Fiction Fragment Friday

Ok, this one takes a bit of setup. This isn’t something I wrote recently. In fact this story was written in 2006 almost twenty years ago. If the technology or any other aspect seem dated that is why. Back in those days cell phones would lock up and we would frequently have to pull the batteries to hard reboot them. Replacing batters was common as well.

It is part of the very first attempt I made at NaNoWriMo. Also this section of that novel attempt references a scene that happened earlier in the day where these characters were introduced. You can find that story posted on here back in 2020.

If you don’t want to go back to that just know that something has occurred during the night that killed all electronics in a small isolated town. That also means cars are not starting because of how reliant they are on electronics. This scene is in a convenience store that is the only place to get any form of groceries in this small town. People are already panicking.

“How are you doing over there Samantha?”   By this point in the morning the crowd had left the small store and all that was left was to restock the shelves.  Jan had been very pleased that Samantha was willing to take her job offer in the midst of all the chaos. 

            “I’m almost done Mrs. Williams.  Your stock room is getting pretty empty though and I don’t think you have anything left here with any kind of nutritional value.”  She paused for a moment to look into the box she was carrying.  “Unless of course you find Twinkies to be a part of a balanced diet that is,” she said with a smile.

            Jan chuckled a little bit.  “I don’t even find them edible.  I can’t stand those things.”  A more serious look came across her face as she leaned against the counter.  “I just really don’t understand what happened this morning.  A violent mob like that after only being without power for a few hours just doesn’t make any sense.”

            Samantha finished emptying her box and joined Jan at the counter.  “Well, it was like that man said this morning, it isn’t just the electricity.  All the cars quit working, all the handheld electronics just died, and we can normally just go to Prosperity to get stuff when the power goes out.  I wonder if it’s like this there too.  Man, that would suck.  It’ll take me forever to get new cell phone batteries if all theirs are dead too.  Hey maybe that’s why all the cars quit working, maybe their batteries are just dead.”

            “Well, it doesn’t make much sense, but then again what I saw here this morning doesn’t either.  The stranger had some good points about why the crowd was panicking, but it just seems too soon.  Also, he didn’t say Prosperity, he said Augustus.  I don’t even know where that is, but it definitely isn’t close enough to here to drive for supplies.  I didn’t mention it earlier because of everything that was going on, but I don’t think he was from around here.  I’m glad for his help, but it doesn’t make much sense for him to be talking like a local and not know that the only town around here is Prosperity.’

            “Aw, you’re just paranoid.  He seemed nice enough and if it wasn’t for him there is no telling how bad that fight would have gotten.  It was pretty wicked to see the principal punch someone though.  I just wish I could have gotten a picture of it on my phone, but that’s not taking any pictures any time soon.  How am I supposed to get by without my phone?  I feel so out of touch already and it hasn’t even been a day yet.  I should have had at least five texts by now.”

            Jan and Samantha were startled by the sound of a loud engine pulling into one of the parking spots outside the store.  A motorcycle pulled into the spot right next to the door and a leather clad teenager got off it.  He put his helmet on the seat and started walking towards the door.  Samantha recognized him as Jonathan Hackett a boy that she went to school with.  He wasn’t nearly as popular as her, and she had always seen him as something of a dork.  He was the last person she would have thought about riding a motorcycle, but then again, she never really thought about him at all. 

            Jan turned to Samantha as Jonathan came into the store.  “Well, I guess that kills your dead battery idea,” she whispered as she walked around the counter.  “We don’t really have all that much left on the shelves.  As you can probably guess we had a busy morning.  If you need anything at all, then Samantha here can give you a hand.”  She extended her arm and pointed towards a still shocked Samantha.  “Hey Sam, I’m going to go in back and see if I can find anything for a lunch break.”  With that Jan was gone leaving Samantha and Jonathan alone in the store. 

            Jonathan turned to Samantha and smiled.  “So, when did you start working here?”

            “Oh, I was just helping Mrs. Williams out this morning.  I don’t know if I’m going to keep working here once everything is back to normal.   Hey, I think that might be the first thing that you have said to me in three years.  You’re usually so quiet.”

            Jonathan chuckled, “Yeah, well it’s a lot easier to get up the nerve to talk to someone in a stockperson’s apron than it is a cheerleader outfit.”

            Samantha smiled.  “I guess I can see that.  Well for now at least I am a humble clerk”, she said with a bow.  “How may I server you?”

             Jonathan couldn’t help but smile.  “Well, I was getting ready to head to Prosperity to see if my new laptop on layaway still works, but as I rode by here, I got this sudden unexplainable craving for a Twinkie.”  Jonathan was getting braver by the moment.  He had always had a crush on Samantha but thought that she was way out of his league.  The fact that she was even talking to him amazed him.  “So, it looks pretty empty in here, so after Mrs. Williams gets done would you like to come to Prosperity with me?  I have an extra helmet.”  He cursed himself for sounding too eager with the helmet comment. 

            “Right about now I would do just about anything for a chance to get a new Cell Phone battery.  As long as you promise not to go too fast or do anything to try and scare me I’m in.  Let me go talk to Mrs. Williams really quick.”  Samantha stopped at the stockroom door and turned back to Jonathan who had a big smile on his face.  “You know, I also haven’t seen you smile in about three years either.” 

            “What can I say, I really like Twinkies.”  Jonathan thought for a moment that he had just made a complete fool out of himself.  His mind was racing with thoughts about how stupid he was for trying to make the joke.  Then he noticed that Samantha was laughing.  As she went into the stockroom, he said to himself, “This might be a once in a lifetime chance to spend the day with Samantha Walker.  Please don’t let me screw this up.” 

            Samantha came out of the stockroom smiling.  “Give me fifteen minutes and I’ll be ready to go.”  She grabbed a pack of the freshly restocked Twinkies from the shelf and tossed it to Jonathan.  “Those are on me, just something to pass the time while you wait.” 

Jonathan couldn’t bring himself to tell Samantha that he really didn’t like Twinkies.  In fact, he hated them.  He had seen her holding the empty box that she had restocked the Twinkies from and thought it might be a good excuse for why he was there.  Really, a friend of his had been there earlier and saw her working.  He knew that she was there and had come just to see her.  He didn’t want her to think he was stalking her so instead he ate the Twinkies and pretended that they were the best thing he had ever eaten.  In his head though, he was just trying to keep from throwing up as he forced them down.