This is a fictional story containing gay male activities and clothes destruction. All resemblance to anyone past or present is co-incidence.
I hope you enjoy this fun romp! Mr Hellier and Joshua first appeared in the novel 'Remote Controlled' (due for re-release in April). This short story can be enjoyed standalone and is set some after time after.
Stories like this take a lot of time and effort to create so if you enjoy it, maybe you could sub me a coffee (link at the end) to power me through the next one. Thanks!
Everything Must Go!
“Ahhh! The first day of the year! The most wonderful day of the year—sale day!” Mr Hellier declared, striding out of the Shepherd’s Bush tube station. As always, he was immaculately dressed in the very finest fabrics. “Do you remember the time when the tube shut down on Bank Holidays?”
“No,” yawned a sleepy Joshua.
“Of course you do!” exclaimed Mr Hellier.
“I am too young to remember. It was before my time . . .” Joshua countered with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
A frown flicked across Mr Hellier’s face. “I am going to ignore that comment, boi!” He gestured impatiently. “Come on, Joshua, time is money!”
Joshua followed his partner a few steps behind, giving every impression that he was entirely less enthused by the whole idea. Every so often, he had to increase his pace to keep up, causing his strawberry blonde mop of hair (albeit closely cropped to the skin at the sides and back) to bounce slightly and appealingly in the fresh morning air.
"Tahir could have covered today and we could have just not got up," Joshua complained. Then, in a more provocative voice he mumbled, “Well, you could have got me up . . .”
"Oh tut-tut, my boi! Smell the opportunity in the air!" Mr Hellier pushed on, undeterred.
"All I can smell is stale vomit," said Joshua, glancing around at the remnants of the previous night’s New Year festivities.
"Oh, stop bumping your gums! If you put as much effort into selling as you did complaining, you might be as successful as me."
Joshua’s retort came instantly: "I could sell as much as you; easy."
Mr Hellier chuckled. "Oh, I think not. It is a skill—nay, a talent—to make people not only buy what they want but also what they do not know that they want."
"I really could sell as much as you,” Joshua insisted, then added slyly, “After all, I have had the best teacher in the world!"
"Ahhh, how nice of you to say. However, I think the boy has a lot to learn before he can get near to The Master!"
Joshua's eyes rolled, safe in the knowledge that not even Mr Hellier had eyes in the back of his head.
“So shall we just agree that I am correct, mhmmm?” suggested Mr Hellier.
Joshua sighed. “Well, that is what we normally do . . .”
"Excellent. Onwards then! Best foot!" Mr Hellier declared.
It wasn't long before they were striding across the shopping centre towards their boutique. Rounding the corner, Mr Hellier smiled at the welcome sight of a small queue already formed and waiting at their shop door.
"Hello, customers!" exclaimed Mr Hellier. "Thank you for your patience—we will be open in five minutes! There is 10% off everything but you, my group of eager beavers of exceptional taste, get an extra 5% off our fine selection of apparel and accessories!"
A small murmur of excitement rippled through the queue.
Mr Hellier beamed at the waiting customers. "My assistant will be back out in just a moment with your extra voucher!"
Joshua bristled at the slight but managed to smile sweetly. "Yes. His assistant will be out shortly," he echoed before adding under his breath, "Whoever that is . . ."
Mr Hellier unlocked the five locks on the door and breezed in, flicking on the lights.
"Alarm, Joshua!" he called out over his shoulder.
Joshua dutifully started punching the code into the front panel. After six digits, he paused and then continued with another six. He scratched his head for a few moments and tapped in another sixteen digits. The alarm system let out a celebratory beep and disarmed itself.
"Your ridiculously long alarm code has been entered!" called out Joshua.
"One cannot be too careful!" called back Mr Hellier, already busily carrying out a final check on their stock of polo shirts, chinos, and other classy garments. "Till, Joshua!"
"Yes, Mr Hellier, already on it."
"Good, good! Time to open, I think. Oh—could you just . . ."
Joshua waved a handful of leaflets in the air as he breezed past. "Yup, already on it! I really do know what I am doing!"
Mr Hellier stopped and looked at his youthful partner. "I know, sorry, it is just I am still not used to having someone like you around."
Joshua stopped and smiled. "Apology and compliment, of sorts, accepted."
Mr Hellier regarded Joshua thoughtfully. Referring to their earlier conversation, he asked, “Do you really think you could sell more than me?”
