By Dick Johnson
Gary Longbow stood at the entrance to Bath Smells Galore in the mall; He had a little table set up where he had a display of scented hand sanitizers.
A man and a woman came to the entrance and started to enter.
“Excuse me! But, could you please sanitize your hands before entering the store?” He said, monitoring to make sure they did it.
“We really don’t want to keep putting this poison on our hands.” The man said.
“I just work here sir.” Gary said. “And Miss, you’ll need to put your mask over your nose. It’s important to wear our masks properly.”
“We were just in 20 stores, and not a one of them had a guy at the door yelling at people.” The woman said.
“I’m just doing my job.” Gary said. “We have a sink, right there, where you can wash your hands if you would like with our scented soaps; if you don’t want to use hand sanitizer.”
The woman put hand sanitizer on and the man followed her, then he held his hand out and showed the glob of alcohol goo to Gary.
“Is this enough? Or do I need more?” The man said, peering at Gary over his mask, with hate.
“That should do it sir. And again, I just work here. This is the CDC and my bosses, not me.” Gary said.
“It’s not the CDC, and your bosses should be here enforcing their own rules, not putting your life in danger.” The man said.
“I think its ok, sir. Not a big deal.” Gary said.
The man went into the store and followed his wife around as she shopped. She dropped her mask off her nose so she could smell a scented candle.
“Miss, Please wear your mask properly!” Gary said.
The woman sat down the candle and complied. The man was pissed, that some punk talked to his wife like that.
“I don’t want to give these people a dime of my money.” The man said. “Fuck these people.”
“I have to get something for my sister. She loves candles. It’s not a big deal. Let’s just get it and go.” She said.
“Disrespect is always a big deal.” The man said.
She selected her candle and they made their way to the cash register where Gary stood behind his protective Plexiglas. She sat the candle on the counter and Gary scanned it with a hand held scanner without touching it.
The woman pulled out a $20.00 and attempted to hand it to Gary. He backed away and held up his hands refusing to touch the money.
“There’s a coin shortage according to the Federal Reserve, so we cannot accept cash, only a card.” Gary said.
“That’s not what the Federal Reserve said. We just came out of 15 stores, which had no problem with change.” The man said.
“It’s fine; I’ll just use a card.” The woman said.
“I’m just doing my job.” Gary said.
The woman handed Gary the card, but he held his hands up again.
“You can swipe it there.” Gary said, looking down at a screen.
She swiped the card, and completed the transaction.
Gary tore off the receipt.
“Would you like the receipt with you or in the bag?” Gary said.
“You won’t touch my cash or card, but you want me to touch your receipt?” The lady said.
“I’m just doing my job.” Gary said.
The man and woman left the store.
“I’m so sick of these people not taking this virus seriously.” Gary said out loud to his co-worker and anyone who could hear.
It was dark and it was closing time. Gary walked out to his vehicle in the parking lot, when a car pulled up and two men jumped out. They were both wearing masks, and hats.
“So, you like harassing people?” The man in the black hat said. He pointed an ax handle at Gary’s chest.
“I didn’t harass anyone,” Gary said.
“You like to force people to wear their masks, don’t you?” The guy in the camo hat said. “Well, how do you like our masks? Are we wearing them right?”
Gary didn’t say anything. He just gripped his backpack tighter and started walking toward his car.
“Where you going?” The black hat said, and cracked Gary across the back with the ax handle, knocking him to the ground.
“I’m just doing my job!” Gary cried.
“Well, I’m a debt collector. I beat people who owe me something. So, I’m just doing my job.” Camo hat said, and then kicked Gary in the ribs.
“You owe us an apology.” Black hat said. He brought the ax handle down on Gary’s clavicle. Gary almost passed out from the crack and the pain.
“I’m sorry…I’m sorry, I’m sorry” Gary cried.
“I know you’re sorry, but you better learn that some people won’t put up with your bullshit.” Camo hat said.
“Give me your wallet.” Black hat said.
Gary struggled in pain to pull it out.
Black hat opened it and pulled out all the cash, and stuffed it in his pocket. He threw the wallet across the parking lot.
“Well, it doesn’t look like there’s a coin shortage in your wallet.” Camo hat said.
Black hat pulled out a bottle of hand sanitizer. He grabbed Gary’s face and rammed the bottle into Gary’s mouth squeezing it and shooting the whole load down his throat.
“You like hand sanitizer.” Camo hat said. “I got you the scented kind.”
Gary choked and gagged on the liquid.
Black hat punched Gary in the face, shattering his nose.
“Listen, you can call the CDC, and see if they care. But, if you call the cops, just remember, we know who you are and where you live. Remember, that we really love doing our job…just like you do.”
(Bio; Dick Johnson is a writer from St. Louis, Missouri)