The arid Las Vegas air rippled the asphalt before Drucilla, baking her skin even without her being totally garbed in black. As she approached the large cinderblock building and entered its shade, she gently shook her dark silky hair in front of her face, leaving only one eye visible. Taking one last breath of clear air, she grasped the door handle, and resolutely stepped inside.
The inside of Superstar Theatres was an assault on the senses. The noise from the conjoined casino put her teeth on edge. She grounded herself for a moment before crossing towards the customer service desk. Her eyes were focused on the desk and she glided in between people, going their own merry way, laughing about what they had just seen, or excited to experience a new movie.
Reaching the desk, she centered herself again. She knew that this would be a difficult atmosphere to work in, but she was determined to make this job work out.
A bold color flashed at the edge of her vision and Drucilla turned suddenly to see a silvery, tall blonde approaching with a severe a-line haircut. Drucilla was used to seeing auras and tried not to react to them. A bold color would indicate a strong sense of self-awareness. But people didn’t tend to react well when she mentioned their auras. It had taken a while for her to realize that most people couldn’t see what she did.
“You must be the new hire. Brittney?” The blonde asked.
Drucilla hissed. She tried not to blame her parents for the unfitting name. They had just met her after all. The blonde drew back slightly, uncomfortable. I’m taking too long to respond again.
“I go by Drucilla.” Nailed it.
The blonde did a slow blink.
“Okay.” Another slow blink.
“Well… all the legal papers said Brittney, so we may be able to change it later, but for today just wear that… and this.” The blonde handed her a shiny name tag and black bell-hop jacket. “I’m Stacy, let me show you the break room.”
Following the blonde, Drucilla used a garbage can along the way to rid herself of the offending name tag. It WOULD be replaced rather than letting anyone know her terrible secret. She vaguely heard about lockers and clocking in but instead focused on the serene blandness that was the break room; soft yellow walls and simple tables and chairs. A haven from the chaos of the lobby! Returning her attention to Stacy, Drucilla realized that someone else had joined them. Another blonde, who’s aura simply bounced with optimism. How annoying.
“Sorry. I was simply observing the Pasithean environment you offer your employees.”
The new blonde frowned, confused. “I…will take your word for it!”, she full faced smiled, “I’m Jenna! I’ll show you around and get you started on the till- I’m so glad we found someone with experience!”
They passed through a kitchen, humming with machines and artificial ingredients. Drucilla noticed a few girls, giggling to themselves, as they prepared food. One in particular, a dark haired, olive-skinned young woman, caught her attention. She had the fuzziest aura Drucilla had ever seen. It seemed to attach itself to whoever was nearest her, as if seeking some form to shape itself. Like a parasite! Drucilla shuddered and followed Jenna through a swinging door back into the blaring noise of the lobby. Jenna happily played tour guide, showing Drucilla where the different items were stored. The popper, a monstrous gaping maw that vomited yellow kernels of popcorn, breathed heavily down her back as Drucilla familiarized herself with the till.
‘I’ll help you with the first few customers, and then I’ll be back and forth from the kitchen and the other counters,” Jenna’s aura was clear and clean, truly as friendly as she seemed. It must be exhausting to…. Exude… so much!
The touch screen had pictures for Koalemos’ sake, and all the prices end in twenty-five cent increments, making it easy to calculate change if I need to. A child should be able to do this.
“I will be fine. You don’t need to stay.”
“Really? I don’t mind hanging around!” Jenna patted her shoulder and smiled. Again.
“Jenna! We just sold the last pretzel!”, a shout from a be-speckled red-haired youth on another till.
“Yikes! Already?” Jenna questioned.
“Really. You are not needed here,” Drucilla would be relieved to have a break from Jenna’s enthusiasm.
“Okay! I’m close by if you need me!” Jenna waved as she hurried back to the kitchen door.
Drucilla turned back towards the till and was immediately confronted by broad woman, with short wavy hair, and a vacant expression as she stared at the menu above Drucilla’s head. Shaking her hair forward, to help her block out the extra distractions, Drucilla politely asked, “What can I get you today?”
“Wey-ell,” the customer said, “Does the extra butter cost extra?”
“We don’t have butter,” Drucilla responded.
“What?! You’re out of butter?”
“I don’t believe we keep butter in stock. We have some oily substance that supposedly tastes like butter,” Drucilla explained.
The customer laughed, “Well, goodness! I thought I’d have to eat dry popcorn! Make sure you put lots on, as long as it’s free!”
“Really? I don’t even know if it’s considered a food. I could request an ingredient list, though I doubt you’d understand what it says,” Drucilla added thoughtfully.
The lady made direct eye contact and lost all emotion from her face. “Yes, really. And a large Diet Coke, if it’s not too much trouble!” Why did she suddenly sound irritated?
At the edge of her limited vision, a corrupted, oily aura caught her attention. She watched the owner, a slim blue-haired, dark complected girl cross the lobby and enter a door labeled “Box office”. Best to steer clear of her. An energy like that….
Jenna returned and asked, “You still good?” Drucilla jumped a little and busied herself with the popcorn tub. Nothing to do with me, anyway.
“Yes. This customer also needs a large Diet Coke, though you should check that she doesn’t want grease added to it as well,” Being extra thoughtful should help calm this woman’s erratic temper.
Moments later Drucilla found herself being shuffled back into the kitchen by Jenna, who seemed to be less cheerful than before.