Joshua froze. Was this Mr Hellier encouraging him to believe in himself, he wondered, or was it one of his traps? After a brief hesitation, he decided to not second guess and just be positive. “Yes,” he answered. “Not easily, but I do.”
Mr Hellier smiled at the near perfect answer; a mix of deference and positivity. Joshua certainly had come a long way in their time together, he mused. “Well then,” he exclaimed, “today is the perfect opportunity to test that theory!” Mr Hellier rubbed his hands together excitedly for a few seconds, then stopped. “Oh! We will need some sort of prize . . .”
“Is merely knowing you are the best not good enough?” replied Joshua with his tongue hovering very near his cheek.
“Well, I think we need a prize for the victor! It is always so much more fun that way. A game afoot and something on the line,” declared Mr Hellier enthusiastically.
They both stood stroking their chins for a moment before simultaneously raising a finger in a ‘light bulb’ moment.
“Oh, great minds, it seems,” laughed Mr Hellier. “After you, my boi!”
“Well . . .” Joshua said, “If I won, maybe I could bone you for once.” He shot a filthy smirk in Mr Hellier’s direction.
Mr Hellier was shocked. “Joshua!” he exclaimed. “Back in your box this instance! Such filth!”
Joshua sighed. “Yes, Mr Hellier. What was your idea for the prize?”
“Well, before Mr Potty Mouth interjected, I was actually thinking the winner could decide what we eat tomorrow!”
“Well, yes, that works too, I guess,” Joshua mumbled half-heartedly. He brightened a moment later. “Ooo! And gets to decide what we watch after?”
“Yes, well, I guess that too,” Mr Hellier agreed.
“Ooo, ooo! And gets the day off tomorrow!”
“What?!” spluttered Mr Hellier.
“Not a problem I would have thought as you are bound to win . . .” Joshua replied with a butter-wouldn’t-melt smile.
“Well, yes, there is that . . .” Mr Hellier responded. He had the distinct feeling he was being played, but he couldn’t back out now. “Okay, deal!”
"Cool! So how will this work?"
Mr Hellier swept towards the state-of-the-art till on the stylish counter. He picked up a credit card shaped object and waggled it in the air. "The card we present to operate the till; I can make it record the sales per card. Then, at the end of the day, it will tell us the total for each card. Simple."
"Excellent. I will just hand these out to the punters,” Joshua said, waving the discount vouchers. “Then we can open up and the game will be afoot!" The terms of their contest decided, Joshua bounded out.
"Punters?!” Mr Hellier exclaimed. “Oh my, such disrespect!" He started to shake his head but abruptly stopped and frowned instead. "Even worse, he used my line!"
* * *
Mr Hellier stood behind the counter with an enormous smile adorning his face. The shop was bustling with people looking for bargains. A more wonderful sight was hard for him to imagine. Excluding anything that involved Joshua, that was . . .
"If we are both here at the counter, we will take it in turns to ring through sales, but if you actually sell something on the floor, that is all yours," Mr Hellier proposed.
"Ah, and here comes the first customer! I will let you have the first one," Mr Hellier said graciously.
"Ah, good morning, Sir," Joshua greeted the customer, receiving the goods on the counter. He touched his card to the till and rang through the polo shirt and two tees. He folded them up neatly in a Lacoste bag and said, "With your 15% discount that will be £144. Quite the bargain you got there!"
The customer paid with his credit card and Joshua presented him with his bag of goodies. As the first man was leaving, another approached the counter.
Joshua looked at Mr Hellier. “Well, I guess it’s your turn,” he conceded.
Mr Hellier smiled at his partner before turning towards the customer with an even bigger smile. “Ah, hello! Let me take those off you.” He reached over and took the jeans and tee shirt the young man was carrying. “Oh, I see Sir has quite the eye for the latest fashion. The cut on these jeans is quite exquisite. And, if Sir would forgive me for saying, they will really show off your magnificent legs too. Do you cycle?”
“Um, yeah, I'm a semi-pro road cyclist. Does it show?”
“Oh yes, indeed! Through your sweatpants I can see how huge you are,” Mr Hellier said without a hint of shame at his own cheek. “Goodness, I can barely keep my eyes off your . . . thighs. Quite magnificent. I imagine they are quite the sight in your tight Lycra outfit.”
The customer beamed with pride. “Well, thank you. That’s kind.”
