the minute hand was going slow on the wall clock. I checked with my watch and it was the same time. You get days like these though. Pension days are the worst. You get these old dears coming in buying one carrot, two potatoes and a tin of cat food. They always want to chat to you about the weather or young people having no manners and they’re so slow at getting their money out of their purses. I know what you’re thinking-I should be more patient-we’ll all get old some day. But honestly they do get on your nerves. I try to smile but when you have a queue building up and Denise strutting around with her clip-board. She’s our new supervisor. She’s been on a management training course and she’s always going on about customer turnover. It doesn’t impress me. I could have done that job. I just never got round to filling in the application form. I remember when she started here on the tills. She was a mate then. The next time she tells me about one of her new initiatives I’ll tell her where she can shove it.
Where was I? Oh yeah. The morning was dragging and I caught one of my nails which really pissed me off. I’d only had them done at the weekend. I was fed up with Christmas already and it was only the first week of November. Bloody carols! “Wakey wakey.” That was Denise’s idea of a joke. She caught me thinking about what I was going to do for tea. It’s not as if I had any customers waiting but you’re supposed to polish the belt or fluff up some carriers. I gave her one of my phoney smiles and ripped some bags off the roll. Then I saw him come in. His hair was all floppy. It had just started to rain. So he stopped by the cigarette counter to wipe his glasses. He was dead gorgeous. He was like a better-looking version of my old Drama teacher. I had a real crush on him. Needless to say Phil had clocked him. “Hands off!” I mouthed to him. “He doesn’t play for your team”. Phil had appeared in the aisle with a tray with bits of cheese and deliberately got in his way. The guy was obviously in a hurry and politely dodged Phil. I willed him to come to my check-out. It would be just my luck that Denise would come over and tell me it’s time for my break. I hate having an early lunch. It means the afternoon can go on and on. He just had a basket with him and seemed like a seek-and-destroy type. You get to learn a lot about people when they’re in a supermarket. I like watching people. Some just seem to wander aimlessly but this one knew exactly what he wanted and where to find it. This struck me as pretty strange as I had never noticed him before. But he could be one of those late-night shoppers. I never worked those shifts because of the children. Mind you if there are any more like him I might see about changing the roster. Mum’s always offering to have the kids. He went out of view for a while. He must be getting some booze. I used to work on wines and spirits when it was a separate section, but to be honest with you I found it all too depressing. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink or two but when you see these piss-heads counting out their change for a can of extra-strong lager at half past ten on a Monday morning you know something’s just not right.
Fortunately, I was on five items or less and because he had only picked up a basket I might be in luck. Here he comes now. Oh bugger! He’s gone to number 4. He’s looking at his watch and moving from one foot to the other. There is a God. Her till roll got stuck. He’s looking out for a quicker moving queue. He’s seen mine. I try to look cool. I think I manage it pretty well. If only my neck didn’t go all blotchy when I’m nervous. The flash so and so paid for four items with a fifty pound note. His hands were beautiful. I’d never thought of hands as attractive before but his were just right. Manly but gentle. As I count out the change I try and think of something clever to say. I come up with, “Started to rain, has it?” He grinned and nodded. At this stage Phil is earwigging. As my mystery man leaves Phil leans over and says, “That’s the best you can come up with? How about, ‘Of all the supermarkets in all the world, you had to w…’
“Customers waiting Philip”, interrupted Denise.
So that was it. I had blown my best chance in ages. The rest of the day was uneventful. I did keep thinking about him though. I wonder where he got that suede jacket from? How come my teeth weren’t as white as his?
The next day I arrive for work a bit early as usual. I’m on my second Superking when Denise walks up to me with a smirk and says that Mr Anderson wants a word with me. I stub out my fag and follow her through to his office. I look in my bag for a polo but there’s none left.
“What’s it about Denise?”
“We’ll let Mr Anderson explain”. What a cow she is. I knock and then go in. He’s a pompous little man. He grunts hello and reaches into his desk drawer and pulls out an envelope. Sitting in front of his desk I see him produce a fifty pound note. It’s like he’s going to do a magic trick or something. Although when he hands it to me it doesn’t feel right.
Something about the quality of the paper. He tells me that yesterday someone from Head Office came in to check whether we use our forgery note scanner. He says I’m lucky to get off with a warning this time. Phil’s waiting for me outside, gagging to find out what it’s all about. I’ll let him stew. I won’t live this down for ages.