Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.
Fitting Room 101
"I hate malls," said Craig as he and Ralph went through the mall's front entrance.
"Well, if you hate malls, what are we doing in one?" There are plenty of places to shop without going to a mall."
"I've got a coupon."
"Oh, a coupon. Well, there's a good reason for breaking a moral commitment."
"A moral...? Just drop it, Ralph. Here we are." Craig pointed at the store's name above the doorway.
"Oh, I can't go in there." Ralph stopped short of the entrance to the clothing store.
"What do you mean you can't go in there?
"I don't know, I just don't want to go into that store.."
"Hold on a minute. You just said, and I quote, I can't go in there."
"I didn't say, can't."
"Yes, you did say, can't."
"Maybe I did say can't, but I meant I don't want to go in there. And I won't."
"The first thing you said before you had a chance to think about it was, can't. And I'll testify to the fact that your clearest communication happens when you aren't thinking. Like right now. You're thinking, and you aren't making any sense."
"Oh, all right. I can't go into that store anymore."
"Ah, now you're not thinking again. Go on."
"I was in there last week looking for a new pair of pants, and I was in the fitting room trying a couple of pair on."
"Yes, I'm listening."
"I just happened to be going commando that day, so they kicked me out for trying clothes on when I wasn't wearing any underwear."
"First of all, you do realize the clothes you take into the fitting room aren't yours, right? and that probably a dozen other people have tried them on before you?" Craig had begun to walk again and Ralph stayed right beside him with his head down in shame. "And second, how the hell did anybody else know you weren't wearing underwear?"
"There was this lady clerk who was checking the fitting room doors because somebody else wanted to use one. When she pulled on my door, it opened, and there I was...."
"Didn't you lock the door?
"The lock was broken.
"Why didn' t you move to another fitting room?
"They were all full. The place was busy."
"I don't believe this." Craig did an awesome facepalm and continued. "Then what happened?"
"The clerk and the lady she was helping started laughing."
"Laughing is better than screaming," said Craig.
"Then She screamed for security." Ralph suddenly became aware of his surroundings again. He was standing in the men's clothing department from which he had been permanently banned. And right in front of him, trying very hard not to laugh and even harder not to look down, was the clerk who had thrown him out the week before.
"Look, ma'am, it was an accident..."
"Security!" She screamed loudly enough for everyone in the store, if not the entire mall, to hear.
Ralph turned and ran. Unfortunately, he was looking back at the clerk rather than forward where he would have seen the women's intimate apparel department and the female mannequin standing next to the aisle sporting only a few of the items available.
The security guard ran up, and it was the same one who had escorted Ralph out the week before. The panties on Ralph's head were incidental to the fact that he was lying face down on top of a nearly naked female mannequin.
About a week later, Craig was walking through the store again. He saw Ralph standing in the men's department.
"Ralph, what are you doing in here?"
"Community service. This was the judge's idea." Ralph held up the sign for Craig to read.
You must be wearing underwear in order to enter the fitting rooms and try on clothing. We know it's a small thing, but we insist.
"Wow, that is harsh. But hey, at least they let you wear the panties over your head while you hold the sign.'
"The panties were my idea. By the way, how did you recognize me?"
© 2017 Chris Mills