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The Cashier
by Eric Suhem




At the employment agency, the administrator said, “Here’s a requisition that might be suited to your particular talents. It’s a cashier position at the ‘Convenience Store of the Soul’.”

“Is that like 7-11?” asked Rhoda.

“Oh yes, and much more,” said the administrator, a faraway look in her eyes.

On the first day of Rhoda’s new job at the convenience store, the manager informed her that she was now a member of the ‘League of Metaphysical Cashiers’.

“What is that, some sort of union?” asked Rhoda.

“No, they’re more of a cabal embodying the spirits of sales clerks past and present. Now as part of your orientation, you’ll need to read the Employee Handbook.” He dropped a big black dusty tome onto the counter, next to a rack of snack chips and gum. Rhoda looked at a few pages of the handbook, on which were scrawled ancient hieroglyphic symbols. “You’ll have time to read that on your lunch hour,” said the manager. “But for now we’d like you to get started behind the counter. I hope you realize what a privilege it is to be working here in the ‘Convenience Store of the Soul’, a limitless emporium of spiritual stop-n-go efficiency.”

“Yes sir,” said Rhoda.

A customer walked to the counter with a plastic bottle of cola and handed Rhoda a five-dollar bill, expecting change. The manager ran a price scanner over the arm of the shopper, looked at a price chart, and then gave the customer a twenty-dollar bill. “Thank you, sir, have a nice day,” said the manager, as the confused but happy customer walked out the door.

“But he gave you a five-dollar bill,” said Rhoda.

“What we do here when returning change, Rhoda, is run a price scanner over the skin of the customer, and then hand back the appropriate amount, based on the vibrations emitted. That customer had done good works in his past life, so was entitled to higher reimbursement, reflecting the progression of his soul in the universe.” said the manager. “You’ll learn more about this process from your co-workers, let me introduce you.” The manager led Rhoda to a room in the back. Six people were sitting around a dark table, a few candles providing dim light.

“Hello Rhoda, we belong to the ‘League of Metaphysical Cashiers’, and we look forward to working with you!” they said in unison while running price scanners over each other’s arms.

The overhead fluorescent lights brightened when a woman named Marybeth entered the store. She was wearing a bright flowery pinafore, an aura of sunlight glowing around her head. Marybeth stood smiling near the rotating hot dogs and racks of sugar cookies. “The universe is beautiful and we should all revel in its abundance today,” Marybeth informed Rhoda while putting a ‘BIG GULP’ 32 oz. Slurpee on the counter.

“That will be $6.66, ma’am,” said Rhoda. Marybeth gave Rhoda a ten-dollar bill, so Rhoda needed to calculate the correct change. She ran the price scanner over Marybeth’s arm.

“That feels wondrous, I enjoy the pleasure of all sensory experiences, including the tactile!” gushed Marybeth as the electronic device moved along her skin and then started beeping, a message appearing on its register saying ‘Please see the Manager’.

The manager quickly appeared, looked at Marybeth, and said, “To enable your karma progression, you need to pay in spiritual terms for the evil sins of your past incarnation. One of the many services provided by the ‘Convenience Store of the Soul’.”

Two members of the ‘League of Metaphysical Cashiers’ emerged from the convenience store’s back room and took Marybeth into custody. The clouds outside burst and thunder roared as the back room morphed into a tangled thicket of vines and snakes. Marybeth’s eyes filled with darkness as she sneered, “A convenience store? You have not been CONVENIENT today!” The two figures led her back through the doorway, to her seething destiny.

“Next customer in line, please,” said Rhoda.



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