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Randall the Dentist

by Jordan789 

Posted: 30 July 2009
Word Count: 599

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Randall stepped through the security scanners at the department store’s entrance, and—nothing: no buzzes or beeps. He had kept his gait casual and natural, but now he allowed himself longer strides. He passed an elderly employee who politely smiled and thanked him for coming. He smirked and nodded. He had escaped.

“Hey, buddy,” said a man. Randall pretended not to hear. “Hey! Get back here.” He had the authoritative voice of a gym coach. Randall relented. The man wore brown slacks and the red polo shirt of a manager. His name tag read Cornelius and, underneath, Assistant Manager: Sporting Goods.

“Yes?” Randall said. He felt the weight in his pockets: the small items he stashed, bulging like the cheeks of a rodent.

“I thought I told you never to come back here.”

Randall looked over his shoulder, in the direction of where his car was parked. He had been fast as a child, but he hadn’t run in twenty year. Before he could try out his legs, Cornelius seized his arm with the strength of a man who spent mornings unloading freight trucks and hauling display cases. “Not so fast,” he said. “Let’s take a walk.”

The man, his grip like a handcuff, escorted Randall back into the store; they walked past smirking twenty year old employees and the occasional inquisitive shopper. Randall noticed a vein bulging on Cornelius’s neck and a line of sweat that leaked down from his temple. He was a large man and he didn’t seem to be having a good day. “How about I just put everything back where I found it? Forgive and forget. Live and let live.”

The man didn’t relent. He tightened his grip.

“Take a seat,” the man said. He went around to the opposite side of a chintzy office desk that faced a computer monitor and a stale wall. He took his time dialing the police. “That’s right, a shoplifter,” he said into the headset. He eyed Randall, smirked with a pleasure that was sadistic and vindictive.

When he finished the call, he told Randall to empty his pockets. Randall took out several toothpaste tubes, two deodorant sheaths, eye liner, mascara, a bag of disposable razors, and a box of BB gun ammunition.

“You really are stupid, aren’t you? These cameras we have can pick up roaches.” He turned the monitor to show Randall. On the screen, it showed a 12x12 grid. He double clicked a square and the box expanded to fill the screen.

“There you are,” he said. They watched as Randall strolled aisle to aisle stuffing his pockets. They followed him for the next sixteen minutes. During that time, Cornelius examined the goods, writing down prices and tabbing up the amount. He shook his head in confusion. “I just don’t get it,” he said. “What’s a guy like you do for a living?”

Randall didn’t have a job. “I’m a dentist,” he said.

“You look like a lawyer,” the man said. “You’re slinky like a lawyer.”

Randall didn’t mind being called slinky, whatever that meant.

“All for forty dollars worth of crap." The man hesitated. "You know, I didn't call the police. There isn't much they'd do. But I'll tell you," he said, gaining steam, "If this happens again, I'll post pictures of you up all over the store, calling you a petty thief, and maybe a pedophile too, and maybe I'll even break that dentist hand of yours. Now get out of here.”

Randall walked through the store and on his way out he picked up a candy bar and stuffed it into his pocket.

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Comments by other Members

tusker at 06:55 on 31 July 2009  Report this post
A good flash, Jordan. Plenty of action, sense of place.

I got a bit muddled though. Randall leaves the store and passes an old employee. So did Randall work there before? Is he retired? Was he sacked? Your MC, in my mind, is 40 something.

The security guard takes him into the office, calls the police and they watch the monitor. Then he lets Randall go!

Cornelius seemed like a pretty tough, no nonsense guy so why did he let Randall go?

I liked the ending. Randall, after being caught, walks out stuffing a candy bar into his pocket.


V`yonne at 15:21 on 31 July 2009  Report this post
I liked the ending too but I wasn't sure what happened about the police - was Cornelius bluffing on the phone? Also I thought you were going to use the information you gave us about Cornelius' state of health.

I liked the details of what was in his pockets - mascara and eyeliner nice.

Bunbry at 17:06 on 01 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Jordan, I like this a great deal, a page-turner [if it was on pages!] and a nice little twist at the end. My only worry, could an unemployed guy be mistaken for a lawyer?


crowspark at 22:16 on 01 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Jordan

Great writing style but the story kind of flagged towards the end, although I liked the twist. Didn't get the point about him being a dentist although I wondered whether he would have to do some free dental work to get out of the mess he was in.

Not a promising story line but well written despite that.

Dreamer at 11:51 on 03 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Jordan,

Great flash, enjoyed it a lot.

My take on the 'old employee' was that he was one of the retired types that work at Walmart.

Loved the ending, it caught me by surprise.



Findy at 13:06 on 03 August 2009  Report this post
Hi Jordan

Enjoyed the story, loved the ending

Thanks for sharing.


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