The White Mask: Part One

Dylan is patiently waiting in line at a floral shop. He has five stemmed roses in his hand for a special girl on his mind. They’re having lunch together for the first time on this Saturday, and Dylan is anxious, nervous and excited about it all. There are only three people in front of him, and he is in no rush at all. He’s in his uniform because he has work in about an hour at 2:00. He’s working a full eight-hour shift at Sam’s Club as a stocker. The floral shop is only a few minutes away from it. He’s excited because there seems to be a pretty, attractive girl at the register. She’s a brunette with blue eyes and a pretty smile. Dylan tries to look at her nametag, but he can’t see the name on it. He needs to get a closer look. Eventually, it’s his turn in line. The girl smiles at him with her perfect white teeth and motions for him to come to the register. He approaches the register, and he can finally see that the girl’s name is Emily. She says, “Good afternoon, sir, how are you doing?”

Dylan smiles and responds, “I’m doing alright. I’m just little anxious, nervous and excited, so a pretty good combination.”

Emily laughs and asks why Dylan feels the way he feels. Dylan explains, “Well, I’m taking this pretty, amazing girl out on a date for the first time today, and I’m so scared. I just want it to be perfect and for us to take things to the next level and all.”

Emily nods her head in understanding Dylan, and she says to him that all he has to do is be himself and everything will fall in to place naturally. “Plus, you’re on the right track too with the roses. I know that she’ll definitely love them. I wish guys at my high school would give me roses, but they just want to ‘shoot their shots on IG or snap,’ and it’s just so lame. You know what I mean?”

Dylan shakes his head and explains that he doesn’t have social media. He’s really old fashioned. It came to a shock to Emily, and she asks him how old he is. Dylan responds that he’s 30 years old. Emily is impressed that he doesn’t have social media, then Dylan smiles and asks, “So what does shooting the shot mean? Is it like a bucket or something?”

Emily laughs and says, “Oh my gosh, you seriously don’t know? I mean, it’s something like that. Hold up, let me get my phone out and show you what I mean.”

Emily gets out her nice iPhone and shows Dylan some messages of guys “shooting their shot” with her. He got close to her and saw all kinds of weird messages and pictures on her phones. Dylan shakes his head and says, “Ok so let me get this right. Guys send you messages about how ‘bad,’ ‘delicious,’ ‘exquisite,’ and ‘fine’ you are, and if their compliment is good enough to you, then you proceed to talk to them?”

“Yeah pretty much, romance and chivalry are dead,” Emily says.

“Whoa, whoa, don’t say such things. Yes, there are guys that are no longer chivalrous or romantic, but there are a few of us that are hopeless romantics in this world. Don’t worry, your knight in shining armor is coming to save you.”

Emily appreciated the words, and Dylan paid $18.50 for his five roses. He thanked Emily, looked at his roses and handed her one of the roses. Emily smiles at the sweet gesture and thanks him for the rose. Dylan smiles and says, “It’s no problem young lady, you’re absolutely gorgeous and deserve all the roses in the world for your sweetness.”

Emily blushes, and Dylan for a second thinks about asking for her number. However, he changes his mind because he already has a special girl waiting for him.

Dylan heads to work with his four roses, and he makes it to Sam’s Club with 30 minutes to spare. He walks in and says hi to a few people along the way. Then, he finally makes it to the back room and sees a few people eating their lunches in the break room. He looks to his right, and he sees the only black person in the break room, his coworker and friend Elijah. Elijah is listening to music on his phone and scrolling on Facebook. Dylan sees Elijah and yells, “Yo, what up my brother?”

Elijah hears Dylan, pulls out his headphones and looks at Dylan. He shakes his head, chuckles and says, “Hey what’s up man.”

“Nothing much, just happy and excited to be here. Happy to be alive, what are you listening to ?” Dylan asks.

“That’s what’s up, man. And I’m just listening to J. Cole’s ‘No Role Models.’ Such a good song, man,” Elijah responds.

Elijah starts singing a little bit to Dylan, but there’s a little part that’s weird to Dylan. It’s part of the chorus, it’s “Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.” Dylan didn’t understand that part. Then, Elijah asks, “By the way, what do you got in your hands? Do you have a secret admirer or something?”

