An invitation to flash fiction I couldn’t refuse

On his excellent blog, Mark Bialczak, Mark posted an interesting piece of flash fiction. He invited all comers to use the premise he had created to write a piece of complimentary flash fiction. I don’t write flash fiction often, but there was something in his story that inspired me to give it try this time. The following is my contribution to the premise from a different perspective. I’m not sure it matters which piece you read first, but if you read this part you should definitely click the link above and shoot over to see Mark’s version of events.

Also, I will take the liberty to extend Mark’s invitation to carry on this story to anybody else who wants to add another perspective.

Here goes:


He leaned on the service desk and struggled to make eye contact. “I saw someplace where you were hiring,” he said in a soft voice.

Margaret led him over to the application kiosk and showed him how to start the electronic document. He typed slowly and made a lot of mistakes. Business was slow so she stayed to help him.

Stevie liked her patience. This was the first time anyone had taken such trouble to help him apply for a job. Maybe that meant he’d get this one.

He liked the way she smelled too, and she was pretty. He didn’t get so flustered by all his mistakes with her there. She was so nice.

He tabbed to a drop down menu to choose what kind of job he’d like. He stared at the choices before turning his searching eyes to her.

“What type of work would you like to do?”

“I’m not sure. What do you do?”

“I work the service desk.”

“If I chose that, would I work with you?”

“Maybe sometimes.”

His eyes darted back to the screen. He read as fast as he could, but there was no service desk job.

“Just pick “Customer Service,” she told him.

He did.

A customer came to her desk. “I’ve got to go now,” she said. “Think you can finish on your own?”

“Yes.” He read her name badge. “I think I can, Margaret.”

“Margaret,” he called to her as she moved away. She looked back. “My name’s Stevie – Stephen,” he said with an uncharacteristic grin.

She smiled back at him, but the smile faded as she reached the desk. As she processed a return for the customer, she couldn’t help looking at the new name badge sitting beside her drawer. The badge said “Brett.” Brett had come in an hour ago, wearing a tie and handing her a resume. He’d looked her square in the eye and reached out to shake her hand. She’d made a name tag for him as soon as he left, because she could tell about these things.

It was too bad she’d never make a name tag for Stephen. He seemed like a nice kid.


5 thoughts on “An invitation to flash fiction I couldn’t refuse

  1. Wonderful touch, Scott, and quite realistic to the time I spent working front end in the store. Sometimes you indeed just know who will and who won’t, and it’s a sad intuition.

    Thanks for participating, and linking to my flash fiction today.


    • I spent some time in retail myself, Mark. I saw all kinds of applicants. The positive side of the coin is that I got to see some young people blossom into good employees and better people.

      Thanks for the inspiration.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s