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Michael Lacare




I took the job because I was broke and because I was fortunate enough to be hired on the spot. An up and coming video chain, spreading across the country like a plague, with its vibrant blue and yellow logo, staking the hearts of the mom-and-pop shops, leaving the dead piled in great, heaping waves.
  “Are you closing tonight?”
  This was Claire Laskins. She was five feet six inches, slender with auburn hair that fell past her shoulders. She was nineteen, mild-mannered and had difficulty maintaining eye contact with me for more than a few seconds. She nervously played with her hands.
  The store closed at midnight. Every night. Weekends too, including holidays. By the time we were done counting out our tills, vacuuming and shelving the returned video tapes, it was almost 1:15 a.m. before we walked out.
  It was cold and Claire hadn’t brought a coat. We stood outside the store, small white puffs of vapor leaving our mouths. She had her hands stuffed deep into the front pockets of her loose fitting khaki pants.
  “Where’d you park?” I asked.
  “My boyfriend is picking me up,” she said.
  I glanced at my watch.
  “You can go ahead,” she said. “You don’t have to wait.”
  “I don’t mind.”
  Claire shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
  “Do you like it so far?”
  “This job?”
  I nodded.
  She thought about it for a second or two. “It’s a job.”
  A police cruiser strolled past and the cop inside nodded in our direction.
  “You want to hear something funny?” Claire said.
  “When I first saw you, I thought you were one of . . .
. . . . . . .
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