Unexpected Item in Bagging Area by Jonathan Skinner
A supermarket. FRANK (20s) at a self-service scanner. A steady series of beeps as he scans his purchases. Then, a longer beep.
ELECTRONIC VOICE: Error – please ask for assistance.
FRANK: Excuse me. The machine. It’s playing up.
JANE (20s) a shop assistant, turns.
JANE: Sorry, it’s having a bad day. (a beat) Frank!
FRANK: Jane! I didn’t recognise you. The uniform. And your hair’s different. What are you doing here?
JANE: I work here. I had to get a job, so…
FRANK: Of course… How’s the er… Our um…?
JANE: Jack’s just fine. He’s doing well at school. Some people say he has your eyes. He’s nearly four now. So. How was Hong Kong?
FRANK: It was… Yeah… You know… Anyway, I’m back now. Maybe we should… Maybe we could…
JANE attends to the self-scanner. A few more beeps.
JANE: (briskly) There. I’ve re-set everything. You just need to start again.
FRANK: Right. Yeah. Well, good to see you. And, you know, say hello to little —
JANE: — Goodbye, Frank.
ELECTRONIC VOICE: Unexpected item in bagging area.
Illustration by Guy Warner.
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