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Flash Fiction 2018

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RACHAL DUGGAN
  • Rachal Duggan

Make something up on your resume, Olivia said. It'll be fine, she said. And then you'll have a job.

Well, Tammy had a job, all right. It paid $12 an hour and even gave her an employee discount.

The discount would be handy if only she knew what any of this shit did. "That's the last time I'm listening to Olivia," Tammy muttered, forcing a tepid smile as the doorbell chimed.

"Welcome to Ozzy's Emporiu­­­—oh." No customer, but the proprietor himself.

"Tamarind! Good to see your smiling face."

"Ozzy," said Tammy. Ozzy had invented a score of nicknames for Tammy in the short time they'd known each other. Tammy did not appreciate being compared to a legume, but it was leagues better than Thomasina.

"How's business? Has the cash register begun to overflow?" Tammy would not put it past Ozzy to have a cash register that overflowed, but whatever it overflowed with would surely not be money.

"Only two customers. Tourists, from Ohio, I think."

"Surprising. We're still in the shoulder season."

"Maybe they can't handle the heat?"

"You could have sold them on this," Ozzy said magnanimously, producing a small crystal goblet from a cluttered shelf. "Instantly freezes whatever you drop in. Great at parties. But watch your fingers."

Tammy hummed as the facets caught the light. Ozzy gently replaced the glass and sauntered over, cap balanced on one finger.

"Tamar," he said, eyes unfocused as the hat spun and spun. "I know it's your first day. But I will be out this morning with buyers, and out this afternoon picking up a shipment. Can you handle the shop alone?"

Now would be the time to raise an objection, to ask Ozzy if he could explain what Tammy was supposed to be trying to sell. All she knew was some things were magical, some things were dangerous, and she hadn't the faintest idea which was which. But she smiled and gave in to the illusion that everything was under control.

"Good." Ozzy winked. "I'd expect nothing less from my star employee."

"I've worked here less than an hour."

"I know it when I see it." He swiftly unlocked his office door with an old brass key. "Oh, Bayon might be by later."

"Bayon?"

"He covers weekends." A crisp straw boater now flattened Ozzy's hair. "House rules: always answer the phone, lock up if you need to leave, and—"

"Don't go in the basement."

"That's the ticket."

"And if I need to get ahold of you . . . ?"

"I trust that you can handle any situation that arises, Tasmin."

Tammy figured this was code for "I've never had a cell phone except maybe a brick from the 80s and I will continue to resist the march of technology."

"I'll keep that in mind."

"Ta!" Ozzy tipped his boater and ducked out the door.

Tammy slumped to the counter as he rounded the corner, firing off a message to the group chat.

TAMMY [9:49:09 AM]: How much do you know about magic?  v

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