"That'll be twenty-four eighty, please." Janice's tired voice flatly informed her customer, a woman in yoga pants with a toddler tugging at the stretchy fabric on her leg. Janice supposed that she should offer the tot a lollipop, but she had a certain fondness for them and had no desire to improve her position in the Graysten Kroger. She tapped her nubby fingertips against the conveyor belt.
"Recipt?" She prompted the woman who had now heaved the mop-headed, wide-eyed, ugly little child onto her hip to rest.
"No thanks. Rachel's got soccer practice today, and we've got to run."
Janice was puzzled. She had given no outward expression of emotion, yet this woman outstretched the conversation. "Right," she said, trying to maintain politeness. Her shift was over after this; she could practically feel the itchy clicks of the massive watch on her right wrist. Nearby, her bagger Devon nodded. She could go.
Briefly leaving, the woman rolled her buggy with the twitchy wheel out the front of the automatic doors. Janice suddenly became aware of a certain sweaty stick the ball of her foot was making against the bottom of her Walmart pleather flats.
"Thanks," she wheezed at Devon.
He smiled. He'd be off soon, Janice reflected. Back home to his young wife. "No problem. You working tomorrow?"
Janice shrugged. "Dunno."
"Well," Devon resolved, taking the next customer with a dismissive wave, "see you if I see you."
That was a policy that Janice could live with. Untying her apron, she tucked part of it into her pocket and strode out into the gray sheet of outdoors. Due to the vicinity of a McDonald's, the air smelled of grease and artificial frying. Janice's stomach rumbled; she could do with a cup of a coffee. Her maker was broken, still sitting on the stained brown countertop at her apartment.
Haphazardly, she crawled into the driver's seat of her ancient Honda Civic. She pulled through the drive-through, surprised at its abandon-ness. Then again, if anyone else needed coffee, they usually made the extra ten miles to the Starbucks by the strip mall.
"Hello welcome to McDonald's make I take yo' order?" The words were fuzzy. Smooshed.
"I'll have a coffee with milk, please." Janice's voice was loud. Clear. But she was in no mood to slur it and aggravate the possibly drunk employee of this fast food joint.
"Will that be all fo' you?"
"Yes." Janice pulled forwards, stalling slightly at the appropriate windows. She collected the cup of eternally nasty coffee. Releasing her stash of Stevia packets from her purse, her fingers fumbled over an old piece of paper. She drew it out, unfolding the yellowed creases.
"Authorities still searching for 16 million dollar lottery winner…"
Maybe she'd collect it today.
She crumpled it back up, shoving it gently into the zipper pocket of her purse.