“Not at all. Always a pleasure to be at the service of an athlete. Especially one that takes it so seriously. Now, shall I ring these through?” Mr Hellier said, taking the clothes. He waved his card at the till, then rang up the items. “So that’s £125 with the 15% discount.”
Joshua smirked at the total; that put him in an early lead.
“Okay, cool,” the customer commented. “I love your clothes. A bit pricey for me normally.”
“Indeed. I understand,” Mr Hellier replied with an understanding smile. “Quality does come at a price.” He paused, a slight frown on his face, then reached behind him and pulled some underwear off the shelf behind the counter. “Might I be so bold as to suggest these briefs we just got in stock? They are made from bamboo, with extra support around the important areas. They would also frame your legs perfectly, which I am sure the lucky person in your life would enjoy . . .”
The customer blushed slightly. “Um, well . . .”
“A three pack is only £28 after the 15% discount,” Mr Hellier pressed on. “It would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity . . .” He smiled while the customer was deciding, and added quite boldly, “Oh, by the way, would you be interested in some modelling work?”
“A photoshoot showing off our clothes on your amazing toned body? We would pay, of course, and I am sure an all-year-round discount could be arranged . . . Do you have a card?” Mr Hellier said without waiting for a response to his proposal.
“Wow, yeah . . .” the man replied, then rummaged in his wallet and pulled out a business card. “This is my work one.”
Mr Helier took the card and looked at it. “Thank you, Nate. I will be in touch soon! Now, the briefs . . .?”
Persuaded by the flattery, Nate grinned. “Oh yeah, go on then!” It was hard to turn down a good offer from a man who told him how fit he looked.
Mr Hellier nodded. “£153 then, if you would just like to slip your card into my little device,” he purred suggestively. Joshua rolled his eyes at the whole performance.
Mr Hellier folded the clothes neatly into a luxury paper bag as Nate punched in his PIN. Transaction completed, he handed the bag over.
“Well, Nate, it has been a pleasure meeting you. I am looking forward to seeing more of you soon.”
“Yeah, thanks. Laters!” Nate said cheerfully before walking away.
As soon as the man was out of earshot, Joshua started in on Mr Hellier: “Of all the fawning, over the top—”
“It is called upselling, my boi,” his partner cut him off. “This is why I will win.”
“You swayed him with extras! Modelling?!” Joshua said, tutting.
“You cannot tell me you would not want to see a floor to ceiling black and white photo of Nate in a pair of briefs hanging in here? I mean, just think, his package would be the size of your head!”
“Well, I . . .” stammered Joshua, momentarily distracted by that mental image. “Anyway, you said you were going to get some shots of me to put in the window!” he retorted, having suddenly remembered and instantly feeling usurped.
“That was at the start, when you were just an employee before we were, well . . .” Mr Hellier hesitated.
“Before we were what? Go on, say it!” Joshua laughed at the uncomfortable look on his partner’s face. It happened so infrequently that he couldn’t help but enjoy it.
Mr Hellier nervously cleared his throat and tried again. “Before, um, we were . . . entwined . . . in a relationship that borders mostly on the vanilla . . .”
Joshua rolled his eyes. “Oh, I love it when you get romantic!”
“You know I do not like displays of affection in public,” said Mr Hellier with an edge to his voice.
Joshua picked up the coded hint to change the subject and returned to the matter at hand. “But, anyway, you bribed that customer,” he said bluntly.
“You might say that, but I could not possibly comment,” Mr Hellier answered smugly.
“Okay, fine. I see. Gloves off; anything goes then,” Joshua shot back. “I will take the next customer and then go on the floor and rustle up some customers of my own! You’re not the only one with tricks up his sleeve!”
* * *
After a few minor successes on the floor, Joshua spotted a customer who was longingly inspecting a pair of jeans. He looked to be in his early thirties and was pretty fit. Joshua sidled up to him with a smile on his face. “Can I assist in any way?” he asked.
The customer looked up. “Oh, um, yeah. Can I try these on?” he asked.
“Of course, Sir. Follow me. Excellent choice, by the way.”
Talking as much to himself as to Joshua, the customer said, “Hmmm. Even with ten percent off they are very expensive.”
“We all deserve to spoil ourselves sometimes,” Joshua replied in a reassuring voice.
“At these prices it won’t be sometimes, it’ll be just the once, at best!” snorted the customer.
