I walked up to the counter with my groceries, and set them on the belt.

The cashier looked from her chair, and said, "This all of it?"

I looked incredulously at the book in her hand, and responded. "Yes. Why?"

Sighing, she sat up from the chair, set the book down, and reached for the baking soda. "This is a rather eclectic pile you got here." She paused as she glanced at me, probably noticing my unshaven stubble, but more likely my sunglasses. "Sir."

"You know," I started, catching the intelligent rebel tone, "Being a cashier isn't the worst thing in the world."

Catching her off-guard, she replied snarky. "Well, it is when it's not what you want to do."

"And what is it you want to do, missy?"

We stared at one another, one of her arms holding the condoms, and the other holding the vinegar. "Missy?"

I cleared my throat. "Sorry."

"Damn straight you are." She continued scanning the items.

"Look, at least you have a job, right? That's what I meant."

"Don't set off the fireworks for me. Your total comes to fourteen dollars and three cents."

I set my debit card through the scanner, and my items were bagged. She said, in a soul-sucked-away manner, "Thanks for shopping at John and Johnsons," then sat down with a conviction, and picked up that book like it was the only thing keeping her sane.

No other cars were in the parking lot when I left. As far as I knew, it was just her, and that book in that corner store. I felt terrible for some reason.

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