Short Story Sunday 125: Photograph

            David leaned forward against the white marbled counter. His arms were folded underneath him as he tried to see past his area of work. He worked at the one-hour photo section of the general store in his town. He had worked there for as long as he could remember, but the one-hour photo just wasn’t as busy as it used to be.

Everyone was taking photos with their cell phones, putting it on their computer, and then printing them out from home. Or they didn’t print them out at all. They just put it on social media websites and called it a day. David couldn’t recall anyone he knew who still used physical photo albums.

There were also websites dedicated to pictures where if you had an account, you could order prints along with putting your pictures on mugs and blankets and other random objects as such.

His work didn’t do that. They just printed the pictures out on special paper, special paper that their customers could buy in their store for cheaper than having the one-hour photo do it. It would be easier and cheaper to print the photos out at their own home.

But David still had a job for some reason. On days it wasn’t busy, he would help out around the other sections of the store, but today even those sections weren’t busy and they had more than enough staff to handle the trickle of customers coming through the door.

David sighed and paced behind the counter. He took out his cell phone from his pocket, which he wasn’t supposed to have, and checked the time. He still had two hours left in his shift. This wasn’t worth the minimum wage. Sure, he wasn’t doing any actual work, but he was tired standing around doing nothing.

He began to count the seconds in his head believing that if he counted for two hours the time would go by faster. He knew, if anything, it would just make him go crazy, but he did it anyway.

About only two minutes later, the computer buzzed. Startled, David walked over to it and smiled realizing that he had an order to fill.

Finally, something to do!

Not that it really mattered. The computer did all the work. David just had to push a couple of buttons, and then put the finished photos into an envelope. Then he waited some more for the customer to come and pick it up.

David told the computer to print the photo and as it did, he realized something odd.

The order was for one single print of one photo. Why would someone only need one print of a particular photo?

David shrugged to himself knowing it was none of his business. Maybe the photo was going to go into a picture frame and be given as a gift to someone. He shouldn’t judge, though he thought it was still weird. Not to mention that their photos are only 50-cents. So he wasn’t even going to make his daily quota when it came to selling things in the store.

Once the picture finished printing, David let it sit for a moment as the ink dried. He turned his head to the side to look at the picture. They weren’t supposed to do that because it invaded privacy or something like that, but he was curious and no one was going to know.

The photo was of a little girl, who must have been about five or six-years-old. She was grinning from ear to ear leaning against a cabinet that held a small fish bowl. There was a goldfish inside.

David raised an eyebrow. Was this her first pet and they were trying to savor the occasion?

Another 45 minutes flew by and a woman entered the store. She immediately walked over to the one-hour photo taking out her wallet.

“Hi, I’m here to pick up an order under Cooper.” She groaned.

“Uh, sure,” David grabbed the envelope right away, as it was the only order waiting to be picked up. Whatever this woman’s story was, she wasn’t happy.

The woman took the photo and as she handed a one-dollar bill to David, she opened the envelope and inspected the picture.

David silently handed her 50-cents back and forced a smile at the woman, who cracked a smile back.

“We bought a fish for my daughter last week and it’s already dead.” She explained.

“Oh. Uh, I’m sorry to hear that.” David rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly.

“I now have a fish corpse sitting in a shoe box on my kitchen counter waiting to be buried in the garden.” The woman explained.

David couldn’t help but crack a smile.

“But we couldn’t bury the fish yet because we needed to put a picture of the fish and my daughter together so the fish will never forget her.” The woman shook her head and also cracked a smile. “Kids…” she muttered and then walked away.

David chuckled to himself. “Have a good day.” He called to her. Then he wondered if that was the appropriate thing to say.

Words: 854

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

6 thoughts on “Short Story Sunday 125: Photograph

Let me know your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.