By Ryan Andolina
It came with the clerk.
Some customers who visited the kiosk would stare at the purse, some for only a second, and some for more than a minute, but none touched the thing.
The clerk eyed the purse then looked up just as a young girl walked out of a department store, complaining to her friends. She wanted quality, she said, and snatched the purse.
The clerk offered a joyful hello. The girl ignored the clerk and tried to open the zipper, but it would not budge. When she switched hands, black ooze dripped on her toes. The girl dropped the bag and eyed her palm. There was a black gash etched into her palm. She shrieked and shoved her wounded palm in front of the clerk’s face. It was starting to turn a light shade of purple. She pointed at the purse with a manicured finger. The clerk shrugged and apologized, but said that it wasn’t really her fault. The clerk complimented the girl’s green t-shirt and reached for something underneath the cash register.
The girl scowled, then walked away. The clerk watched as more black ooze dripped from the girl’s palm onto the mall’s tiled floor, leaving a trail, which evaporated into the air seconds later. She heard the girl complain to her friends that the ooze wasn’t coming off. It had seeped onto her shirt, which made the girl touch her shirt with her wounded hand. The clerk took out a trash picker and used it to set the purse back on its pedestal.
Minutes later, girl returned to the clerk and asked to see someone in charge. The clerk shook her head and stated that she was alone. Just her and the kiosk. The girl motioned towards her shirt, and demanded the clerk buy her a new one. The clerk eyed the purse, smiled wide and then told the girl that she should learn some manners.
The girl was exasperated, she stomped her foot on the ground. The clerk just smiled. The girl walked away, and spouting profanity as she walked into an Abercrombie and Fitch store.
The girl was put on a missing persons list the next day. Her friends seemed to have forgotten going to the mall, or seeing her, one didn’t even remember her name.
The clerk appeared in another mall that week, at another kiosk. The color of the purse had changed to green. She greeted her first customer with a smile. As the day continued, a man dragging his son by the wrist snatched the purse from its pedestal. The clerk offered him a joyful hello.
Ryan Andolina is a student at Monroe community college, and is currently figuring out what he wants to do in the future. He enjoys dancing, writing, singing badly, and overthinking. His favorite color is silver and he enjoys ramen noodles for breakfast.