Gunge Game, by Jean

Lisa arrived at the supermarket for the evening shift as she did every evening, at five. The short, buxom blonde, her wavy blonde hair cut in a bob, made her way past the checkouts, smiling at one or two of her friends, ignoring the lustful glances of the trolley boys. She was wearing her favourite outfit, a tight designer T-shirt and figure-hugging designer jeans. She liked to dress well – not always easy on a check – out girls’ wage.

She came to the end of the checkouts, and made her way through the door that lead to the staff only area, which consisted of the locker rooms, the cashier’s office, the canteen and the storeroom.

She entered the female changing room, which as usual at this time of day was crowded with women finishing the day shift and starting on the evening one. Lisa was running a little late, and most of the girls on the evening shift were already changed into the passion-killing brown skirt, beige blouse and orange jacket that was the supermarket’s uniform. They stood around chatting to their friends, killing time before they had to go onto the shop floor.

Lisa was slipped out of her jeans and t-shirt. Her figure was certainly on the curvy side, but she wasn’t fat. The buzzer signalling the change of shift sounded, and the others drifted away, leaving Lisa struggling into her uniform. Shit! She was going to be late at the checkout again, and she definitely didn’t want another bollocking from the manager. Hastily she crammed her day clothes into the locker, slammed it and ran out of the changing room.

She was dashing down the corridor towards the stairs, when she remembered that she hadn’t said hello to her friend Jill, who worked in the cashier’s office. She would just stick her head round the door, which was on the way to the stairs.

“Hi Jill, can’t stop, just saying-“

she breathlessly panted into the office. She stopped mid-sentence however, realising the office was empty. She turned to hurry on, but she caught something out of the corner of her eye. On the desk. Cash. A substantial pile of notes. The cashier must have popped to the loo, she realised. A thousand thoughts flashed through her mind in one second.

If she waited any longer, the moment would be gone forever. She darted into the office and helped herself to some high denomination notes, but not so many as would be quickly noticed. There was thousands on the table, and she scooped up what she figured would be about five hundred. Stuffing the notes in her knickers, she fled out of the office and down the stairs.

“Late again, Lisa?” sneered Mr Alcock, the manager of her shift, who Lisa ran into as she hurtled out of the door onto the shop floor.

“Yes Mr Alcock sorry Mr Alcock won’t happen again Mr Alcock” she blurted, hoping that her flushed cheeks would be put down to having hurried rather than elation at her ill gotten gains.

“It’s going to be an hour’s wages docked this time, I’m afraid”

“Fair enough Mr Alcock”, said Lisa, although thinking, “pompous prick!”

That evening’s shift dragged as it never had before. Lisa’s mind was racing with thoughts of the new clothes she was going to buy with the money, the evenings she was going to have. Guilt never entered her head.

“Fuck it” she thought, “I’ve slaved away in this bloody supermarket on slave wages for years; they owe me a new outfit and a couple of pairs of shoes!”

At the end of her shift, she changed back into her casual clothes, and in the loo she fished the notes out of her underwear and stuffed them in her pocket.

Saying goodnight to her friends, she had to fight the urge to run out of the shop singing for joy at her good luck. She quickened her pace on leaving the supermarket, and walked briskly back to her flat, not daring to count her loot until she was safely inside.

Inside the flat, she drew the curtains and emptied the crumpled notes on to the table. Six hundred and twenty five quid! Almost a month’s take-home, for a second’s work. She poured herself a large glass of wine, kicked off her shoes and slumped back in her armchair, scarcely able to take it all in. The money was already burning a hole in her pocket, and she could hardly wait to get to the high street and in to the clothes shops.

Rising early the next day, she put two hundred pounds in her purse, and hid the rest in her undies drawer. The morning and most of the afternoon passed in a joyous whirl of consumer indulgence, as Lisa tried on things with a price tag normally beyond her reach, and more often than not buying them. She returned home at around 3, and after an hour or so of modelling her new purchases, she set off for work.

She had of course realised that the money would be missed sooner or later, but when she climbed the stairs and saw the policeman waiting outside the cashier’s office, terror washed over her like an icy wave. She walked past the office, and glancing in, saw another policeman, the head cashier, Mr Alcock and Jill all looking extremely serious. She managed to control her shaking until she was in the changing room. The place was a commotion.

“Six hundred quid!”

“Broad daylight!”

“It’s got to be Jill!”

Wild theories were flying thick and fast. Lisa suddenly felt a huge weight of guilt sink on to her. Jill was her best friend at the supermarket – and she was about to take the rap for Lisa’s crime.

Lisa caught the voice of Pauline, one of the older women, above the general din.

“What I can’t understand is why the security cameras weren’t set. They’d have got