Expressions

Gumball Repairman: a short story

By PACIFIC ENG

Staff Writer

It’s my first day of work at the Skechers store. I had only been in this city for a week, and my new apartment was still full of unpacked boxes. I slip on my Skechers Men’s Diameter – Murilo Casual Shoes 7 M in Brown and walk out the door. I have an onion bagel with scallion cream cheese and a banana in my hand and make my way to work. The Skechers store was a in convenient location, in between a laundromat and a Chase Bank. I walk into the store and feel the cool AC on my skin. The smell of new shoes fills the room.

Then I see it; the centerpiece of the store. A shiny, new gumball machine. Inside of it is a plethora of gumballs: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and periwinkle. Except I am colorblind so they all could’ve been white and I wouldn’t have known. I see a man walking towards me and  I recognize him as man who had conducted my interview. Suddenly, my mind flashes back to the day I applied to work at the Skechers store.

It had only been the second interview I went to, the first one being the laundromat right next door. I had been told by the manager of the laundromat that unless I was a washer or a dryer, I wasn’t going to get hired. I walked out, disappointed that my parents hadn’t gotten me into washing and drying when I was younger. I saw the Now Hiring sign hanging outside of the Skechers store. I considered applying, but I thought to myself I dropped out of art school for better than this. But then again, there was no harm in applying, and I needed a job to pay for my monthly subscription to National Geographic. So I went in and filled out an application, then went home to take a nap.

I woke up to the sound of my phone going off. I answer it and a man asks me if to come back to the store for an interview. I say sure, and I make my way down to the Skechers store When I arrive, he asks me why I want to have a career selling shoes. I tell him ever since I was a boy my dream was to sell shoes for a living, and then he tells me I’m hired.

Flashing back to reality, my boss tells me I would be manning the register today. I spend the day on the store computer crashing simulated asteroids into the earth on https://www.purdue.edu/impactearth.  During my lunch break I visit https://isitchristmas.com, and I find out it wasn’t Christmas.

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop looking at the gumball machine. I knew I had to have it, even if that meant stealing it. So I make a plan, and carry it through. The first thing I do is jam the coin slot full of quarters and break the crank. Then, I wait for my boss to notice, which didn’t take very long, and I blame it on one of the kids in the store. He becomes furious, kicking the kid out of the store and having me call a gumball machine repairman, which I only pretend to do. After that, I take a sick day and leave work early.

I return to the store that same day in my gumball machine repairman outfit, which wasn’t really a gumball machine repairman outfit, I just flipped my shirt inside out and put a hat on. I make sure my boss doesn’t see who I am. I use a hand trolley to get the gumball machine out of the store, and I never looked back.

I take my TV dinner for one out of the microwave and sit down at my kitchen table. After I finish, I walk over to my new gumball machine, put in two quarters, and get a gumball. I wondered how I was going to afford my rent, but in the end I had a gumball machine and that was all that mattered.

the-gumball-repairman

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