Chapter 02: Exclamation Man

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Kim blinked and opened her eyes. She was in a shop. Hadn’t she just been somewhere else? How had she gotten here? 

She couldn’t quite remember where she had just been but somehow she was now in a shop--a boutique? was the word that found itself on her tongue? for some reason?--surrounded by piles of crappily-folded clothes and a very angry man staring right at her and a bunch of bald and blank-faced yet voluptuous mannequins. 

Wait back up. 

There was a man staring at her, a black man in a newsboy cap, and he was staring right at her, but also through her, like he was not just mad at her, but mad at the entire world in her general direction. He had a very large exclamation point hovering near his lips.

Ummm.

“Hi,” Kim said She was not even sure what she was going to say next, but the man cut her off before she could get any farther.

“I’m late,” the man said. “I need you to lock up.”

“OK hi again,” Kim said. “Maybe you don’t know who I am? I’m Kim? I don’t lock things up, I have people for that.”

The man ignored her. “Before you leave, straighten that shirt on that mannequin. it’s too crooked for my liking.”

“EXCUSE ME, Exclamation Man,” Kim said. “Your liking? I don’t care for your tone? I’m about to snatch your punctuation down and beat you until your face is too crooked for your liking.”

The guy just stared at her for a second, then continued on like she hadn’t said anything. “Refold those shirts over there, then lock the register before you leave.”

Kim nodded. “Yeah OK fine let me just--” and she bolted for the door without bothering to finish her sentence. She slammed against it and pulled at the handle but it was locked. She banged on the glass but the shadowy people passing by outside just walked by, unwilling or uninterested in helping her.

She sighed. What was she even doing here? She turned back around but Exclamation Man was gone. 

“HEY,” Kim yelled. “WHAT THE HELL.”

She looked all around the store but dude was seriously gone. Standing there, trying to figure out what to do next, she noticed that in fact the shirt on the mannequin was actually hella crooked, so she might as well fix it. She did and suddenly a pile of cash bounced and skidded across the floor, away from her. 

“That’s new,” Kim said. She didn’t pick up the money because who chases around the room picking dirty money up off the floor. Peasants, maybe. Or The Help. 

She wondered if this was all a test, if Exclamation Man was hiding somewhere in the shop, watching her. Maybe he gets off on giving random orders to women and then watching them run the store like successful young business owners?

Fine, whatever. Maybe if she did what he said he would get his sick kicks and let her out of the shop. So she folded the shirts (again with the bouncing money), and locked the register. And just as she did a giant bolt of lightning shot out of the register and up into her arm. It felt...amazing? Whatever it was? Like she hadn’t even realized she was feeling kind of low-energy but she was suddenly ready to fold some more clothes or something. She wanted more of that, whatever it was. 

Then an even bigger wad of cash appeared on the floor. This one she did pick up, because what the hell, she might as well get something for her trouble. 

She heard the door unlock and walked over to it. 

“OK, creepy Exclamation Man!” she called out. “I hope I never see you again! You are terrible and your clothes are unfashionable! You also lack interpersonal skills! Like severely!” 

No answer. Screw it. 

She went outside and pulled the door shut behind her and just kind of stood there, wondering what she was going to do next, wondering if she was feeling kind of tired again? Could she get some more of that lightning stuff, maybe? It was kind of addicting? 

And then a woman rushed up to her and was like “Is this your store? I could really use your help.”

“Nope, it’s definitely--” Kim started, and then she looked up and saw that the woman standing in front of her was her. It was Kim Kardashian. She was talking to herself. She was standing there, asking herself if this was her store.

Kim blinked. “Um, yeah. Sure. It’s my store.”

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