Dylan didn’t understand, but then he realizes that he has the four roses in his hand. He forgot to put them in his locker. He quickly ran to his locker making sure he was hiding the flowers. He didn’t want them to be seen. Then, he opens his locker and places the roses in his locker. Then, he rushes back to the break room to Elijah. He’s out of breathe, and Elijah asks him if he’s alright. Dylan tells him that he’s fine and begs Elijah to not tell anyone about the roses. Elijah promises to keep the roses a secret, then he asks Dylan about the roses. However, Dylan doesn’t want to say. He doesn’t want Elijah to know who he’s taking out on a date. Elijah asks him how come he doesn’t want to tell him, but Dylan tells Elijah that he’s just not comfortable in sharing information about the roses. Dylan expects Elijah to persist with the questions, but Elijah decides to drop it. This is a relief to Dylan, but then Elijah adds, “I don’t understand why flowers are so romantic to girls sometimes.”

Dylan frowns and asks Elijah what he mean. Elijah continues, “I mean, flowers are the most inconvenient romantic gift ever to me. Like those roses you got probably cost $20 maybe $30 dollars top. Roses are just so expensive for no reason. Then, a girl now has to buy a vase for the roses because if she doesn’t then they’ll die. So, it’s not really a romantic gift if each party has to pay some money for said gift.”

Dylan just shakes his head and says, “No bro, like you don’t understand. You see a rose is like a delicate, sweet poem. It speaks a different language to a woman. It makes her feel loved and appreciated, Elijah.”

“You know what else makes a woman feel appreciated? Food, time, candy, chocolates, poetry, a love letter, hot Cheetos and so many other things, like where’s the creativity and ingenuity at these days? Flowers are just gonna die, and it’s such a waste of money. There are plenty of other things to give a girl than flowers, I swear,” Elijah exclaims.

“So, I’m guessing you’re never gonna buy a girl flowers then,” Dylan asks.

Elijah laughs and responds, “I’ll probably reluctantly buy flowers for my soulmate or something if they mean so much to her. It’ll probably be if we’re dating for years or something, never the first few dates at all.”

Dylan is confused as to why Elijah wouldn’t buy flowers for a girl on a first date. They both look at the clock and realize they have five minutes left till work. So, Dylan asks Elijah why he wouldn’t give a girl flowers on a first date. Elijah responds, “Well, excluding the cost and inconvenience of them, they bring off the wrong impression. They show that you’re desperate to impress someone with a gift and not by your personality. Also, you’re dependent on a material thing making you look good to a woman. And it sends off the wrong message to a girl in a way.”

“What message is that?” Dylan asks.

“In my opinion, roses are only given because of what you look like on the outside. You see, roses are pretty to look at, and you’re basically telling a girl that she’s pretty to look at with roses. I’m just speaking about a first date, by the way. It’s not the case if you’ve been with someone for years.”

Dylan just shakes his head and tells Elijah that it’s not true at all. Dylan explains that flowers are so romantic to girl, and Elijah just wouldn’t understand because he’s never experienced love. Elijah laughs and says, “That’s true, I’ve never been in love. Maybe you know more than me, and I’m tripping. Also, if those flowers are for a date, I would just do a single rose, but that’s just my advice.”

Dylan shakes his head and reluctantly thanks Elijah for the advice. They talk for a few minutes later, then 2:00 hits. They clock in, and it’s officially time to work.

Dylan and Elijah are working together stocking in their area. They do good work, and it’s eventually 6:00. It’s time for their hour-long break.

Dylan rushes to the backroom, clocks out and rushes to his locker. He grabs the roses and puts them behind his back. He’s about to leave the backroom, when he’s stopped by Elijah. Elijah asks him if they’re having lunch together, but Dylan explains that he has plans with someone. Elijah doesn’t ask any other questions and lets Dylan go. Dylan rushes out of Sam’s Club, goes to his car and waits patiently for his “date.” He’s holding the roses behind his back. A few minutes pass, and he finally sees the woman that’s on his mind. She’s walking to him with her Sam’s Club uniform on as well, and Dylan can’t help but show off a big smile. The woman eventually reaches the car and says, “Hey Dylan what’s up?”

“Hey Melanie, are you ready to go?” Dylan asks.

“Yeah, let’s do it.”

This is the end of “The White Mask: Part One.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

On Thursday, I will be sharing and posting part two of “The White Mask.”

The Green Mask: Part One

It’s the summertime for Matthew, but it is hard for him to enjoy the summer. He had moved from another state last year, and he had a rough year at his new school. It was the sixth grade for Matthew. He had a hard time making new friends and adapting to his new school. Although Matthew wasn’t bullied or rejected by others at his new school, he found himself tormented by his past at his old school.

