HOW MAY I HELP YOU? ~ Speakeasy #135

smiley face

A telephone rings in a three-story walkup somewhere in Chicago…
Cook County Jail’… what the hell???  “Hello?”
“Cheryl, I need your help.”

Front Desk at the Cook County Jail…
“Hi, I’m here to bail Ethel out.”

Corner booth at the Blue Line Lounge & Grill…
Cheryl had taken her friend to Damen and North Streets under the El, a new restaurant they had been wanting to try.  Cheryl could tell Ethel was upset, she had been silent on the way, most unlike Ethel.  As curious as she was, she would bite her tongue and wait for her friend to explain why she had to ruin a perfectly good evening of watching Survivor.  Ethel knew it was her favorite show, why couldn’t she get arrested on a different day.

“We haven’t been here since it was the Busy Bee.  Remember the pierogis Sophie made?”
“Boy, it’s changed. Just like all of Wicker Park. Yuppiefied!  I guess you are wondering…?”
“Of course I’m ‘wondering’ Ethel! What the hell did you do?  They said you beat up an old man at Walmart.”
“Oh for crying out loud, I didn’t hurt him.  Just a little slap and he makes such a big deal.”
“The blue vest you’re wearing wouldn’t have anything to do with why you were there?”
“I guess I won’t need it anymore.  I should have told you, Cheryl, but I thought you’d laugh at me.”
“So this is why you’ve been so busy, nothing to do with your sister I’m thinking?  The one you don’t like, remember?  Start at the beginning, I’m dying to know.”
“At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea.  I wanted to earn some extra money, so I went looking thru the want ads in the Reader, circling jobs I thought I would like.  Then I saw the perfect one, you know how good I am with people, I could work as a greeter!  Well, of course they loved me, the manager wanted me to start at once.”
“Get to the old man, Ethel.”
“I’d been there two days. Most of the people were nice, but some I could do without. I was having fun, helping people by giving directions to the different parts of the store. I was greeting a woman when I got poked in the back.  A little old man, who I had directed to sporting goods, was furious because he could not find sporting goods and he called me a ‘bitch’.  So I slapped him! End of story.”
“End of story?  What about Cook County?”
“Oh. Well he got all uppity, found a cop and pressed charges.  The store had to go along with it, as employees aren’t allowed to hit the customers.  It’s in the handbook they said.”

Walmart Superstore ~ North and Cicero…
“Hi,Welcome to Walmart!”
“Hi.  I’m here to return Ethel’s vest.  Remember Her?”


This is my response to The Speakeasy #135 prompt… This week’s sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner Janna, can be used ANYWHERE in your piece. And our media prompt this week is a song, which you will find below. As with all our media prompts, your post shouldn’t be about the song, but you must make some sort of reference to it in your submission.  The song is by Sarah McLachlan ‘I Will Remember You’; and the sentence by Janna is At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea.”  

I’d read stories from Speakeasy prompts by some writers I like.  I thought I’d give it a try. Here is where to find The Speakeasy!


18 responses

  1. Hahaha….I’ve been to Wal Mart… some customers deserve to be slapped. Just sayin’!

    This line really cracked me up: “Ethel knew it was her favorite show, why couldn’t she get arrested on a different day.”– some people are SO selfish 🙂

    I’m glad you decided to join in the writing fun at Speakeasy. I haven’t been doing it for too long, but I like the group of people that hang out there.

  2. Ha! Thanks for a very amusing read – I could totally see myself as Ethel, slapping the hell out of someone for calling me a bitch and ending up in the joint! You, too, managed to work in the prompts with ease. Good luck over at the speakeasy!

  3. This was so realistic, although I’ve been to Walmart and the slapping could go either way. I would totally testify at Ethel’s trial!

  4. I think slapping shouldn’t just be allowed but encouraged at wal-mart; those slow walkers make me….errrr! Great story.

  5. Loved the humor of the piece, and reality of the girls….well done

  6. Haha, someone needs anger management classes. This was a fun read and love how different all the stories are and yet we were all given the same prompts.

  7. enjoyed it txs for sharing now on 2nd thought I just might skip getting a job at walmart as a greeter, seems management has no sense of humor,
    double m

  8. Clever and fun just the way I like it.

  9. What an interesting story.I heard they say ‘the customer is always right’.he shouldn’t use inappropriate words either.I think.

  10. I hate Walmart so much. I can’t really explain why. But I’d probably slap someone too if I worked there. I liked the way you bounced between locations-that’s hard to pull off! I’m going to eat more bon bons now.

  11. Poor Ethel. Good story and appropriate with the holidays not too far away.

  12. I have the feeling that Ethel is now the hero of every employee at the store. I can hear the conversations now. Great work!

  13. I liked Ethel, and I felt bad for her, but not too much. She’s feisty, and I have a feeling she’ll land right back on her feet. Nice character development, Ted! 🙂

  14. Hahaha! I was thrilled to see Ethel and Cheryl here at the Speakeasy! Pretty sure that guy had it coming. Great story, Ted! 😀

  15. “Employees aren’t supposed to hit the customers. It’s in the handbook”. Hahaha!

    P.S. I love that you have the Write like a motherfucker cup. I asked for one for Christmas.

  16. ha ha… this is one very interesting read. Loved it. 🙂

  17. I liked your take on the prompts. Nicely done!

  18. Hats off to Ethel, but if I was Cheryl I might have slapped Ethel for calling during her favorite program, Survivor! Nice work Ted!!

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