Clara and The Strange Ladies

Clara was a clerk in a small grocery store in a small (and semi-deserted) town in the middle of nowhere, and all she wanted was the clock to hit 5 PM, punch the clock, and end her goddamn shift.

Tick, tock; tick, tock. It was 3.11 PM; the store was empty. Her manager once told her, “no phone, Clara!” so all she could do was stare outside the window.

“My gosh, this feels like a priso—”

“Ding!”—the entrance bell rang. Finally, a customer! At least Clara could have a small talk to weed off her boredom. The customer was a woman with a rather peculiar white beach hat. “There is no beach around; why in the world is she wearing that hat?” Clara thought to herself.

“Hi, can I have a pack of cigar please?”

“That would be $22.95.”

“Here you go.”

Who is she? Why the hat? Before she could muster anything, the lady said, “This is an amazing town, you know.”

“You new here?”

“Yeah.”

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from such-and-such town—not far from here. What surprised me was the people here reminded me of my childhood: the warmth, the smiles, the kids running here and there—it’s absolutely amazing!”

“Oh my, great to hear,” said Clara with a friendly face, “you need anything else?”

“The cigar is enough—thanks. Have a nice day.”

“You too.”

Another customer entered as the white-hat lady exits the door; this new customer had the same exact same hat, but it was black!

“Give me a pack of cigar.”

“That would be $22.95.”

“Twenty-two dollars and ninety-five cents! Are you kidding me?”

“Well, the price is the price.”

“I don’t understand this town: the people are rude, the weather is horrible, the children are loud and annoying, and now you’re telling me this pack of cigar costs $22.95?”

Clara’s body was so tense she couldn’t move her tongue.

“You know what, forget about the cigar. This lame town is good for nothin’.” Clara could hear the lady spitting insults and complaints under her breath as she stormed out the store.

Clara stood there, behind the counter, cigar on her hand, appalled with the whole thing.