At his old school, Matthew was bullied because he was different from others. The kids there would hurt him physically and verbally, and teachers could not or rather would not do anything about it. One kid in particular that pushed Matthew to the edge was Bryan. Bryan was like most of the kids at Matthew’s old school, but he had red aviator sunglasses that made him stood out from the rest. These red aviator sunglasses with a silver lining made Bryan royalty among his peers, and he was adored by them. Bryan would eventually cross paths with Matthew, and he would hurt him in ways that pushed Matthew towards vengeance. Matthew would eventually have his revenge, but it would come at a cost. Matthew would lose his innocence, condemn Bryan to a terrible fate and bear the red aviator sunglasses.

Now, Matthew is walking alone in his nice neighborhood. He sees nothing but a red world around him thanks to the red aviator sunglasses. For Matthew, it’s a blessing and a curse having these sunglasses. He constantly sees the true, dark colors of his world, and he can ever forget the truth. Even when he doesn’t wear the glasses, he still remembers the truth. It’s imprinted in his mind, and he longs for the red world to be out of his mind. Sadly, it’s impossible for Matthew. He can never escape the red world because of his experience at his old school. Matthew can only hope for a miracle to change his perspective of the world.

As Matthew is walking, he can’t help but think about Bryan, the reason he had these red sunglasses. Matthew recalls how Bryan was scared of getting suspended and being home. He cried that his father was going to kill him, and he was begging for forgiveness. Matthew didn’t care about his tears because he wanted his revenge. Now, Matthew worries about Bryan because he realized that Bryan had a genuine fear of his dad. Matthew didn’t know all the details, but he knew that Bryan’s father wasn’t a good man. He was a father that would hurt his son in unimaginable ways.

Matthew continues his walk, but he quickly notices that he’s about to pass Sal’s Ice Cream Shop. He loved the ice cream there, and he knew that he had to get a large, vanilla cone. He walked towards the ice cream shop and noticed there was a long line. Matthew went to the back of the line and excitedly waited for some of Sal’s ice cream. A few minutes later, it was finally his turn to order a vanilla ice cream cone. Matthew ordered a vanilla ice cream cone, paid for it and received it in seconds. Matthew took his ice cream cone and decided that he wanted to go to the park. He was considering to eat his ice cream at Sal’s, but he saw that he was making some people at the ice cream shop uncomfortable. So, he just decided that it would be best to eat his ice cream somewhere else.

Matthew walks to the park and notices right away that no one was there. He was thrilled. He was excited to have the park all to himself and to be alone with his thoughts. Then, Matthew goes towards the swings and decides to sit down on a swing. He starts swinging a little back and forth and continues to enjoy his ice cream. As he finishes it, Matthew hears the laughter of other kids having fun together. Matthew thinks to himself, “It must be nice to have friends.”

As the sun starts to set, Matthew takes off his red sunglasses and begins to cry. He tries to stop himself, but he can’t. His tears are uncontrollable. Matthew can’t understand why he’s crying all of a sudden, and he hates it. He despises the tears that are coming down his face, and he wants them to desperately stop. Matthew starts to have a hard time breathing. He can hear his heart pounding rapidly in his body, and he doesn’t know how to stop it. Matthew closes his eyes and prays to God. He prays for God to calm him down and help him pull himself together. Before he can finish, a hand touches Matthew’s shoulder and says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. There’s no need for that, I promise you. I got you, bro. Just relax and take a deep breath.”

Matthew listens to the child-like voice behind him, and he starts to relax. Suddenly, a wave of relaxation and comfort flows through Matthew in ways he couldn’t imagine. Matthew decides to take a look behind him, and he sees a little kid. The little kid is around the same age as Matthew. The little kid is wearing some yellow tennis shoes, blue shorts and a yellow T-shirt. However, the little kid was wearing a tiger mask that was covered in yellow. It was weird and bizarre to Matthew, and he gathered in his head that this kid’s favorite color was yellow.

After Matthew takes in all the yellow the kid was wearing, he thanks to the kid for his advice and for helping him calm down. The kid responds, “Oh, it was no problem, bro. I’m happy to help. Do you mind if I sit next to you on the swing.”

Matthew tells him that it’s fine, and the kid proceeds to sit next to him. Then, he says, “By the way, my name’s Goldie, but a lot of people just call me the kid in the yellow mask.”

This is the end of “The Green Mask: Part One.”

