Freelance by Jen

Consider me the No More Tangles of your writing needs.

"And all I have to do is give them your name?"

"Yeah, that's what they said."

"Are you sure?"

"That's what they told me!"

I'm not going to pretend that exchange between my sister Shannon and me was verbatim, because I've lied enough already today.

But it was super close to verbatim.

Shannon had visited me in Springfield last weekend and returned a pair of shorts to a store in the process. When she did so, said store was having a birthday sale, and holding a drawing for prizes as part of the celebration.

She won a prize. When someone from the store called to notify her, they told her she only had to return to the store and give them her name to claim it.

Because I live in Springfield, and she does not, she asked me to do it for her. That leads us to the exchange above.

Today, Josh and I were across from the mall, and I remembered my pledge to Shannon. We went into the mall and entered the store.

"Hi, I'm Shannon Novak, and I won something in your customer giveaway," I stated as I strode to the counter, with as much confidence as I'm capable of projecting.

The girl checked my name against a Post-It of names.

"GREAT!" she said, with great enthusiasm. "You won ______(brand of item)!"

That brand of item meant nothing to me, until she pointed behind me and led me to them.

Shoes.

"You can pick out any color you want, or style!"

Dear God.

Shannon and I not only do not wear the same size of shoe, I had no idea what size she wore. Even more troubling, though, was the fact that we have absolutely, completely different senses of style. I can't really oversell how much we're different in that respect.

And as it was all hitting me, the salesgirl continued to beam, showing no signs of leaving my side. Seeing my obvious vacant look, she asked if I had ever bought this style of shoe before. I said I had not.

She then ran me through the three different types of soles (flat, medium, and cushion-y), the fact that some had thin straps and some thick, some were toe sandals and some were not, and that there were virtually 50 different color combinations.

Then she beamed at me some more. And stood there.

Josh came to the rescue. First he took her away by asking her if she could show him where the bathroom was, then by trying to get me to look at several different things in other areas of the store. But it was like trying to get your puppy to leave by throwing a stick.

The puppy kept coming back.

In the brief lengths of time she was gone, I snuck in a phone call and a short video to Shannon to try to get a response, at least as to what size she wore. I was able to get her size (7.5, just so we all remember) and her favorite colors (blue, purple, and gray). I got busted making the video, and explained that "my sister isn't gonna believe this. She's a huge fan of these."

Then the girl asked me which entry was mine, and pointed to several customer Post-Its on the wall above that had been chosen as winners.

Here's how bad I am at lying. Shannon had told me the whole story…that she had chosen a hot pink Post-It and then kicked herself because she hated pink, as well as verbally recounting the exact thing she had written. Add to that the fact that I knew her handwriting almost better than my own.

I still almost chose the wrong Post-It. "Oh, this orange one is cute…JUST KIDDING THAT ONE'S MINE. THE PINK ONE IS DEFINITELY MINE."

She looked alarmed, so obviously I kept talking, because that made sense.

"Because I hate pink and I picked it and then was like why did you choose pink you hate pink wow and then I wrote this thing that's on here. This is definitely mine."

Never once did it occur to me to tell the truth. I was just rolling in a filthy bed of lies and deceit at this point.

But she kept believing me. Or was having too much fun watching me drown in my ocean of untruths. Because next she called over two other employees.

"This is our _____ (insert brand here) winner!"

They made enthusiastic exclamations of happiness.

This was no random drawing. Shannon had been selected based on the specific wording of her entry. She was basically a _____________(insert store here) celebrity.

Next, the girl asked me what colors I liked.

Josh interrupted quickly.

"BLUEPURPLEANDGRAY!"

She looked at me, and I nodded. Authoritatively. Assertively.

Both.

Then I pointed at a pair with purple straps and said, "These, in 7.5."

"We don't have half sizes, so I'll just bring a 7 and an 8 and you can try them on and see!"

Oh, shit.

I wear a 9.5. Sometimes, a 9.

There was no situation that would make me trying on either of those two sizes a good idea.

And then she was back. With two boxes.

"We only have the purple in a seven, so I brought another pair out in an 8 so you could try them and see."

Josh again saved me. "No, she has some of these. We'll take the 8."

She looked at me.

"I thought you didn't have any of these?"

I looked at Josh.

"Oh, is that what you bought me that one time?"

He caught on. "Yes, your river shoes. That was this brand."

I pointed at a pair of patterned black/whitish ones and said, "THESE IN 8!"

She beamed again. "Oh, good! That's the pair of eights I brought out!"

We made it to the counter without me breaking into a sprint, and then she asked me if I had an account with the store.

"Oh, uh, probably. Well, maybe not. Sometimes I hate to give out my email. But I TOTALLY KNOW IT. So that's fine if you don't have it. I'll give it to you."

And I did. And then they asked if I wanted to see their puppy.

F*$*@ing what?

But I was on a roll now, and unable to stop. "I'd love to! That's so cool, I'm a groomer!"

That was my one stroke of luck…that they didn't freak out and say that that was awesome, because the dog needed groomed then and there.

So I went to the back, exclaimed over the dog, and we got the hell out of there.

Moral of the story?

Never ask a bad liar to lie.

 

 

 

 

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