Writing Prompt Wednesday – “Knowing How”

football_by_painfullyxuncool.jpg

football by painfullyxuncool

Jackson and Marcus had a good thing going. They both loved football and making comments about it, Jackson loved to commentate on games (thankfully, considering it was his job) and Marcus loved to listen to him. Not just to the games, as fun as it was, but also just Jackson’s voice. He could feel the deep timbre of his words, and his excitement in whatever he was talking about was always contagious. Marcus could almost imagine the animated movements he’d make and the expressions on his face, if he could see.

With the next season gearing up to start, Jackson was going to have less time to relax, as was normal. So every year since they’d first gotten to really know each other, Marcus would go out and buy the newest football game for Jackson to take time and relax with. It also gave Marcus another opportunity to listen to him talk about the games.

So the Wednesday after the latest release, Marcus hitched a ride to the nearest game store while Jackson was away at work. This way he could surprise him with the game when he got home, and it would give them something to do for the evening.

Once he arrived, Marcus carefully made his way in the door and to the counter, and heard a chipper voice call out to him as he stepped up. “Hello! How can I help you today?”

“Hello Miss. I was wondering if I could get a copy of the latest Madden game on Xbox.”

“Sure thing! Xbox One, I’m assuming?”

“That’s the one.”

“Give me just a second and I’ll have that ready for you.”

“Perfect, thank you.”

Amid the noises of the other customers shuffling about the store, Marcus patiently stood and listened to the cashier busying herself behind the counter, grabbing the copy of the game he needed and ringing it through the system. He rattled off Jackson’s number for his membership and declined a warranty on the game just as he heard the door chime–someone else walking in–and another person stepping up behind him in line.

“Okay, it’ll be $63.89 with tax today, sir.”

“Got it. Do you guys allow us to use our phones to pay?” he asked, preemptively reaching for his pocket.

“Sure do! The pin pad is about half an arms-length in front of you, about midway between your hips and chest.”

Her description gave Marcus pause for a moment before smiling. She must have been able to tell–probably saw his cane, or assumed from his glasses–but he appreciated her help. It wasn’t often he found people kind enough to try. “Thank you,” he said sincerely.

“Not a problem. It’s the least I can do.” He could hear the smile in her own voice.

Marcus gingerly reached out with his other hand first to feel where the device was before moving forward with his phone. As he was going to tap his phone to the pin pad, the cashier in front of him quietly cleared her throat before calling out politely, “Ma’am, would it be all right if I asked you to move your bag, please?”

“Excuse me?” Another voice answered, sounding to be a slightly older woman. Her tone suggested irritation at being interrupted doing whatever she was doing.

“Your bag, ma’am. Could you move it aside for just a moment?” The register suddenly sprang to life again and was finalizing the transaction. Paying by phone always seemed to be so slow, but it was easier than carrying around all of his cards.

“It’s not hurting anyone,” the woman snapped.

A soft sigh came from the cashier, and Marcus had to suppress a smile at the interaction. He couldn’t imagine forced niceties, working in retail. He’d probably go insane trying.

“Ma’am, it would just, at least, be a moment.” She was interrupted by the sound of the receipt printing, but she continued as it finished, “I know our store is rather small, and so there’s not much room for things and customers, but unfortunately your bag is in the entry way and blocking people from entering and leaving comfortably.”

Ah. Now Marcus could understand why she’d asked. The two of them probably could have handled the situation better, but Marcus had to give credit to the cashier for being polite about it. And soon the woman.

The woman seemed to pause for a moment, possibly looking to Marcus and the customer behind him to see if they’d say anything, before she huffed loudly. “Thank you, ma’am!” the cashier called out as she placed Marcus’ purchase in a plastic bag. “Sorry about the wait, sir. Would you like the receipt with you or in the bag?”

“Bag is fine, thanks.”

“Okay, and I’ve set it next to the pin pad for you. Thanks for coming in today!”

“Thank you,” he said, meaning for various reasons, and smiled to her as he made his way toward the door.

A quiet ‘um’ at his side made him pause before he heard the door chime again and felt the August air outside. “Let me get that for you.” Sounded like the woman with the bag.

“Thank you, ma’am!” he said happily, and made his way out and to the bus stop.

A couple hours later Jackson was home, sighing loudly and already complaining about cranky old men and their game. “But you love football,” Marcus teased, dangling his purchase in front of Jackson. “It’s worth it, isn’t it?”

A happy ‘oh’ escaped him as Jackson spied the bag and reached for it, realizing what the date was. “Some days,” he answered, and Marcus snorted at the rapid and noisy tearing of plastic. Man couldn’t even be patient enough to grab a knife.

“You always know how to treat a guy nice,” Jackson said lovingly, gently placing a hand on Marcus’ shoulder before embracing him. Marcus returned the hug.

“Glad it helped,” he said. “Though to be fair it’s a bit selfish on my part, as well. This way I can still listen to you commentate.”

“You and your ulterior motives,” Jackson grumbled, but he chuckled. “How’s about I pop it in and let it install so we can get to it, then?”

“Perfect.”

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