Stole? You're a crazy woman, what could I possibly want from you?

Here is a scene sketch I wrote this morning. Enjoy!

“What’s this, Arnie?” I said.

“A note, genius.”

“Who from?”


I peeled the note off the counter and read as I headed into the back. It said I had received an official warning for poor work performance; that my drawer had been short three days in a row, and that, by accumulation with a write-up from the beginning of the month, I was two strikes in to the company’s ‘three strikes’ rule. I stuffed my bag into the locker then emerged to find Arnie not at his register. “Arnie?”

Pumpt! “Ouch! Shoot!”


He rose from behind my register, rubbing his head. “Hey, I flicked my pen. I was wondering where you ran off to.” He returned to his station, straightened a few stacks of coupons, cleared his throat, and struck a key on his register.

“Did you hear about this?” I held up the yellow ticket.

“What? You getting yet another write-up and being on the verge of termination? yet again? You know sweet heart, I have to say, for someone who wants to be manager some day, barely getting through every month by the skin of your teeth—Hello ma’am, welcome to your neighborhood CVS—Shame Jane. Real Shame. What are you doing there?”

“Looking to see what you stole.”

“Stole? You’re a crazy woman, what could I possibly want from you?”

“Oh, I don’t know Arnie, maybe shift lead?”

“Shift lead went to the better employee.”


“There is only one way this game gets played kiddo and I don’t think you know the rules yet.”

“Being a total ass-hole?”

“Jane!” It was Mr. Goldberg. Shit. “Jane, Jane, Jane, I’m sorry dear, but can’t you see we have customers?”

“I’m sorry Mr. Goldberg, we were just—I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.”

“I think that would be in your best interest. Let me see you? for a few minutes before break all right?”

“If it’s about the write-up thing, I got it.”

“I know you’re new and our system can take getting used to—I do—and I really want you to stay with us… Just a few minutes before lunch okay?”

When Goldberg left, Arnie snapped one of the minty-nine cents hair ties at my chest and it rolled down the front of my polo. “Score! Hey I need to take lunch early today, so I’m moving yours to three.”

I had to untuck the shirt to shake the tie out. “Move it up your nose.”

By the time three o’clock came, my head felt swollen and my stomach quivered with emptiness. I could taste the soft pill-oats and tangy spread of my sandwich; I inhaled the buttery brine of the turkey breast; I felt the light sponged bread at the corners of my mouth. I couldn’t help stopping at my locker for a bite. I twisted in my combination and unthreaded the lock.

“Jane? Jane, what happened to lunch?”

I explained to Mr. Goldberg that Arnie had selfishly changed my lunch so he could have his early. Mr. Goldberg deduced that Arnie must have done this in order to cover the afternoon rush, and that he was very driven indeed to take initiative on the store’s behalf; all CVS employees take note!

Goldberg sat me down on a plastic chair and took a seat on some cases of ice tea we pulled the week before. “So what’s going on Jane, huh? How are you doing?”

“Fine,” I lied. He nodded and tucked in his lips. “What about at home? Is everything fine with your sisters?”

“We don’t need to talk about my sisters.”

“All right,” His face lifted, “all right, good, well I assume you got my note this morning? Yes. I would have given it to you myself, but I wanted you to have a chance to think.” I asked him what about. He said, “about why we’ve had discrepancies in the register logs the past few days.”

“I don’t close, Arnie does, why aren’t you asking him?”

“That’s not the issue here. Look, it’s trickled down the railroad track that the morning shift counts aren’t matching up with the evening shift counts.”

“That makes sense, because the only time my drawers are off are when I’m a few dollars over, not under. And I count twice.”

“Sometimes we can miscount—”

“Tell that to Arnie, he can’t even keep track of when his shift starts.”

“I have an agreement with Arnie. He has some special circumstances that make his mornings unpredictable.”

“Yeah, how late he stayed up playing World of Warcraft and drinking Mountain Dew.”

Goldberg dipped his chin. “I’m not saying this is anyone’s fault.”

“It kind of sounds like you—”

“I’m just trying to give you fair warning. I’ve got to be honest with you, when I first hired you I thought you were a superstar. You told me that this was where you saw yourself in six years and not only that, but that you wanted to work up to assistant manager some day. I believed you then.

“I still feel that way.”

“Your shift leader and I talked about some other issues as well that I’d like to bring up with you. The truth is Jane, we don’t have room on our schedule for a part-time morning employee right now,” We? “and I really need you to start picking up some extra hours.”

“But Mr. Goldberg, we talked about this, I have a, a special situation, or whatever you said with Arnie. Between her and school, I can’t, I just can’t.”

“Mr. Goldberg,” Arnie said. “I’m heading to lunch; we only got Donny out there. Jane needs to cover the register.”

“You got it pal,” Goldberg said. “Jane, none of this is final okay, we can talk later, but right now you need to get out there and watch the registers.” He stood and left, taking Arnie under his arm; laughing almost instantly and leaving me alone with the tea.






One response to “Stole? You're a crazy woman, what could I possibly want from you?”

  1. Caleb Jacobo Avatar

    I hope you all enjoyed this scene sketch! I wanted to let y’all know that I have migrated to the Disqus comment system. Please let me know if you have any issues posting.

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