I've Got a Receipt (I-IV)

Or, I've Got a Receipt!

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

PulpBusters is a presentation of Pocket Theater of the Absurd! Original tales of the weird and strange from the mind and madness of “Amoral Crackpot” Steve Arviso.

Tonight’s tale...


I’VE GOT A RECEIPT
I-IV: I’ve Got a Receipt!

The sort of women’s lingerie store employed solely by single, middle-aged men. PETER, the clerk, stands behind a counter, thoroughly inspecting the crushed velvet lingerie. Cassie and Sister are already there, already frustrated.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) The most fascinating thing about Boulder Holders isn’t the fact that it proudly confesses to having the biggest selection of crushed velvet sexual goods in the state of California. Nor is it the way the stores are designed to look like the cluttered, unkempt changing rooms of your local low-rent strip joint.

Unfortunately, the most fascinating thing about a female-owned and -centric business like Boulder Holders is that it hired Peter Badabing, a grotesque schlub of a middle-aged man, to manage their location at The Garden. Because while Peter was never formally charged with any crime, his twenty-year habit of looking up girls’ skirts as they rode the mall’s only functioning escalator is, at the very least, a conflict of interest.

And while the mall’s usual lack of foot-traffic meant Peter rarely came in contact with Boulder Holders’ clientele, that meant little to Cassie and her sister as Peter stood behind the register, holding up their oversized crushed velvet lingerie in his sweaty, fleshy hands.

PETER: I’m sorry, but we can’t take this back.

CASSIE: Are you kidding me?

PETER: (matter-of-fact) No, I am not.

CASSIE: But, I have a receipt.

PETER: Sorry. But we don’t accept returns once the product has been worn.

CASSIE: What? I never wore this.

PETER: (shaking his head) Not you.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) It was at his point that Peter gestured to Cassie’s sister, who, for one reason or another, was currently preoccupied by a rather busty mannequin.

Sister is, and Peter does.

CASSIE: Goddammit.

SISTER: Sorry, Cass.

CASSIE: Wait. How did you even know she wore it?

PETER: I just know.

CASSIE & SISTER: (unison) Ew.

PETER: Look. I’ll give you fifty bucks for it...

SISTER: (easily sold) Fifty bucks?

PETER: ...if you agree to not ask anymore questions.

CASSIE: This is ridiculous.

SISTER: Deal!

CASSIE: What? You’re fine with this?

SISTER: (shrugging) Fifty bucks is fifty bucks.

CASSIE: (frustrated) Ugh. Fine. Whatever.

SISTER: Sweet. Fifty bucks.

CASSIE: But you deal with this guy. I’ve gotta pee.

Cassie storms off.

SISTER: Fine by me. (to PETER, flirty) So... Peter the Manager...

PETER: Key holder, technically. But it’s functionally the same job.

SISTER: Is that right?

PETER: More, or less.

SISTER: Neat.

PETER: Except for the fact that I don’t get any of the pay.

SISTER: That sucks.

PETER: Or benefits.

SISTER: Huh.

PETER: Yeah.

An uncomfortable silence.

SISTER: (flirty again) Well, Peter the Key-Holder. Do you wanna see more... or less?

PETER: Of what?

SISTER: Of me. More or less of me. Because you said--

PETER: I don’t follow.

SISTER: I’m flirting with you, Peter.

PETER: Oh. I get it.

SISTER: (puzzles this) Do you?

To be continued...

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The chill of night brings with it a still darkness,
brings with it an alluring promise of peace.
Till the light of day warms your cold bones,
may your eyes never rest,
and may those little slices of death never come.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
PULPBUSTERS
Steve Arviso
2021