Starter for Ten – 08/07/19

Starter for Ten is a daily writing exercise where the aim is simply to write for a full 10 minutes. No editing or revision is allowed after the 10 minutes is up. The aim is to try new things, experiment with voices and styles and be bold. Suckage often occurs.


“I’d like to speak to the manager please,” the lady said.

The words dropped like turds onto the floor. Customers within earshot briefly paused and angled their heads so that they would be able to follow along. Battery displays near the checkout suddenly became fascinating.

“He’s going to tell you the same thing that I told you ma’am.”

“I don’t care young lady, I said I would like to speak to the manager.” The lady’s breath smelled of coffee and something I couldn’t place – sin maybe.

I knew there was no winning the argument so I pulled the store mic closer to my mouth and called Gary to checkout 4.

There were customers waiting behind the lady and other checkouts were open but they wanted to see how this played out. People love a bit of free drama.

Gary wandered over. Long legs, teeth buckled like broken spokes. When he saw the jut of the lady’s hip he correctly guessed that it was a TOAC. That’s a Twat Of A Customer if you’ve never worked retail – and if you’ve not, God bless you. He started a flop sweat as he came near that I could see was going to drip onto my conveyor.

“How do you do madam, I’m Gary, the deputy manager of the store, how do you do?”

Fucking Gary. He’d have lost an argument with a plate of cheeses.

“You’re the deputy manager? I asked to speak to the manager.”

Classic TOAC. She’d be writing down names in a second and asking for head office’s email.

“Well, I’m the highest ranking staff member in store. Our manager is not currently in store.”

“Where is he?” Wait up, check your privilege TOAC.

“Well, she – actually it’s a she – was a she rather – is dead.”