Customer 17 | By: Nick Roberts | | Category: Short Story - Horror Bookmark and Share

Customer 17

An electronic bell dinged when 38-year old Ray Selby walked through the door at the local convenience store.  A short, overweight clerk wearing a nametag reading “Carl” gave one quick glance at him and immediately returned full attention to his celebrity magazine.

Ray was a tall slender guy with short dark hair and light blue eyes.  Greasy gel slicked his hair back and he looked like he hadn’t shaved in two days.  He casually strolled to the register with a grace of arrogance.  Dressed in black denim jeans and a white sleeveless shirt, to Carl he looked like an extra from West Side Story.  Clark slowly raised his head from his magazine finishing the sentence as he transitioned into eye contact.

“Can I help you?” Clark politely asked.  Before Ray could respond to the clerk, the bell triggered by the door dinged again; this time a strikingly beautiful young high school girl cheerfully walked back to the other side of the store studying the energy drink section of the coolers.

Ray turned his gaze back around to Clark with a twisted grin across his face, giving a quiet, impressed whistle.

Clark understood the whistle and said, “When I see a girl like that, I wish God would take away the last five of my birthdays; drop me down to 17 again.” Immediately after he said it he felt bad because the girl could only be 16 at the most, but he was in the habit of bullshitting his own opinions for those of the customers.

“You ain’t kiddin’ junior.  It’s 85 degrees out there, but my sweat just now started pumpin’ when that creature passed by me,” Ray informed with raised eyebrows.

Clark instinctively cut back to business and asked, “So what can I get you, Sir?”

Not paying attention to Clark, Ray rested his elbows on the counter by the register and turned his head back around to eyeball the girl’s smooth tanned legs as she read the label of a Red Bull.

“That’s right sweetheart, leave that cooler door propped open and let that crisp air frost those little hush puppies,” Ray softly spoke, seemingly thinking out loud.  “You know what the polite thing to do to a girl like that is?  You go to a novelty shop and get this edible strawberry gel mess and dribble that shit all over that girls little snatch and enjoy the feast.  I mean I guess you don’t really need the strawberry gel…girl like that secretes sugar water as it is.”

Completely caught off guard, Clark suddenly felt very uncomfortable as this pervert in front of him fantasized to him.  Clark attempted to force out an amused chuckle but Ray easily detected his uncomfortable vibe.  Ray finally turned back to Clark and pushed off the counter.  He snatched a pair of state trooper sunglasses with reflective lenses off a nearby rotating display.  Slyly he slid them on and smiled from ear to ear.

Clark awkwardly stared back not knowing what to say.  He couldn’t help breaking eye contact to check up on the girl in the back who was now looking at the label of a Diet Coke.  Quickly, he switched back to Ray who had lost his grin and now stared at Clark with a cold, emotionless gaze.

Clark started to speak, “Sir, I’m really uncom-”

“You a faggot?” Ray snapped.  Shocked now, Clark just stared ahead in bewilderment.

“I bet you are,” Ray started.  “I bet when you’re all alone in here at night reading your queer little magazines you’re just wishing that a good lookin’ guy like me would just kick in that fuckin’ door, rip your pants off with his teeth, and suck you dry.  Am I right?  You’re probably rubbin’ your chubby prick through them sweats right now ain’t ya?”

“Get the fuck out!” Clark screamed back with a squeaky voice.  The young girl in the back jumped with a startle.  Ray pushed the sunglasses up resting them on his forehead.  He seemed to be staring straight through Clark’s eyes and into his thoughts.

“Maybe you should get the fuck out before I get this knife the fuck out,” Ray dangerously warned in a deep Marlboro’d voice.  Clark felt his heart tighten up as he started to breathe in short, panicked gulps.  He looked at the girl who had put the drinks back and was now speed walking toward the door.

“Ah, shit blue-jay…I don’t even get a number?” Ray playfully taunted as she walked out the door setting off another “ding”.  Ray dropped the smile and turned back to Clark and shot a piercing stare into his petrified eyes, which looked to be filling up with moisture.

“Just please leave me alone,” Clark pleaded.

“Allison Brooke Channing,” Ray said almost too fast for Clark to hear.

“Wh-What?” Clark mumbled, now completely puzzled.

“Her name is Allison Brooke Channing.  She lives with her mother, Beth, and father, Chuck.  They left for their 19th anniversary at six this morning, going to Maui I believe, leaving their 15 year old daughter home alone until Uncle Bart comes by at five this evening to check on her.  Uncle Bart is leaving shortly after; you see he’s under the impression that Allison will be staying at her friend Julia Greene’s house tonight when in fact Julia Greene will be lying to her parents as well in order to stay at Allison’s completely unsupervised.  Well…not completely unsupervised,” Ray said with a half-laugh.  “I’ll be swingin’ by there to check up on them around nine o’clock.  It really is amazing how much shit you can get on someone just by looking though their garbage and listening in on phone calls.  I even know when her period starts,” Ray admits as he sniffs the air a couple times.  “Luckily it ain’t tonight if you know what I mean,” he said, elbowing Clark.

“Why the fuck are you telling me this?” the frightened clerk wondered out loud in his state of shock and repulsion. 

“I don’t know,” Ray admitted. “I suppose because it doesn’t really matter what I tell you. Hey is that a camera!?” Ray frantically asked pointing above Clark’s head.  Clark looked straight up and suddenly his teeth gritted together as his jaw locked shut and his muscles tightened up as Ray slammed a four inch pocket knife blade up into his mouth just under the chin.  Ray grabbed Carl by his curly hair, pulled him close and repeatedly beat the knife into his throat cutting out almost everything back to the bottom of the brain stem. 

Letting go of the hair, Carl dropped to the floor, smacking his head on the hard counter on his way down.  Ray quickly leaped the counter and squatted down beside Carl who was still barely gurgling for air.  Eagerly waiting, Ray finally heard Carl let out his last bloody attempt at life.  Quickly, Ray stuck his face almost cheek to cheek with Carl and deeply inhaled his last dying breath.  He let out a deeply satisfied moan as if he’d just had an orgasm, and then grabs a pack a Marlboro cigarettes from the store shelf and lights one up.

“Remember, don’t tell anyone what I said…it could fuck up everything for me!” Ray taunted as he let out a maniacal laugh.  He hopped the counter once again and took one more last glance at Carl.  Satisfied, he put his sunglasses back on and looked down at his watch. 

“I gotta lot of time to kill before nine o’clock,” he half said to Carl as he strolled out the door setting off an alarming “ding”.

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