I'll Never Work a Closing Shift Again by Charmberry
I used to work for a Subway next to a liquor store along a fairly busy road. I hated the job, but I was only working there on Friday and Saturday evenings to make some extra money. The customers were friendly enough, referring to me as “the blue-eyed girl” as we didn’t have name tags. My coworkers were alright as well, being fun and interesting people, but my boss was a jerk. Luckily I didn’t have to see him often because he was only around during the mornings. Yet, he’d always find a way to make my job more stressful.
My boss would constantly say that our store was doing poorly in profits and would make it so that only one person would be working for hours alone. I have no idea what he was talking about because whenever I was working I felt as though every resident in our city would make an appearance at some time during my shift. Luckily I had a coworker with me until about an hour before close, something I was truly grateful for. But that all changed after minimum wage went up. My boss figured he’d save the money he was losing by cutting hours even more. So instead of working with someone until 8:30 pm or 9 pm, I would be alone from 6 pm until close, something that worried my mother and boyfriend. They didn’t particularly like the thought of me being alone in the store for that long as I’m a girl. I didn’t like the thought of it either, but what could I do?
I dreaded the following weekend when the new schedule would be in effect. On Friday my boyfriend agreed to stay with me until close, but on Saturday he couldn’t and so I begrudgingly made my way to work for 5 pm on that day. I worked with someone else until 6 pm and then they left. I was now in the store alone. I was hoping it’d be dead in the store since a football game was on that night, and this proved to be true. Not many people came in. So with the spare time I started cleaning things early as I knew it would take a lot longer to get everything done without anyone else helping me, and I’d bring many empty containers to the back room to wash them, returning to the front whenever I would hear the door alarm go off signaling that a customer had just walked in.
This went on for a couple of hours, and I hated every moment of it. I was in the back around 9 pm trying to finish washing some things when I heard the door alarm go off. We would be closed in just a half hour, so this was the point in my shift where I truly despised getting any customers. I finished rinsing the bowl I was washing and then reached for a paper towel, walking to the front to greet my unwanted customer. Much to my surprise, no one was there. I didn’t see any cars out front, but I looked around the store briefly before returning to the back room. Whoever it was, they must have decided they didn’t want anything. Not that I minded.
A couple of minutes passed and then I heard the door alarm go off again. I briskly walked to the front expecting a customer to be standing there looking at the menu, but when I got there I did not see anyone standing there ready to order. Instead I found a man sitting on the far end of the store at the back table. He appeared dirty with scraggly hair and mud all over his pants. He tracked some in I could see, and wasn’t too happy about it knowing that I’d have to re-mop the floors. Despite my irritation I greeted the man.
“Hello, sir. Are you waiting on someone or wanting a minute to look over the menu?”
He kept looking back and forth, from wall to wall, and occasionally out the window. He almost appeared disoriented, but would look at his phone every once in a while as though he were expecting a message from someone. He was fiddling with something in his pocket but wouldn’t take it out. Most importantly, he didn’t respond to my question, and I was getting pretty annoyed.
“Well, we’ll be closing in 20 minutes, sir. Please keep that in mind.”
Again, he didn’t respond. Just kept looking everywhere and anywhere but toward me. With an irritated sigh I walked to the back room and began preparing the mop bucket, filling it with water and floor cleaner. This probably took about 2 minutes. Once it was ready I wheeled it toward the front and quickly noticed that the man wasn’t there anymore. He couldn’t have left the store, however. I would’ve heard the door alarm go off if it had been opened. I grabbed my mop and looked toward the ground where I then noticed the set of muddy footprints leading toward the bathroom door. Great. I’ll have to mop the bathroom again too.
I began mopping the trail leading toward the table where the man had sat and then all the way toward the bathroom door. As I finished cleaning the floor directly in front of the door, I heard the faint muffled cries of someone on the other side. I leaned in until my ear was almost against the door itself and listened silently. I could hear quiet sobs mixed with some words like “no” and “I can’t”. What on earth was going on in there? I took a step back as quietly as I could and then was surprised by the sound of the door being unlocked. I immediately jumped away with mop in hand, and was a good 10 feet away when the door opened.
The man emerged and stood there for a couple of moments when he saw me standing there. Then for the first time…he looked me straight in the eye. This sent a chill down my spine. I held onto the mop nervously, almost defensively. His stare was blank and yet somehow sorrowful. He didn’t say anything and quickly walked out the front entrance setting off the door alarm. I turned and saw him make his way down the road, never looking back.
I took a breath, loosening my grip on the mop and looked back toward the bathroom door. I reached for the handle and slowly opened the door, quickly peering around inside before actually entering. When I walked inside I found a giant muddy mess all over the floor, as though the man had been walking in circles in there. I sighed and quickly mopped up the filth and turned to leave when I noticed the garbage can lid was on the ground beside it. I reached for it, bending over the can itself in order to retrieve it when I happened to notice something shining inside. I could feel my face grow pale when I reached in and retrieved an open switchblade. The only other thing in the can was a crumpled piece of paper. I reached for it and slowly opened it. The words on it still haunt me to this day…
435 WILSON ROAD. BRUNETTE. BLUE EYES. SATURDAY 9 PM. $1200.
I closed the store early that night. I didn’t finish washing the dishes and didn’t bother sweeping or mopping the back room. I just locked the door, put the food away, counted my drawer, and left. I quit the next day. I told my mom about what had happened and she called the police. I gave them my description of the guy as well as the knife and note I had found. They thanked me for my information and told us that they’d do what they could to find the guy. My mom still freaks out about it and won’t let me get another job. I don’t go out as often and I feel nervous every day. I always feel as though I’m being watched or…hunted. I still wonder about that note sometimes, but in all honesty I don’t want to know. Whoever wrote it…whoever wanted to hurt me…I don’t want to know. I may never know anyway. But one thing I do know is that I’ll never work a closing shift again.