Joshua cursed his luck that he had picked up a difficult customer; that was the last thing he needed today. He ushered him into the changing room and swished the curtain shut, then watched the gap at the bottom as the customer kicked off his Adidas Ultraboosts. Joshua noted the expensive shoes with a grin and watched as the man let his pair of Adidas track pants drop to the floor. In short order, they were kicked to the side and he was pulling on the new pair of jeans.
“Fuck!” the customer exclaimed in an irritated fashion.
“Is there a problem?” asked Joshua, slightly taken aback by the venom of the curse.
The customer pulled back the curtain. “Aww, I love them!”
Of all the punters, thought Joshua. He stepped into the changing booth and tugged and pulled at the jeans. “Well, I can see why you like them. They fit perfectly everywhere and they certainly do suit you!”
“But they are so expensive . . .” the man practically whined.
“Well then, it’s your lucky day!” said Joshua, an idea popping into his head. “We can offer you 33% off!”
The customer’s eyes grew wide. “What, really?!”
“Yes, with our scrappage scheme.”
“Our scrappage scheme!” Joshua repeated. “You get 33% off and we cut up your current pants.”
The man looked sceptical and a bit confused. “Um, what?”
Joshua grinned and said, “No need to worry about the details! You just have another look at that stunning pair of jeans and how amazing they make you look! More amazing, I mean! Sir has a very athletic figure, if you don’t mind me saying.”
Before the man could say anything, Joshua swished the curtain closed again. The customer looked at himself in the mirror and decided it was true: he had a good body shape and the jeans were stunning on him. He imagined a white shirt instead of the three-striped Adidas tee he was wearing and concluded there was a very good chance he could pull wearing these jeans. A second later, he had no doubt.
A few seconds after that, the smile dropped from his face. Could he really justify the price, even with 33% percent off? he asked himself. After a few more moments of internal debate, he sighed and swished open the curtain.
“I’ve decided . . .” he began, the sentence trailing off and his mouth falling open as he watched Joshua finish snipping off the second leg of the Adidas trackies he had been wearing only moments ago. “Oh . . .”
“Yes, we had already agreed on the scrappage discount?” said Joshua, faking confusion.
“Um, yeah. Did we? I guess . . .”
Joshua gave a quick nod. “I will just need to take the tag and ring it through. A most excellent choice—and 33% off too! If you don’t mind me saying, you’ll be beating them off when you go out in these!” He motioned toward the counter. “Follow me, Sir.”
The customer slipped his trainers back on and followed Joshua back out to the floor, casting a rueful glance at his legless trackies.
* * *
By the afternoon, the sale was going very well indeed. Mr Hellier had made a few more big sales, but Joshua felt confident he had done just as well or maybe even better. At one point, he spied a young lad nervously looking through the rack of polo shirts. Again and again, the customer tentatively touched them, looking around the shop each time as if he wasn’t allowed, or good enough, to touch them. Occasionally, he would push his glasses back up his nose.
“Oh! He’s adorkable!” exclaimed Joshua.
“Adork…?!” spluttered Mr Hellier. “That’s blue-blooded murder of the English tongue, my lad!”
“Ha! I would say it shows the ever-evolving nature of the language—its flexibility is its beauty.”
“Hmmm," replied a completely unconvinced Mr Hellier. He peered towards the lad who had caught Joshua's attention. "Is that a cartoon on his tee shirt?” he asked with unmistakable disdain.
“It is the Millennium Falcon,” sighed Joshua.
“Are you sure?” Mr Hellier deadpanned. “It looks like no other bird I have ever seen.”
Joshua rolled his eyes. “You are definitely un-adorkable.”
“Thank you. I think . . .”
The next time the lad looked guiltily around the shop, his eyes met Joshua’s. He stopped dead in his tracks, a look of panic etched on his face. He quickly broke his gaze and glanced towards the door.
“Duty calls, the counter is all yours!” Joshua informed Mr Hellier. He swiftly put himself between the lad and the door, then steadily moved toward him. The lad looked like a trapped animal, eyes darting back and forth, trying to find an escape. But it was too late—Joshua was on his prey.
“I—I—Just looking!” the lad stammered.
“Of course!” said Joshua in a friendly tone. “What are you looking for?”
“Um, I just thought I needed some smarter clothes?” he replied, sounding unsure.
“Needed or wanted?” countered Joshua.
"Um . . ."
