**A/N: The following is an anthology of writing prompts that were given out at my local writing group. I shall attempt to update this every other week with a new prompt one-shot.
For this week's prompts, we were each asked to add "a person, place, and mystery" to a pile for each category. We then each randomly selected from the category options. Resulting in everyone having a different prompt with the same theme. My selection ended up as "Salesman/saleswoman, New York City, and Where is the time capsule?" **
FASHION GONE BYE
There was a crowd blocking my way to the door to Arnesto's. I shoved my way, grumbling about how I was going to be late for work. As far as I knew there was no blow-out sale going on today, so what was with all the low-brow grubs hanging around?
The feel of polyester-blends and tweed scratched my skin as I snaked my way through the masses, and the foul odor of the regular working man; I nearly vomited. These people clearly did not belong anywhere near one of the classiest fashion stores on the upper east side. Half of these people probably could not even spell upper east side.
"Hey! You can't go in there." I ignored the gruff voice yelling at me. I waved him off until his hand grabbed my bicep and pulled me to a halt. It still kept me a second to notice the NYPD across his chest where "Rancer Security" normally would be.
"You are not David," I cautiously muttered. Each word squeaked out like an individual statement.
"Look what you've done!" I turned my head to see Sandra stampeding towards me. The shrill devil woman was nothing like her high-class father, and yet when Arnesto retired he handed her the store anyway. This place has gone down hill faster than last season's Prada. Is she really holding some sort of David's Bridal-esque sale to bring in the unwashed masses? Is that why the gorilla in blue is here instead of our normal security?
I sneer and roll my eyes. "What is my fault this time, Sandra?"
"Francis." I never understood her fascination with shortening my name, "I am not a hotdog you buy at a stadium."
"Maybe, but you were the one that closed up last night, Frank." She snarled the abortion of my name and clicked her tongue to accentuate the "k."
"Yes, I was the one who l locked up last night. Is there an issue with that?" I realized that my arm was still in the officer's mitt, and I rolled my shoulder to rip it away. "If you ended up wrinkling this blazer, good sir-"
"Watch it," he warned as he stood straighter; showing off the few inches he had on me.
"Francis," I hissed and rolled my eyes again.
"Frank! The capsule is gone, you incompetent-"
"The capsule?" I snapped my head to the far corner of the room. Normally, the entire area would be covered in outfits. Ten of them, actually. An outfit to represent the high-fashion trend of that decade, running from 1900 to the new millennium. Each piece alone would be worth anywhere from three-hundred dollars to a couple thousand. The whole collection was insured for a mint half-million. However, Sandra loved pointing out daily how the capsule draws in business. So, forget how much the collection itself costs, how much is it going to kill us in sales to not have it as our hook?
"I swear to God, Frank, if this store ends up failing because of this shotty job on your part!"
I took a cautious step back, slightly tucking myself behind the handsy officer. "I locked up, Sandra, I swear I did! The whole gorgeous lot was still right over there when I left."
"The door wasn't picked or broken," a detective chimed in. A handsome gentleman with a finely pressed suit and freshly polished shoes. He had to be in his early thirties.
"I am so sorry," I poked back out from Muscles McGee and held out my hand. "What questions could I answer for you, detective?" I drew out the last word to coax him into properly introducing himself.
"Detective Conrad." He ignored my attempt to shake hands, and instead held out his badge for me to check, and I never memorized numbers so quick. "Now, as I was saying, the door wasn't broken into. Is there anyone else that might have a key besides you and miss Giamorzzo here?"
I blink as I rack my brain to think of anyone. Sandra had just given James a pink slip, and Margaret should still be on that Bermuda cruise. I mention it to the detective anyway. He nodded and then asked me to recount last night for him. I told him about the few customers I had at the end of my shift, how I double checked the inventory, cleaned down the case the Capsule sat in, closed out the register, and then locked up the shop. After that I hit Mackenzie's for a few drinks before walking the rest of my way home. I then added that my doorman could vouch for the time I arrived, as well as when I left to come to work this morning. As for the time in between? I made it abundantly clear that while I was alone last night, I really wished that was not a typical evening.
He cleared his throat. Either the man is sadly straight, or he is still in denial. Shame. He thanked me for my statement, reassured Sandra that they will find the garments, and left both of us with his card. I may not remember anything further of that evening, but I will be sure to keep that number handy. Whomever took that clothing time capsule just did me a huge civil service by bringing Detective Conrad to our door, I just hope they can stay a step ahead of him for a long time so I can have an excuse to keep calling his desk.
**A/N: This was really tricky for me since "salesman" is so vague. Plus, how does a salesman relate to a time capsule in any sort of tension relevance? In the end, I'm kind of happy with what I came up with, but I'm a bit bummed with the ending. Seems a bit rushed, but then again, I was pushing the recommended page cap for us to read our works out loud to the group. On top of that, it was about 4am, and I wanted to just finish the darn thing.**