The noise around aisle 17 hushed. “Let’s go to my office,” Charlie said, escorting the kid away. Half an hour later, still unsettled from the encounter, Davida frowned when Jermaine relieved Tom as her bagger. Her shift always felt longer when she was paired with Jermaine, a two-bit dealer who used the A&P to distribute. Everyone knew what he was up to, everyone except management. And everyone also knew that Riverside kids were big potheads and prescription drug users. “Heard I missed your excitement,” he said, jiggling the chunky gold medallion around his neck. “Shut your trap and bag.” For the next 20 minutes, as customers streamed through, Davida ignored Jermaine’s attempts at conversation, but when the line cleared he shuffled up beside her. “Word’s out that Willie’s coming home.” The combination of tobacco breath and her father’s name unnerved her. “You’d know better than me.” “I got a message for him.” “I ain’t planning on seeing him, so don’t be telling me nothing.” A thin woman in an expensive yoga outfit was unloading her cart at Davida’s register. “Mr. C wants to talk right away,” Jermaine whispered.
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