Joshua gave an understanding smile. "Ah, I see. You shouldn't change just for other people. They should like you for who you are—and if they don't, they aren't worth knowing."
The lad pondered on the advice offered for a moment. "I guess . . ."
Joshua pulled a polo shirt from the rack and held it up to the lad’s chest. "But, having some nice gear for going out is a good idea too. Maybe this dark burgundy polo would be a good start? Not too bright and complements your skin tone." Joshua noted the lovely high cheekbones peeking through the curly long hair that framed the lad’s face.
He placed the polo in the customer’s hands and gently directed him towards the pants. Deciding that chinos might be a step too far, Joshua moved to the jeans. "What's your size?" he asked.
The lad confidently rattled off the answer with no hesitation: "30 waist and 32 leg." Joshua was pleased to note he knew exactly what his size was without having to guess or figure it out; the mark of a true clothes lover.
Joshua thumbed through the jeans and pulled out a pair. "So, black—always useful to have a smart pair of those. Goes with everything. Now these are slim but not tight. They taper down towards the foot. They will show off your leg shape a little better than those baggier ones you are wearing."
The lad looked slightly uncomfortable. "Oh, really? I'm not sure . . ."
"Trust me, you'll be fine,” Joshua replied confidently. “Changing room is at the back. Off you go, I'll be in to check in a moment." Joshua shooed him in the right direction before the lad had a chance to argue, affording a pleasing glimpse of his denim-clad backside as he receded from view. When Joshua returned to the counter, a beaming Mr Hellier greeted him.
“Two more sales while you were out on the floor!” he crowed.
“Oh, I am sure this one will buy his items,” Joshua retorted. “He just needed some encouragement.”
“Well, that is very commendable of you,” Mr Hellier replied in a not-quite-condescending voice. “Excellent customer service. You will go far, my boi!”
“I do not want to go far. I just want to beat you!” Joshua said cheekily, sticking out his tongue.
Mr Hellier raised an eyebrow. “Oh! It is like that, is it?”
“Oh yes, absolutely. Right, I should go check on my sale—I mean customer.” Joshua glided into the dressing room area, disappearing before Mr Hellier had a chance to react.
“You all changed?” he called out cheerfully to the drawn curtain.
“Yeah . . .” came the nervous reply before the curtain was pulled open. Joshua motioned him forward and the lad duly padded forward on feet clad only in black socks.
“Well, yes, they look good!” Joshua said, then hesitated. “Hmmm. May I?” he added, giving the lad no indication what was being requested. Before the lad could clarify what he wanted permission for, Joshua stepped forward and pulled up the polo shirt, affording him a view of the waistband of the lad’s plaid boxer shorts.
“Hmm . . . Sitting properly on the waist,” Joshua commented approvingly. Then, he slid his hands down one of the lad’s legs. The unexpected action elicited a sharp intake of breath. Joshua stifled an impish grin and reached the bottom of the leg and tugged a few times. “Hmmm. You said 32-inch length? Can you put your shoes on?”
The lad pulled on his battered black Converse Ox and stood nervously for inspection again.
“Hmmmm,” repeated Joshua. “Do you normally have that gap with your socks showing?”
“I think you might be longer than a 32-inch leg.”
“Probably,” the lad answered. “But a 34 bunches up and I dislike that more.”
“Ah, well, let’s try a 33. It might be perfect. Just slip those jeans off . . .”
The lad nodded and went back behind the curtain. A few moments later, his hand appeared from the still-closed curtain, proffering the jeans back to Joshua.
Instead of taking them, Joshua swept into the cubicle, causing the lad to jump. “Actually,” he announced matter-of-factly, “let’s give you a measure. We want to get this right, yes?” Joshua flashed the startled customer a smile, then lied convincingly: “We can get a more accurate measurement without any pants on.”
He pulled out a cloth tape measure and crouched down. With his face mere inches from the lad’s loose plaid boxers, Joshua exhaled more forcefully than was strictly necessary and was rewarded with a twitch beneath the underwear’s woven cotton. He smiled to himself, then extended the tape measure from the lad’s ankle and up his leg—taking special care to make sure he brushed the bare skin—until he reached the hem of the boxers.
