Easter could feel the uncomfortable gaze of the cashier on the back of her head as she stood at the refrigerated section, trying to decide between Mt Olympus Sparkling Water or Jerusalem Spring Water. She liked having bubbles fizzing around her mouth and popping on her tongue, but she was trying to be good in the lead up to party season. Eventually, she reached for the spring water, letting the fridge door close with a sigh that she echoed. Party season was overrated.
Absent-mindedly she patted at her satchel, coins in the bottom jingling in protest. Easter rolled her eyes in response to the universal law of losing money to the bottom of bags. Whoever came up with that one was feeling sadistic, she thought. Reaching in, she instead retrieved a sheaf of heavy cream envelopes and headed to the pay desk, the cashier’s eyes following her every move.
“Busy day?” she asked jokingly, indicating the otherwise empty store. The cashier blinked his yellow eyes and simply took her mail. Friendly fellow. But what else had she expected? The cashiers were never friendly. They just were. Even though it had been fifteen years since her last visit, everything in the store remained the same. She eyed a bar of Inca Gold chocolate in front of the counter. The same… but worth every penny. She added the bar to her pile with a deliberate click. She deserved it.
The cashier finished his calculations, holding up three fingers. Three carats? That was daylight robbery. Easter was indignant, but only for a moment. It wouldn’t do to annoy the cashier. No-one else could send her mail out as quickly as Hermes express, and she didn’t want to risk it. One of the saints had managed to offend him somehow, must have been decades ago, and everyone knew how that ended. She shuddered, and dug in her satchel for currency.
A bump at her shoulder made her glance to the left. A tall, slim male in mourning clothes stood beside her.
“Friday? What are you doing here?” she asked in surprise.
“Helping you.” Easter raised an eyebrow at his morose tone. Friday wasn’t known for being helpful. He usually kept to himself.
“Um. I’m not sure what help I need mailing some invitations….” She waved at the counter where stamps were being expertly applied to her fancy envelopes.
“Not with that. With the party.”
“Oh.” Now Easter was truly shocked. “Er… Are you sure? I mean…” she trailed off. Friday never came to the annual Christmas parties. He made up for it by never hosting, either. Had he changed his mind? Technically, it would be his turn to host if so. But the invitations were being sent as they spoke…
The sizzling indignation in her heart extinguished as Easter considered him. A co-host might be fun, even a quiet one. It was the season for family, after all. She smiled her thanks to the cashier, then turned to Friday.
“Okay then. What’s the plan?”
This 500-word story was my response to AWC’s Furious Fiction competition for December 2019.
I love stretching my writing muscles by responding to the writing prompts every month. This story took me by surprise, but I was pleased with the little snapshot I got from the short 500 words. I could imagine the trouble that Easter and Good Friday could get into hosting a divine Christmas party. I wondered what the parties of previous years had been like, and who hosted the best.
What are your Christmas party plans?
Happy holidays, all.
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