The Supermarket Girl

Krystal Mayfield, a New Orleans teenager, down on her luck and getting deeper and deeper. Complete short story.

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3. Supermarket Girl

 

 

Supermarket Girl

 

Judge Jackson and Officer Fulton assured Krystal that in the light of her story and her desperate plight, they would not be charging her. She was lucky that nothing had been written up. “I want you to come with us now, we’re all going pay a little visit to your old supermarket!”

 

This time, the ride in the big car was very different. Officer Fulton was now speaking in friendly tones – They were again sitting in the back but not now handcuffed together. “I really had you wrong, young Krystal,” said Officer Fulton, “I figured you to be one of the scumbags from the projects. I must apologize for that. You talk a good talk - I sure hope that if I have a daughter, she might turn out like you!” They continued past the flood damaged dereliction of Claiborne Avenue and turned onto the sprawling supermarket parking lot. 

David Charles was unusually in his office at the vast supermarket on Elysian Fields. He must have been taking a rest from his gambling and floozying for the day. Judge Jackson was shown into the office, closely followed by Officer Fulton and Krystal. Charles was shocked to see her. “What the hell is she doin’ here?” grunted Charles. “Mister Charles, allow me to introduce myself,” said the judge. He did so then said; “Miss Mayfield is my star witness in some cases we’ll be hearing in the Louisiana Supreme Court over the next few weeks. She will be giving evidence as to certain working practices in the supermarket environment.” He ascertained from the disgruntled manager that five kids had recently been dismissed; all for taking food items without paying. The judge then asked Charles if any of their references and school reports had actually been checked? “Yes, indeed!” replied Charles, and then, without any apparent irony: “We have a store here that is part of a global empire. We don’t need dishonest folks working here – We have a reputation to maintain.”

Judge Jackson had Charles bring a list of the five dismissed youngsters. After reading through, he showed it to Krystal and asked; “Can you recognise any of these names?” With a quick glance at the A4 sheet, she nodded and confirmed knowledge of all five. Krystal expressed surprise at this news, explaining to everyone that the kids listed here were all part of a really promising team. She herself had mentored them during their induction weeks and had emphasised the need for honesty. “I’m sorry,” she sighed; “All of these young people are from poor homes; they are all from good, God fearing families and I am convinced that the store’s policy of blatant falsehoods has corrupted their senses of honesty and decency.” She was weeping as she added; “Lord! I just hope we can rescue them from this.”  

Judge Jackson turned to the nonplussed manager. He told him a little lie: “Mister Charles, your company policy about re-pricing is against state law. I’m going to recommend that the State does not proceed with these cases as the store made a mistake. I want you to contact your superiors and let them know we don’t do business like that around these parts.”

 “You owe Miss Mayfield here an apology, immediate reinstatement and a promotion to assistant manager!” He insisted that all the dismissed kids be contacted and re-hired. With a sneer, he finished with: “If you don’t comply, the law WILL CLOSE YOU DOWN!”

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