#amwriting – #fridayfiction
For weeks on end she economized. She bought day old bread, went without new charcoals and walked instead of taking the metro. By the middle of January she’d saved up 48 euros and went back to the store.
A different clerk was behind the counter.
“I’m looking for the sales clerk with auburn hair,” she said. “She’s my height, maybe a snip taller. You know her?”
The clerk shook her head and gave a puzzled shrug. “I only started last week.”
“Oh,” Max sighed. “You have any idea where she went?”
The clerk again shook her head. “She left before I came.”
Max gave another sigh, her disappointment obvious. “She waited on us last time and I was hoping—”
“I can help you,” The clerk volunteered.
“It seems there’s been a mistake,” Max explained then she continued on to say the last time they were in the store, they somehow walked out with the red scarf. There was no mention of Julien’s name. “My friend intended to pay for it, but forgot.” She handed the clerk 48 euros.
“I need the tag,” the girl said. “I can’t ring up a sale unless I enter what the item is.”
“It was a red scarf,” Max replied. “Sort of like the blue one in the window.”
“That one is 79 euros. It’s not the same.” The clerk’s voice was impatient, testy almost.
“I don’t have the tag,” Max said. “Can’t you just ring up red scarf 48 euros?”
“That’s not how we do things! I have to scan the code!”
“You can’t ring up 48 euros and say there was no tag?”
“Not unless I’m looking to get fired.”
Max stuffed the money in her jacket pocket and left the store.
Two days later she walked across the bridge, up the long hill to Sacre Coeur, and dropped the 48 euros into the poor box.
Even that did little to assuage her conscience. For months she worried that the girl with auburn hair had been fired because of the stolen scarf.