• Dana Arpquest

The Museum. Flash fiction by Dana

Updated: May 27

Angela pushed a strand of strawberry coloured hair behind her ear and inspected the smoothness of her foundation. She was ready. Well, as prepared as she could be.


Oh, God, please help me.

Her eyes flicked towards the ceiling as she grabbed her briefcase, car keys and handbag. One last deep breath before she slipped into her high heels shoes and got out of the house.

You can do this.

For the last week, Angela had driven from her home to her new office at rush hour to estimate how long the journey would take. The best one took forty minutes, but the others had varied-- two hours for the longest one. One day there was an accident, another emergency repairs, another a train strike. It was barely past 5:30 a.m. when Angela left home, even though she was not due to start work before 9:30.

During her trial run, she had tested a Coffee Shop nearby. She'd get a double shot cappuccino and a large pineapple doughnut—now her favourite snack for emergency stress-release. The sweetness and soft texture had transported her to her childhood from the first bite. Saliva built up as she thought about the treats waiting for her at the end of the journey.

Half an hour before opening time, Angela stood at a safe distance to the entrance of the Medieval History Museum, observing the arrival of the staff, and mentally judging each of them by the way they strolled or rushed into the office.

At 9:00, she followed in a group of tourists. The group gathered in the hallway, taking pictures of everything around the empty reception desk.

The guide shuffled impatiently shouting "hellos" louder and louder.

Strolling in came a girl with scruffy hair, holding a Talkie Walkie. "What do you want?" she asked.

Angela bit her lips not to reveal her presence.

"We have booked a tour of the museum.”

"Yeah, I see. Well, we're not fully ready. Wait here."

"How long will it take?"

"I don't know. We'll call you when we're ready." The guide looked disappointed but did not say a word. However, Angela had heard enough and made her way to the desk.

"Excuse me," she said. "Is this how you address your customers? These people have clearly booked a tour for 9:00, and your attitude is vulgar. Will you please present your apologies and open the gate at once!"

"That's all right," said the guide, but at the same time, the girl said: "Are you with the group?"

"No."

"So, why you care?"

"You clearly don't know who I am," Angela said, trying to contain her anger. Now she understood why she got the job and knew it was going to be a handful.

"And who are you?" the girl asked with a terrible doesn't give a damn attitude.

"Angela Bragelor, your new director! Might I suggest you call the person in charge and that you attend your customers with a little more empathy."

The girl blanched and disappeared.

Then Angela turned to the guide. "I'm so sorry for the welcome you've received. I will personally ensure that the rest of your visit goes beyond your expectations."

Seconds later, a tall man in a grey suit appeared. "Ms Bragelor, welcome."

"Mr. Doyle, please attend your clients."

"Of course, of course.," he turned to the guide. "Please come this way, I apologize we've hired a few students who obviously need more training. I do hope we've not caused you too much inconvenience."

"That's fine," said the guide.

While Mr. Doyle dealt with the group, Angela took a notebook from her bag and started to scribble.

- Staff training Customer service skills.

Then she ambled to the sidewall and slid her finger against one of the frames.

- Cleaners

A couple of minutes later, Mr. Doyle returned. "I'm sorry you had to witness this on your first day."

"I'm glad I did. Now, please, introduce me to the staff. I think I'd like to have a word with them before I start. And we must arrange for them to go on a customer service training ASAP. I will not tolerate a bad attitude towards our customers. Have you read the reviews on Traveldos recently?"

From that moment, Angela knew that it would be hard for her to make friends in the office, but she had not been hired to make friends, only to boost the figures. It was not going to be a smooth ride, but she'd get there. She always did.

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