Also, be sure to check out the short story “Red Aviator Sunglasses: Parts One and Two” on the Dark Colors series, if you haven’t already. That short story will provide great context for this short story, and each part can be found in the Table of Contents page on the Warfield Zone.

I will be posting part two of “The Green Mask” on Thursday.

 

 

Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom: Part One

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself thinking about this regular Sheetz customer named Brenda. Brenda was a regular Sheetz customer last year, and she was always a delight for me. Brenda was funny, friendly, sweet and so much more. She was one of my favorite customers last year, and I just found myself praying for her because she ended up being a mom. Brenda was a couple years older than me, and she was about to be a single mom. I remember seeing her for months as she was pregnant. Now, I’m hoping that she got it all figured out, and she was able to be a great mother.

Last year, I was working up at the register at Sheetz, and it was a normal, typical day. It was the summertime, and we were busy and actually working a lot. Then, there was this moment during the day where the craziness died down, and I was able to relax. A few minutes later, this black woman came into the store. I took a look at her, and she was pretty. I could tell that she was around the same age as me, and I saw that she was pregnant. She was a few months pregnant, as far as I could tell, and she was in a serious rush to get out of Sheetz. I didn’t understand it. I was wondering to myself if everything was alright with her.

A few minutes later, she comes to my register with some drinks and snacks. I say hello to her, and she quietly replies hi back to me. As I’m ringing things up, I notice she’s looking down and really trying to avoid eye contact with me. I don’t know why, but something was telling me to strike a conversation with her. So, I looked at the stuff I was ringing up and noticed that she had candy. I smiled as I discovered that she had sour patch kids, my favorite candy.  So, I said, “Okay, I see you with the sour patch kids. These are so good, you can’t go wrong with them.”

She chuckled at my remark and responded, “Yeah, these are good. Sour patch kids are banging.”

I laughed and said, “True that.”

We had a whole conversation about candy, and she was in a much better mood and more engaged with me. She eventually told me her names was Brenda, and I noticed that she was more relaxed and comfortable. When I had bagged everything and gave her the receipt, I was glad that she was smiling and happier. Before Brenda left, she asked me how are the drinks here at Sheetz. I responded, “Oh they’re pretty good, I enjoy them. You can’t go wrong with them, especially if I’m making them. I make sure to put nothing but TLC in them.”

She laughed and said, “Okay cool, then I’ll be sure to get one the next time I come in. You gonna make sure that you make it for me, babe?”

I responded, “I got you, the drink is going to be amazing and out of this world.”

She smiled and said, “Thanks babe, I’m looking forward to it. I’ll see you later.”

I told her it was no problem, and I watched her leave Sheetz. I was glad that I was able to put a smile on her face and put her in a good mood. I don’t know, it just felt like she needed it.

A few days passed, and Brenda came back to the store. When I saw her, I acknowledged her presence, smiled and waved at her. She smiled and waved back at me. She yelled that she was about to get a drink, and I responded, “No worries, I got you.”

Brenda ordered a frozen drink, and I started making it. We made conversation as I was making her drink, and she was telling me that she was going to be coming to the store more often. I was excited to hear this, and she appreciated my excitement. When I was done making drink, she took a sip of it and loved it. She said, “Ok, you got some skill. I’ll give you that. Thanks for the drink and conversation, babe, I’ll see you later.”

I smiled at her and said no problem and have a good one. She left the store, and I was once again happy that I had made her smile and forget whatever troubles she was dealing with in her life.

A few months had passed, and Brenda was a regular Sheetz customer. Every time she came in, I made sure to acknowledge her presence by waving and smiling at her. It was important to me to do this because I felt like she needed it. I wanted her to know that she was appreciated by me, and I could that that it meant a lot to her. I remember one of my favorite coworkers, Marie, had witnessed my friendliness to Brenda, and she told me that it was really sweet of me. I responded, “Yeah, I could just tell that she’s going through a lot and something told me that she just needs a friend.”

Marie was also kind of close to Brenda, and she told me that Brenda had gotten pregnant at a party. So, Marie wasn’t sure if there was a father in the picture to help Brenda. Also, Marie informed me that Brenda was struggling to find a job. Marie explained, “Yeah, Brenda told me that no one would hire her, and she’s just worried as she’s about to have her babies. No one will hire her because she’s pregnant, and it’s such a shame.”

I couldn’t believe it. I was wondering to myself if that was a form of discrimination, and Marie replied that she wasn’t sure. I just couldn’t believe that she was unemployed, but then I found myself confused as Marie said babies to me. I asked what she meant, and Marie replied and said, “Oh, she told me that she was having twins.”