“Ah,” sighed Joshua, nodding at the customer’s twitching underwear. “These loose boxers are always a problem. We want to get this right, don’t we? Don't worry, this will only take a second!” he said, making the whole situation seem like it happened all the time. Without waiting for a reply, he deftly slipped the tape measure under the hem of the boxer shorts and slid it with his fingers all the way up to the top of the thigh. There was another sharp intake of breath from the lad as he looked up to the ceiling, biting his lip. The shorts were now tenting out visibly.
“Yes, 33 inches will be perfect,” Joshua said as he slowly extricated the tape measure. “I really think you should consider some trunks instead of this loose underwear. It will suit the jeans better—they are a bit tighter than your old ones, so these shorts will ruck up. Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back!”
Joshua scooped up the 32-inch jeans and the lad’s original pair in one movement and disappeared. The lad was in a daze; he didn’t really know what was happening but he secretly liked being touched by the extremely attractive assistant. He sighed, slipping his hand down his shorts to his raging hard-on and stroking it a few times. He thought about his friend Liang; he had known him for years and had a massive crush on him. But his fear of rejection had always prevented him from summoning the courage to let his friend know. Thinking about him now, he bit his lip as he stroked the top of his twitching cock.
“Well then—” Joshua said as he yanked back the curtain. Shocked, the lad just had enough time to extract his hand, clumsily scratching the back of his head in an attempt to look casual. His flaming cheeks and obvious damp spot on the front of his shorts, however, told a different story.
“Oh!” exclaimed Joshua, feigning surprise as he stared at the wet patch on the shorts that could barely contain the lad’s massive erection. The single button on the fly seemed like it might pop open at any moment.
Joshua held out a new pair of underwear he had chosen from a display. “The benefit of these trunks is that they will stop ‘that’ being so visible when it happens,” he said with a slight grin and pointing to the lad’s impressive tent. “And they are double layered around the crotch area, which reduces leakage . . .”
The lad’s face went even redder. “Um, good,” he croaked.
“My, it is huge, isn’t it?” said Joshua, unable to resist teasing the lad further.
“Um, is it?”
“Oh yes, huge from what I can see. Any man would be lucky to have that in his mouth . . .” Joshua said mischievously, fixing his gaze on the lad’s face.
Joshua smiled. He had suspected all along that this adorkable lad was firmly in the closet, but the door seemed to be swinging open now.
“Yes, I would,” Joshua replied. He held the lad’s gaze as a bead of sweat formed on his forehead.
“Well then . . .” Joshua said with a smirk as he dropped to his knees. He slowly slipped the boxers down the lad’s legs and allowed his thick member to spring out and bounce freely in the charged air between them. As the young man’s eyes grew wide, Joshua slid his erection into his mouth. A second later, his tongue was swirling around it.
“Oh god!” the lad groaned.
Joshua pulled back for a moment. “Just to be clear, this is a one-time deal—a bit of fun,” he said, winking at the lad. The lad nodded in return. Joshua smiled and went back to his task. The lad resumed moaning and instinctively placed his hands on the tightly cropped sides of Joshua’s head. He rubbed his hands, seemingly enjoying the sensation of the stubble. Joshua felt a tingle go down his spine; the lad had accidently found one of his ‘spots’, causing him to instantly get hard.
It wasn’t long before the tell-tale signs that something was going to blow began to appear. Joshua let the lad’s cock slip from his mouth and started wanking it with his right hand instead, judiciously applying his tongue to the hyper-sensitive head. Anticipating the surge, Joshua leant back his head and shut his eyes. Moments later, stream after stream of cum splattered on his face; even Joshua was surprised at quite how much there was. He just about managed to stop himself from creaming in his tight jeans.
The lad collapsed back onto the bench in the dressing room, eyes still shut. Joshua picked up the discarded plaid boxers and wiped his face clean on them.
“That was amazing,” the lad mumbled.
“Happy you enjoyed it,” Joshua replied. “Now, two things. I don’t want to rush you but I really need to get back . . .”
“Oh yeah, of course. I’ll just get dressed.”
“In the new gear?”
The lad smiled. “Yeah. You convinced me.”
“In that case,” Joshua continued, “the second thing is . . .” A big goofy look spread across his face. “Can I have your Millennium Falcon tee, please?”
“Oh, what, really? I didn’t think you’d be into, well—”
“Oh yes, absolutely!” Joshua enthused. “I love sci-fi and all things space.”
