“Friday, Payday” features Lester, who works the second shift (3pm to 12am) at a convenience store. On a particular Friday, a payday, he narrates how his shift goes, along with describing the various customers coming into the store to cash their checks.
As the day passes, Lester wonders about life as he restocks beer, talks to this coworkers, and hopes he doesn’t get caught in the rain after work.
I look up to see Drunk Tom. Well, that’s ain’t his name. It’s just Tom, but I call him Drunk Tom ‘cause that’s what he is. He ain’t a mean drunk though. He works in construction, and does all types of odd jobs. Today he’s wearin’ a white shirt and white pants and he’s splattered with paint.
“Ain’t it kinda early, Tom?”
“I just got off. And it’s payday, Les! Gotta start the weekend off right!”
Drunk Tom doesn’t move. He’s trying to be slick thinkin’ that I don’t know that he really wants to buy two of those twelve packs. This store doesn’t sell a whole case of beer. Gotta go to the liquor store for that. But Drunk Tom doesn’t want to look like the drunk he is, walkin’ out with two twelve packs. I’ll make it easy for him.
“Well, Tom, nice seein’ ya. I gotta take the buckets back and throw away this trash.”
I don’t dare turn back to look at Drunk Tom, not even when he says “Yeah, see ya, Les.” And I take a long time in the back. By the time I make my way out to the front again, I see Drunk Tom makin’ his way to his car, a twelve pack of Bud Light in each of his hands.
What Made Me Write Friday, Payday?
I got the idea for “Friday, Payday” from my experiences doing Point-of-Sale (POS) work in liquor stores, fast food locations and restaurants. While I would fix the malfunctioning computer, or install a new POS system, I would watch customers come and go. Frankly, I couldn’t help watch the customers.
While watching them, I would listen to their conversations too. Some customers had cool stories, while others complained about their day. Either way, I got to see and hear sometimes innocent or intimate details.
I focused on the check-cashing in this story after repairing a check-cashing computer. It was in a liquor store. The owners had a great setup for business. On one side customers came in and cashed their checks. Next to that was the cigarettes area. Those interested would leave one line and wait in the line for cigarettes. Next to that area were lotto tickets. Finally, on the other side of the store is where you paid for your alcohol.
I watched all of this in awe. The store owner had a fantastic business setup, as he/she earned money from cashing checks, then got more money from the customers by selling cigarettes, lotto tickets, and alcohol.
Where Can You Find This Story?
You can download a sample of the short story below (in PDF format). The full story is in the “Seven Short Stories” collection on Amazon for $2.99.