Allie Edwards went to the mall. She didn’t know why. It’s not like she had money to spend. She couldn’t even pay her rent, much less buy something she didn’t need that would, in the end, make her feel guilty as hell.
No job. No prospects. No skills.
One thing she did have in abundance, was hope. Life had been less than fair to Allie, but as her old grandma would say, “Get used to it Miss Allie, life’s not fair, so get over yourself.”
She figured that meant there was no point in having a pity party.
She couldn’t even be mad at Mr. Hernandez for firing her. Business was down, she was the last waitress to be hired and therefore the first to be fired. Plus, in all honesty, she wasn’t too good at the whole waitressing thing. People who ate in restaurants could be downright demanding and mean. And balancing trays loaded with food, and knowing who was supposed to get what? Harder than she ever imagined.
But the job had allowed her to move out of her grandma’s stuffy apartment and into a place of her own. The thought of losing that bit of independence was enough to make her sad, but what could she do but move back with Grams if she didn’t have money coming in?
The mall’s bright interior lifted her mood. The stores with cheerful window displays made her smile. The air conditioning cooled her skin. Tempted by the food court, she almost bought an ice cream cone, but didn’t.
She stood before the window display of Winsome, a shop that catered to women “of all ages,” a bit optimistic in her opinion. You could not be all things to all people, especially when it came to women’s clothes.
“They should rethink who they want to sell to,” she said.
“I beg your pardon?” said an older woman who was also studying the window display.
Allie didn’t know why she spoke out loud, but that was her nature, saying what she thought, speaking when she shouldn’t.
“Sorry, I was thinking out loud. I do that sometimes.”
“Please, go on. What do you not like about the display?”
“Oh, the display is fine, it’s just that ‘women of all ages’ means any woman of any age would be interested in buying any one of those items, and,” she shrugged, “that’s flat out not the case.”
“Please, go on.”
“Well, take that cardigan for instance. The color is nice; most women look good in teal, but the style, well it screams skinny and young. The pants? Can you really see that cut on any woman under twenty-five? I don’t even know what to say about the dress. If it sags on a human female the way it sags on the mannequin, no girl I know would even want to try it on.”
“My, but you do have strong opinions.”
Allie shrugged. “Gram would agree.”
“What do you do, if you don’t mind my asking?”
Allie’s skin flushed. “Nothing right now. I was a waitress for a while, but to be honest, I wasn’t much good at it.”
“Have you ever done sales?”
“Why is that funny?”
“Gram says I’m too cheeky to work with the public.”
“Being a waitress is working with the public.”
“Yeah, and remember that part about me not being good at it.”
“How would you like to work for me?”
The woman pulled a small poster from under her arm and showed it to Allie. It read, Help Wanted, Hiring Immediately.
“This is your store?”
The woman nodded.
Allie scrunched her face in confusion. “But I’ve never worked in, well anything like this.”
“My dear, you have shown more savvy than anyone I’ve hired in the past. Let’s call it a trial run. Ninety-day probationary period. What do you say?”
Allie started to tell her why this couldn’t possibly work, but for a change, kept her mouth shut until she built up the courage to say, “Thank you, I would like that. When do I start?”
I hope you like this bit of short fiction. There will be more :). The image is from clipart.com, the story is mine.