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The eight serpent ring

by Practicer 

Posted: 12 October 2020
Word Count: 988
Summary: For the challenge involving an eight.

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The hideaway store was called as such because it was located in the middle of nowhere. It could only be accessed by car, if you wanted the full retail department store experience at your leisure and at you own pace. The Store had so much difficulty in recruiting sub zero contracted cleaning operatives, for low wages, that the stores own sales assistant had to take on extra shifts just to sweep the hard block floor.  The inside of the store was so dimly lit that you could only see as far as the paper packaging and dust mountain debris around the edges of the shelves and clothes racks.

The store management were so desperate to get the place clean and cut costs that they were almost giving the job away.

Dave´s first day was just sweeping the floor and putting the debris into rubbish sacks. The floor of the shop was formed in a loop like the figure of eight, if he didn´t watch where he was treading, it could have turned into an ice rink. In fact Dave already had an injury that prevented him from stressful work, but sweeping, you just had to push a broom. Dave would earn around eighty  quid a week, it was better than nothing.  His shift started at Seven thirty am. The store manager, Donald let a relieved Dave in, as Dave had been standing outside, hugging himself wearing a very thin jacket, since seven o clock am. It was the middle of winter, still dark and the temperature was at least eight Celsius.

"Are you sure you can to this work? I notice you have a limp and your left arm is okay ? I presume", said Donald.

"Yeah! I need the work", I can get a lift here, every morning, replied Dave.

"Oh well!, we´ll see how it goes, we´ve got somebody to else up for it, as well,  if its not for you, to be honest. He´ll be arriving at eight o clock, the train times are always a problem. I´ll show you to your locker, and introduce you to the the sales assistant on duty this morning," said Donald.

They headed for the locker area that was situated in the staff room.

Carly was sipping from a steaming plastic beaker.

´´Morning Carly, How was the engagement party"? Donald asked.

"Oh! it was great, she replied, showing her glowing golden eight serpent ring to Donald and Dave, before politely offering her hand to Dave in greeting.

Do you want to put that in your locker, Carly?" asked Donald.

Carly shrugged and waved her arm in response.

"How about  putting your jacket in your locker"? asked Donald.

"I need a hand with the padlock mechanism and turning the key together", replied Dave.

"Okay! leave it on for  now", Will ask your colleague when he comes, if could help you.

On the shop floor, Dave surveyed the amount of paper rubbish and dust, and took a deep breath and started to sweep it into a pile.

A banging came from the front door, it the other cleaner had arrived

It was around ten past eight and Donald let Noah in.

"Better late than never", said Donald, light heartedly.

Unfortunately with two cleaners the sweeping seemed to be done and dusted within a matter of half an hour. There wasn´t enough work for two cleaners, Dave feared the worst, as he was far slower than Noah. However, it hadn´t gone unnoticed to Donald that Dave was punctual and would polish the fixtures and fittings, showing initiative , if only he took his jacket off.   Noah was quite happy to sort out locker duties. Noah convinced Dave to give him the the coat and the key to his locker, which of course Dave found difficult to open. Noah knew Dave needed the job more and said so to Dave. Noah would vanish, leaving at least a little extra sweeping for Dave to do. Noah would re- appear with seconds to spare before end of shift, checking out the shops merchandise and then just leaving it  lying around.

One morning a reduced to damage wrack had to be shifted to the stock room for re- labelling. It was too heavy for Dave to assist Carly and the metal rod of the rack seemed to be rather slippery. Noah was enlisted to help. The rack was so heavy it took almost the entire morning to re- locate. With about eight minutes to spare before the cleaning shift was over, with no extra pay , a carpet of grey dust was uncovered from where the wrack had stood.

Dave who seemed dead on his feet was asked by Donald if he could do the sweeping. Dave dutifully complied.

The next morning When Dave arrived for duty, Carly was inconsolable.

Donald told Dave that a damage reduced handbag was found in his locker.

"We know it was Noah who put it in there, we had to let him go. But unfortunately, Carly´s eight serpent ring is missing, if you find it, well, do your best",Donald said.

In many ways, Dave´s best wasn´t good enough, the sweeping was increasingly dusty and full of paper rubbish, other cleaners were recruited to help him. They were never happy with their pay, and tended to waste their time before the end of a shift, even though there was visible dust drifts creeping from underneath wracks and shelves. 

Every morning Donald would ask Dave and any one of his counterparts at the time if they had still to come across the eight serpent ring.

However, again the same damage to reduce wrack had to be re located and Dave dutifully did the sweeping from where the wrack had just been standing and then a shiny object fell out of his jacket pocket and landed on the floor.

"WHAT A HISSING SNAKE"!  I think I have found Carly´s Ring," shouted Dave.


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Comments by other Members

michwo at 18:19 on 12 October 2020  Report this post
I take it that Noah must have had the key to Carly's locker as well as Dave's, Robert, and slipped Carly's ring into Dave's jacket pocket as some kind of prank. Does the line in capitals refer to Noah? Donald will have to keep Dave on after this.

michwo at 18:26 on 12 October 2020  Report this post
P.S. To me the sentence It was the middle of winter, still dark and the temperature was at least eight Celsius
would make more sense if the temperature was at least minus eight Celsius.
I tend to think of 'eight degrees Celsius" as cool more than cold personally.

Practicer at 09:06 on 13 October 2020  Report this post
It is loosely based on a true incident, but it is all put together with fiction.

Bazz at 13:53 on 19 October 2020  Report this post
Good characters and build, I was a little confused by the ending though, and there's a few speech marks missing that make some of the dialogue confusing. I like how the story develops, and Dave makes for a compelling main character, the story keeps you intrigued as to how he's going to fit in.

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