Evelyn had been visited by the monster every night since she was ten years old. For three years she had learned many ways to cope. The first coping mechanism was to keep her eyes closed. Seeing was believing and she did not want to believe in monsters. The second was to remain completely still and to pretend to be asleep, so as not to anger the monster. She had learned that the hard way when it had all begun. She had cried and screamed for her mummy to help her, but found only the monsters fist slammed into her face as a response and her mummy never came. The third way to cope was the most important, and that was to go far, far away in her mind. She would visit great places, faraway lands she had read of in books. She would imagine she was a brave heroine saving a troubled kingdom, or a great adventurer trekking through a mysterious forest. But, deep down part of her always remained with the monster as he fed and devoured her.
I suppose it wasn’t the most probable places for an adventure to begin. Who was I kidding? Stood in the ‘returns’ section of Primark I was in dull, boring, mundane hell. It was a little past eleven in the morning on Saturday, the fifteenth of August. The shop floor was chaos, and all I could see was a long line of disgruntled customers seeking to return items. One such customer was severely testing my frayed patience.
“What da ya mean I can’t get a refund?” The customer was a rather large woman, with unruly red hair and a round face which was growing redder by the second. “I wan’ a fookin’ refund!”
I inhaled sharply and seriously considered battering the bitch across the head with the customer service sign on the counter. Sadly, physically harming the customers was frowned upon by HR and I took another deep breath and forced a smile.
“Madam, when ya purchased the underwear you would ‘ave been told we don’t offer returns on underwear. It also states it on ya receipt.” I gestured with a nod of my head toward the pair of lace knickers and the receipt that were clutched in the customer’s hand. “Also, even if we did, the underwear is stained.” The white lace knickers were not exactly white anymore and I swallowed back bile as I looked at the faded brown residue from the customer’s menstrual period, crispy and dry on the knickers.
“It was like it when I bought it!” The woman slammed the crusty knickers down onto my counter, “Ain’t my mess.”
I lowered my gaze down to the knickers, then slowly up the woman’s body. Her clothes were stained and the groin area of her tracksuit bottoms was showing an ever increasing wet patch, spreading down her thighs. I tried not to breathe in through my nose, but I did and the strong smell of ammonia filled me. I really did not get paid enough to be dealing with shit like that.
“Seriously? You’re leaking piss in front of me you numpty!” I grabbed her filthy knickers and shoved them in her face. The woman was aghast, spluttering and cursing me while huffing and puffing. She wheezed as she slammed her hands down on the desk, her red and blotchy face an inch from mine and I watched the knickers slide down her face. I tried to contain myself. I tried willpower. I failed miserably and in a quick motion slammed my forehead down against the bridge of her nose. Yeah, HR would really not recommend that as a means of ‘successfully handling a troublesome customer’.