Writing Prompt: Hope and Lobster
Hope was bored. She had been at work for five hours and had seen as many customers. It was slow. She figured it would be. Today was the first day of the fair. Everybody was excited for it. There were rumors that some celebrities would be visiting the fair this year. She didn’t believe it, of course. She knew people would, though. She always found what people would fall for to be comical.
She had also counted on the owner to give everybody short shifts for the day. Which he did. To everybody but her. For her, he seemed to find a twelve hour shift highly appropriate. When she confronted him about being the only one that had such a long shift, he just rambled on about her being the most reliable and listed the people he was sure were going to call off because they would be going to the fair instead.
The thought of people calling off to go to the fair when they were only working four hours to begin with infuriated her. If she could do twelve hours and miss the entire first day, they could survive four. She knew that he was right about them. She wasn’t even shocked when shortly after they came in every single one that he predicted had called off. She only wished she was able to administer disciplinary action to them. She was the manager only in name. The owner handled all of the write ups and discharges.
She sat at a booth by the bar. That was fine. If Perry wanted to pay her to sit around and do nothing, that was fine with her. At least she had the next two days off. She could go to the fair and enjoy her time then. She had just pulled out her book to start reading when she heard the tell tell sign of the bell at the door. With a sigh, she got up and placed her book in her back pocket.
“Welcome to Zoey’s Seafood Shack! Please feel free to sit anywhere you wish!”
She took a look at the woman who had just entered. She looked a little older than Hope. She also looked very poised and sophisticated. Despite that, she looked like she carried a lot of sorrow with her. Any other time, Hope would delve deeper to find out what troubled this woman. Today, she was too tired to care.
“Thank you, dear. May I ask, do you serve lobster?”
She resisted the urge to point out this was a seafood place. Afterall, it was a fair question she supposed. Maybe some seafood places didn’t serve lobster. Who was she to judge? She had to resist being cranky and be civil with her only customer. Especially if she wanted a good tip.
“We certainly do. Let me get you a menu, darling!”
“Thank you very much! I’m new here. I was supposed to be only visiting. Oh nevermind. You don’t want to hear my story. I’m sure.”
“Don’t say that. I’m happy to lend an ear if you need it.”
“Oh you’re too kind, my sweet. Perhaps next time. In the meantime, I’ll let you enjoy your downtime. That’s a good book you’re reading.”
As Hope gave the woman the menu and walked away, it dawned on her what the woman had said. There was absolutely no way the woman could have seen the book that Hope was reading. It was in her back pocket long before she walked up to her. She shuddered as a chilling suspicion went through her. This woman would change life for her as she knew it.