Can I Help You?

So this kid comes in and stands at the counter just staring me down, not looking at anything else but me. I saw him but was busy getting an order ready, so I had my back turned. I could feel his beady little eyes burning a hole in the back of my head, a hard stare like someone was pelting me with day old McNuggets. Even without looking at him I could feel his stare punching the rear of my skull. I turn around finally and look at him.

“Can I help you?” I ask. This kid just nods pointing his chin at me while keeping his eyes glued. Mean. Hard. Makes me swallow the big fat lump of nothing in my throat. He nods again.

“You James?” he asks.

Now I’m confused. My name is James, but how can he know? I’m not wearing my name tag. I got tired of people I didn’t know using my name like a afterthought so I tossed my name tag into someone’s to go order at the drive thru. The way the kid is looking at me I decide I should not divulge this info. He looks unpredictable. He looks like someone with a concealed weapon. He’s got a weak little mustache goatee combo that he’s probably been trying to grow his whole life. I can smell the crazy on him over the cooking French fries.

“James?” I ask, like I’ve never heard the name. He nods again, slow and deliberate, one drawn out rise of his chin. “James isn’t here,” I tell him. He squeezes his eyes a little, glowering me with eye daggers. “Can I give him a message?” I ask, hopeful that my acting skills will keep my true identity hidden.

“You tell him he can’t hide forever.”

“Okay, sure. I’ll tell him.” The kid nods at me one more time, and gives me one more skewer with his eyes. Then he turns and leaves.

That’s when I officially changed my name to Robert.

hello my name is rob (by robpurdie)


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