The Kiosk Man

“Come on Frankie, I need to get a dress today. Before all the good ones disappear…” Jill whines in the passengers side seat of my car.

“Yeah,” my friend Valerie adds. “The mall’s gonna be closing soon.”

I roll my eyes and blow the black bangs out of my face as I drive down the road. I hate high school, and Jill a constant reminder why. Sometimes I wish Jill and Valerie would both consider more important issues, than getting a fucking dress for prom. We’ve all been twice already, so I was just sick of dances at this point. They are always filled with guys who only want sex, or alcohol, or both. Usually both. College is just around the corner and I know the guys there are way more mature; at least in my experience. My older brother attends ‘U of A’ and I went to visit him once, and–well–let’s just say, I wish I could graduate early.

“Frank, turn here! You’re gonna miss it!” Jill turns my wheel a hard right into the mall driveway.

“Are you crazy?!” I yell as a car honks at me for reckless driving.

I put my arm out the window as an apology. “Such a bitch.”

“Hey, you’re the one not paying attention, ho bag,” she said.

Valerie popped her head up front. “Jill, cut it out. You know Frances doesn’t care for malls.”

“Whatever. Just park here,” she demanded.

I parked, but not where she wanted me to park. I swear, if she wasn’t my step dad’s daughter…

I walk a distance behind Jill with Valerie, my oldest friend. She’s been around since the beginning of high school, and her and I are both going to the same college. I guess she really likes me too, because she’s super smart. She could’ve gone in anywhere in the country.

We follow Jill inside and go through the automatic doors. The place is deserted. It’s Friday night though, so I’m not sure why it’s so empty. Shops blind me with their neon sale signs, and deafen me with blaring music that seems to not have anything but beats and auto tune. Getting me ready for prom, I guess.

As we walk through the halls of stores, a few kiosk booths line up in the middle. They’ve always reminded me of the crap that regular stores can never sell. So they pick the most attractive but persistent sales people to plop in front of them. Makes me wonder if harassment and asking random questions to strangers is listed on their resumes. Because what other self-respecting person would ever want that kind of job?

Speaking of…

“Miss! Miss, can I speak with you for just a minute?” a man in his early thirties ran up to me and Valerie.

“No, thanks,” I answer without hesitation.

“Oh, come on, I have some great perfume here! I think you would love it!”

I roll my eyes at Valerie and she does the same. Jill is way a head of us now, but then looks back when she notices we aren’t her shadow anymore.

“Hey, guys! Come on!” she barks.

This was a once in a lifetime chance to ditch the evil step-sister. And if that involves me buying a thousand dollars worth of perfume to get her out of my face, so be it.

“Sorry, Jill! We’ll be right there. Just go on without us!” I yell back with a fake smile.

She huffs off and walks even faster down the line of stores.

Valerie laughs and looks at me for an explanation.

“Let’s try some damn perfume!” I exclaim and walk back to the tall, tan skinned, man with gorgeous black hair.

“Great!” he flashes his perfect white teeth. “Try this one. I know you’ll love it.”

He squirts the fragrance on both of our wrists. As I move my hand up to take in the flowery perfume, I notice a much different smile creeping up his jaw line. I inhale it deep into my lungs, and as I try to distinguish the notes, something strange falls over me.

My eyes go blurry around the edges, making my bangs almost disappear and the salesman’s face the only thing in my line of vision. With every blink, it felt like a lifetime to open my lids again. I slowly turn to face Valerie to see if she was experiencing the same, and her expression reminds me of a woman trapped inside her own body, but has no control over it. I rub my fingers together, but I feel nothing. My skin crawls with numbness. I look around the area, but everyone walking by notice nothing out of the ordinary; and keep going.

I stare at the kiosk man who then grabs my hand and leads me down a corridor of the mall. What the fuck did he give to us? Why is it doing this to our bodies? My mind races with the worst thoughts imaginable. The man keeps looking back to make sure he isn’t being followed. My feet willingly follow him, but I’m not sure why. Am I a puppet and he’s the master? That analogy is so bad I could barf; if I was able too, that is.

I need to get out of this, but how? How long does this last? I need to control my body again; and get out of this prison. I glare at the back of his head, picturing myself head butting him, but he’s way too tall for that. Can kicking him work? I can try to sweep my feet under his and make him trip. I attempt to pick up my knees, just to experiment if I can move them in a way to prepare for a kick. But no matter how hard I try, they keep going the motions of a walk.

His hand. He’s holding my hand. Desperate to get away from the psychopath, I use all of my strength to pull his hand back. He looks back, directly at me. Did I do it? His face looks confused as if I moved in a way he didn’t like. He then grips my hand harder and all I could feel was pressure. We were moving faster now; running. I can smell the outside air, fresh and clear. Where the hell is he taking us?

We get to a car and he shoves us into the back seat. I look over to see Valerie with tears falling down her cheeks, but still wearing a vacant expression. The look on my best friends face will haunt me for the rest of my life; however long that is. What I wouldn’t give to see that bitch, Jill right about now. What I wouldn’t do to worry about mundane things like dresses and parking places…

“Looks like it’s wearing off quicker than I thought. Better get you home, quick,” the man said to us from the drivers seat. He then lets out this creepy, cliche, murdery laugh. It may have been cheesy, but it sends a chill down my spine, nonetheless. He’s going to kill us. I move my hand over to Valerie’s, assuming I touched it and I curl my fingers around hers.

I look over to my right, out the window and who do I see? Fucking Jill. Beautiful, perfect, wonderful Jill. She’s yelling and running over to the car. Her ear shattering screaming sounds like a fine tuned grand piano to me. She attempts to open the car doors, but he’s locked them. I watch her as she continues to shout loudly, cursing more than every sailor in existence. She may not be able to get into the car, but she’s sure attracting a lot of attention. She then scrambles through her giant purse and pulls out what looks to be a pocket knife. Before the kiosk man could pull out of the parking space, Jill stabs a tire with her knife.

The man panics as he realizes what she’s doing and spins his tires, trying to take off. But just before he does this, Jill was able to slash another tire. I will think twice before crossing her now. I mean, shit…

Her tactic works as his car rolls to a stop. The man eventually surrenders and gets out of the car. Several people gather around, trying to figure out what happened. Where the hell were all these people when we were kidnapped? Valerie and I step out of the car and Jill immediately hugs us.

“You guys okay? Did he hurt you?” Jill asks. Her face does not resemble her resting bitch face, but more of a concerning bitch face.

“We’re okay,” I say softly, regaining my vocals again.

We left the scene as cops pulled in to arrest the guy. What an asshole. He has something else to add to his outstanding resume now; kidnapping teenage girls. The three of us walk closely together back to the safety of my Buick Lacrosse.

“What are we doing?” Jill asked shortly. “I never got my dress, ’cause I was busy trying to find you guys.”

I stare back blankly at her. “Are you kidding me?”

Jill laughs. “No! I still need a dress for prom!”

I roll my eyes and keep walking. Where’s that fucking ‘puppet perfume’ when you need it.

This short story brought to you by this meme:

Kiosk Man.jpg



One thought on “The Kiosk Man

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