Just a collection of various stories I began with no intention to finish, or answers to writing prompts. Enjoy! Please visit my author page on FB! Also note, some of these may be removed later if I feel the urge to expand on them!


22. A Mind of Their Own


          The floor came faster than I expected. I looked down to see what caused me to trip, only to watch my quarry bounce around the end cap. I sighed and stood up, hearing a soft gremlin-like giggling disappear the other direction. I sighed and rubbed my head.
          These things sure had a mind of their own. Literally.
          I was always taught that everything had a soul, even things that were crafted by humans out of inorganic materials. I will never understand how they managed to move about like they were alive. Well, they are alive, actually. They eat and sleep, and make trouble, and sometimes outsmart even the most intelligent of my coworkers.
          "Did you catch the brass polishes yet?" my boss asked, walking by.
          I smiled, red in the face and rubbed the back of my head. He rolled his eyes and took a few steps around the end cap, picking up the container. Instantly, it fell silent, nearly purring, it's legs retracted.
          "You have to pick 'em up the right way, or they get away again. Make sure they have enough refill or they get cranky and start spraying crap everywhere," he instructed.
          I nodded. Making the cleaning section look nice was always a task because there were so many different types of cleaners, all with their own likes, dislikes, personality traits, and wants. They had to all be kept happy or they would start leaving spots of sometimes deadly solutions around. I sighed, wondering if other retailers had this much trouble with their Casabella mops and Perfect Glass sprays.
          "You'll get it," he added, lightly knocking my shoulder with a roll of papers.


          A chorus of soft screeches returned me to reality. I peered over toward the coffee wall and frowned. The Keurig Single-Serve brewer display was at it again. I heard a deeper cackle as it leaned down over the open display chest of gift coffees, their single-serve bodies shaking with fear.
          I took a few steps toward the machine and slapped it on the head. Its grin disappeared and it looked at me with a slight frown as if I had just denied it its rights as a coffee-maker.
          I sighed and closed the display chest. A soft chittering followed as the Timothy's Decaf Columbian and Donut Shop Regulars settled down in the velvet-lined wooden chest.
          The brewer was not only upset that it had lost its meal (Though the chest seemed oddly empty. I assumed the machine had taken a few snacks from the display.), but now it had been slapped by a hand the size of its head. It grumbled, baring its plastic "buck tooth," a piece of plactic just under the lid to protect consumers from the needle inside, designed to puncture the K-cups. 
          "Shh! Stop whining. When you get bought, you get all the coffee you want!" I hissed. 
          It spat back at me, obviously not pleased.
          A sudden chattering caught my attention to the right. A group of Gloria Jean's Hazelnut and Green Mountain Decaf French Roast began to shake. I feared for the worst.
          What happened next, I don't think I will ever again see in my life.
          Three boxes, two of the Hazelnut and one of the French Roast, leaped off the shelp and landed with a soft thump on the floor. Not knowing what else to do, I simply watched as a series of other unopened K-cup boxes followed the leaders and the boxes ripped open, small tears at first then bursting open with the force of a chick exploding from its two-week, shelled home. The K-cups lept, not hopped or climbed, lept onto the shelf containing the now surprised Keurig brewer. Like little people facing a goliath, the attacked, smacking at the machine with soft, but angry chitters. The brewer protested, growling and flailing about.
          When the flailing failed, it started roaring! The needle in the center of it's inner mouth glinted and I took an involuntary step forward, then stopped, not knowing what it was capable of. The K-cups didn't stop. The brewer swung its head around, grabbing the nearest attacker and piercing it's seal. Powdered coffee beans began to leak out and it grew limp. A few of the attackers paused at the death of their comrade, but kept going.
          Overcome by the onslaught, the brewer shook with rage. Swinging around in an attempt to free itself, the base unstable, it teetered on the edge of the shelf. I watched, helpless, and the one hundred and ninety dollar machine crashed to the floor, cracking the plastic of the reservoir. Unperturbed, it still faught, more K-cups leaping from boxes with chitters of triumph. Cracking the plastic casing, a few hopped inside and began to empty themselves into the circuits of the unfortunate single serve machine. A few sparked flew and then...silence.
          "What happened here?" my boss asked. "It looks like a hurricane came through."
          "The natural order of things I suppose," I replied as the K-cups did a little dance on their fallen enemy.
          "Let's get this cleaned up then," he replied. "At least the coffees been rotated already, right?"
          I smiled awkwardly. "Might have to do that again," I added, looking at the nearly empty wall now. "Mind if their own, eh?"
          "Chop, chop!" he said. "Pull from top-stock of you have to."
          "Alright," I nodded, racing to the back stockroom.


          Something had spooked the PillowPets.
          A small stampeded of fluff-filled animals in the shape of pillows barreled down the back of soft lines as I stood in horror watching the mob race toward me. I had spent hours putting them up and all my work was destroyed in a few seconds. I felt like kicking something.
          Standing in the path in an effort to stop them, and was barreled over by an especially hefty Magical Unicorn. Sputtering and flailing, I tried to stand up but another onslaught of the fabric-covered beasts trampled over me.
          "What is going on?!" my boss demanded. "Didn't you just put these away?"
          "I did..." I said, flushing with embarrassment. "But I think some little kid screeched and well...."
          "We have a code 12 in soft lines, now proceeding to hard lines. Keep the doors closed while we take care of it," he said into his walkie. A few confused customers found their unfortunate way into the stampeded and an elderly woman was knocked over. I raced over the help her up and she nodded with many apologies.
          "No, ma'am, it's alright. It's not uncommon for PillowPets to get spooked this easily. I wish they weren't so skiddish," I assured her. She nodded her thanks and I raced to check the automatic doors, passing the case of sleeping knife sets (How I wish these stupid pillows were as relaxed as the knives. God only knows what would happen if knives were this skiddish.) and the now bickering Zoolo Ring Holders in closets. I shook my head in annoyance. You'd think they would put the cats on one side far away from the mice and rabbits.
          The front end supervisor, ever diligent in her work, had already locked to doors. I thanked the god of retail and went about blocking the right path, apologizing to customers as I went. Most were alright with it when they saw what the issue was.
          The stampede stopped at the door with an abrupt halt and various barks, whinnies, chirps, and growls. With the effort of hundreds, they pushed against the doors, but to no avail.
          "Next time make sure they're secured," my boss nodded. "Code 12 cleanup near the main door," he added over his walkie.
          I began to pick up the now docile pets and toss them into a shopping cart. What a day, I mused. Next stop was the ring holders.

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