I can’t be sure where I was supposed to be

The store is harsh white bright lights with splashes of green the brand color, peach square floor tiles and faux-mahogany wood, and the person behind the register with hands squarely planted on the counter shoulders up, What Can I Do For You? in a tone done repeating himself. I have come to the wrong place. Are you the new hire? he asks. Yes, yes I’m here to…, I haven’t spoken a word to a person all day it’s maybe 9pm. Who hired you? he asks. I talked to, Mary, I tell him. Customers passing in and out a filing line of swiping goods and moving on, the man at the register in glimpses between the coming-going customers. Where should I park? I ask. Where did you park? this the woman standing beside me, Mary she’s also facing the register. She repeats herself. She has a thick accent I place as maybe Azerbaijani because it’s something I’ve never heard of. On the side, I answer. You need to park at the gas pumps, she says facing me now with a palm outstretched towards the gas pumps out the front windows. I stammer because sweat prickles under my face and I’m in a thick sweatshirt because I thought it was going to be cold outside but with these bright white lights hot and the body heat of the people who won’t stop moving, just appearing at the register quick-swipe their goods goodbye. The man at the register’s come out from behind the register walking hastily to stand before me, he is short maybe Vietnamese or Turkish or Peruvian but I can’t understand him and he’s right in front of me looking closely at me and asking, Where are you supposed to be? Who hired you? What are you doing in my store? I thought you called me, I answer.

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