In Store - An American Tale

Chapter One: The Opening

To begin, this is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (and me from a lawsuit - ok, just kidding). When we meet Stu, a slightly balding thirty-something, he is trapped in a traffic jam and frustrated. Honking his horn and sighing, he is at a standstill and fuming. 'This stupid traffic jam! I'm running late and the guy in front of me has all day. Wait - the light is green, move people! Oh, I forgot the first rule of traffic jams: red means go and green means stop. Did I really think that I would be allowed to drive?' The cars around him are beginning to move and Stu moves about one hundred feet before jerking to a stop again. Stu is simmering and yelling at the lengthy line of cars in front of him. "How is my branch supposed to open if I can't get there? Dan has probably been sitting and waiting for twenty minutes but it isn't my fault! I could design the traffic system better than those - oh, we're moving." Fifteen minutes later (and it should have been five), he arrives in the crowded parking lot of the Above and Beyond grocery store. He hurries and parks far from the store and does an all-out sprint to the entrance, ducking and weaving to avoid customers. He whips his massive, clanking keychain from his pocket and stops suddenly in front of the bank just inside of the door. Stu looks around and sees Dan, leaning against one of the bagging stations, looking as if he were trying to mask his tension. "Hey, Stu," Dan calls with a grin on his face, "Was traffic bad?" Stu laughs as he answers. "Nah, just horrible. So I guess it was normal. Sorry to keep you waiting so long." Dan gestures to the front door of the grocery store and smirks. "Don't worry," he says, "Mark isn't here either." Mark is scheduled, but, of course, not there yet. So Dan and Stu take out their respective keychains, unlock the emplyee door, and walk somewhat morosely into the bank. "Oops," Dan whispers dramatically, "We forgot to do the security procedures." Stu doesn't look at all worried as he reponds, "Not like we needed to check anyway. I mean, who is going to rob a bank in front of all of these cashiers and customers? But according to corporate policy, I have to tell you that there is nobody here besides ourselves, and the bank is secure." They lock the employee door behind them, put their keychains back into their pockets (and now their pants are falling down from the weight of the keys), and begin to perform their duties to prepare the bank for opening. Dan heads into the vault and Stu follows. As they are unlocking the vault and removing their teller drawers, Stu starts to snicker. "Don't worry, Dan. I won't do to you what Mark did the other day. Remember when he blocked the opening to the vault and he wouldn't let you out and it smelled so bad that we had to Febreze you and the vault?" Stu starts laughing at the memory, while Dan is clearly annoyed. Then he starts to smile evilly. "Hey, just make sure that I get a chance one day soon to open with Mark..I can't wait to give him what he deserves." Dan and Stu continue their friendly bantering as they bring their drawers to two teller stations and begin counting their cash. They are both counting and typing on their computers when Dan speaks up. "Listen, Stu, I'm done. It is officially time for us to get down to business and start doing nothing." "Yeah," Stu responds, "Until the first customer comes and reminds us of why we hate our jobs." "Man," Dan says, "You make us sound so personable. And Mark STILL isn't here!" Just then, a young man comes staggering up to the bank and blearily looks up at Stu and Dan. "Hey, Mark," calls Stu, "Thanks for joining us today."

Chapter Two will be coming . . .

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