This is the end of “Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom: Part One.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story.

On Thursday, I will be posting part two of “Checking Out a Soon-To-Be-Mom.”

 

 

Trying To Get My Hitch On: Part One

As the summer is slowly approaching, I recall a time last summer where I found myself involved in yet another love story at work. However, this was not a love story like the one I witnessed at Walmart. This love story would be far different. This love story was cringe-worthy, disastrous, painful and heart-breaking like the love story at Walmart, but it was on another level. It was on a level that was hard to watch, but I had a front-row seat to it all. This love story is called “Trying to Get my Hitch On.”

Last summer, I was working a variety of shifts at Sheetz. The shifts varied from 6am-2pm, 2pm-7pm, 2pm-10pm, 10am-6pm and so many other shifts. Some of them would be back-to-back like working 2pm-10pm, then working 6am-2pm the very next day. It was exhausting and stressful, but I didn’t mind it because I was just trying to make as much money as possible. Anyways, I was used to all the shifts and the routines that came with it. There was nothing crazy or out of the ordinary with any of my shifts. Well, one day that would all change.

It was July, and I was working my typical 6am-2pm shift at Sheetz. At the start of my shift, I was mentally preparing myself for a long, boring morning because I wasn’t working with one of my favorite coworkers. We typically work together at the register and enjoy each other’s company. However, I was alone at the register that day, and I was expecting nothing out of the ordinary to happen.

Then, something unusual happened. At 8am, this pretty, adorable girl with glasses approached my register and asked if she could see a manager. I politely told her that she could, and I called for a manager. A few minute later, a manager came to the register and saw who the girl was. He smiled and said, “Kelly, you’re here. Isaiah, this is Kelly. She’s our new Sheetz employee.”

I couldn’t believe it. I was excited and couldn’t believe that Kelly was gonna be our new Sheetz employee. Of course, I was still keeping my cool and composure, but I still showed some genuine excitement about working with Kelly. I smiled at her and welcomed her to Sheetz. Kelly smiled back at me and thanked me for the warm welcome. Then, she went back to the backroom, but she made sure to glance back at me and give me another sweet smile.

A few hours passed, and I was just working at the register by myself. Then, my day would get better. My manager guided Kelly to the front and told me that I had to train her. I was excited. I had the opportunity to train and work with such a sweet person.

So, I started training her a little up front, and it was great. She was funny, sweet and smart, and we really did a lot of talking. She talked about where she went to school, her dreams, favorite movies, favorite candy, family and so much more. Kelly even talked about the love that she had for her grandpa and how he was an engineer. This made me mention my grandpa who was an engineer as well. I talked about how I wanted to follow in his footsteps, but it was not meant to be because math is horrible to me. This made her laugh, and it was nice that we could connect like that with our grandpas.

As my shift was quickly coming to a close, I found myself liking Kelly. She made my shift fun and exciting. In fact, she was starting to become my new favorite coworker. There was just something about her. She was just this sweet, down-to-earth girl that you just wanted to be close to.

Anyways, I left when it was 2:00, and I found myself genuinely happy that I had made a new friend at Sheetz.

A couple of days passed, and I got random text message from my phone. I was confused. I asked who it was, and I found out that it was my coworker and friend Danny. At first I was annoyed because I thought he was trying to switch shifts with me and ruin my weekend, but he assured me that he wasn’t. I was happy to hear this, and I asked him what he wanted. He texted, “Nothing much, just seeing how you’re doing, how work was, YOU’RE OPINION ON THE NEW GIRL. Just the normal stuff.”

I laughed out loud as I quickly caught the hint about Danny wanting to get with the new girl. Nevertheless, I acted aloof. I asked him if he was talking about Kelly. I also added that I thought she was cute, adorable and awesome. Then, I texted, “What do you think of her haha?”

Danny responded, “Well, you could say that I have an ever so slight crush on her.”

I started giggling when Danny said that he had an “ever so slight crush on her.” I loved it. Then, he continued, “I was actually thinking that since you work with her more than me, you should you know hook your boy up. Put in a good word for me and hype me up. Basically Isaiah, I’m asking you to be Hitch for me haha.”

This is the end of “Trying to Get My Hitch On: Part One.” Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story.

Also, check out “A Love Story at Walmart: Part 1-4.” They can be found in the Table of Contents on The Warfield Zone.

I will be posting part two of “Trying to Get My Hitch On” on Thursday.