The lad laughed and happily handed over his tee. Again, Joshua was struck by how beautiful he was, especially with a huge smile on his face. If Joshua didn’t have the most amazing man in the world already, this lad might really have ended up with more than he bargained for. All he could hope was that he had given the lad some confidence, as Mr Hellier had given him.
“Cool! Thanks!” Joshua said, accepting the shirt. “As I said, be who you want to be, yes?” The lad nodded. “Okay, I’ll just take these tags and ring them through. Come out to the till when you’re decent!”
The lad looked down, suddenly remembering that, apart from his black socks, he was naked from the waist down. He jumped up and started to dress as Joshua left the dressing room with his ‘new’ shirt.
“Oh, your hair . . .” the lad called out.
Joshua stopped and turned back around. “Yes?”
“I love it—do you think . . .?”
Joshua grinned, instantly understanding the unfinished question. “Yes, it would suit you. I think you could get away with most things—you’re going to break some hearts, I think.” The lad blushed at the compliment as Joshua continued: “There is a barber just opposite. Tell him Joshua sent you. He will look after you—and you’ll get a discount.”
The young man nodded and said thanks, and with that Joshua had disappeared from his view.
As Joshua rounded the corner back onto the sales floor, he punched the air and exclaimed, “A sale, some fun and a wicked shirt! Woo-hoo, result!” Mr Hellier was looking at him, a single eyebrow raised.
“You seem a little . . . flushed . . .” Mr Hellier observed.
“Um, yeah,” Joshua responded, momentarily caught off guard. Then, he recovered and punched the air again. “Flushed with success!” he whooped.
Mr Hellier tutted at the gaudy display of emotions. “Well, I have had three sales while you have been in there doing whatever you were doing.” He paused, noticing the scrunched-up tee in Joshua’s hand. “What is that?”
Joshua resisted the instinct to hide it behind his back. “Um, a t-shirt . . .”
“Well, fold it properly then!” barked Mr Hellier. “How many times . . .”
“Yes, Mr Hellier,” mumbled Joshua. He proceeded to fold it neatly, making sure to hide the print on the front of the shirt, then went to the till with the tags from the clothes that the lad was now wearing. He reached over and plucked the card out of Mr Hellier’s hand and swiped it into the till.
“What are you doing?” exclaimed Mr Hellier.
Joshua scanned the three tags and smiled sweetly. “Just ringing through my sale.”
“But that is my card!”
“No, it is mine,” Joshua answered with a huge grin.
Mr Hellier’s brow furrowed deeply. “Did you swap cards?” he demanded. When Joshua responded with an evil grin, he exclaimed, “You did! Why, of all the low down, dirty—”
“Now, now. I was taught by the best! All is fair in love and sales!” Joshua reminded him and pulled another card out of his back pocket. “Would you like yours back?” he teased, waving it in front of Mr Hellier, who proceeded to snatch it out of his hands. Joshua laughed at getting the upper hand for once and exclaimed in a triumphant voice, “This day will be long remembered!”
“Fine. So be it,” Mr Hellier said in a huff. Registering his last three sales on Joshua’s card had made a net difference of hundreds of pounds to the competition. “Gloves off now then, boi . . .”
Joshua covered his mouth. “Your powers are weak, old man!” he hissed through his fingers.
Mr Hellier blinked several times. “I beg your pardon!”
Joshua sighed. “As I said, completely un-adorkable.”
* * *
Both Mr Hellier and Joshua were taking turns to work the shop floor hard, and the stock in the shop was going fast. The number of sold-out lines kept increasing.
Later in the early evening, Joshua spotted a potential “money sack”—a phrase that nearly made Mr Hellier choke on his Rich Tea biscuit. The “money sack” looked like he needed assistance, so Joshua made eye contact and headed in his direction before Mr Hellier could beat him to it.
“Hello, Sir,” Joshua greeted him. “Is there anything I can help you with?”
The man held out a pair of jeans, looking forlorn. “Umm, yeah, these jeans. I can’t find any in my size . . .”
“Ah, we have had quite a busy day,” Joshua explained. “But let me check the other shelves to make sure nothing has been put back incorrectly.” When he took the jeans from the potential customer, he said, “Oh, what excellent taste you have; these are the exact same ones that I am wearing! What size are you after?”
“I was looking for a 30-inch waist and a long leg,” the customer replied.
“Oh!” said Joshua and proceeded to rummage through stacks of other styles to see if something had been mislaid by an errant browser. After a few moments, he sighed. “I’m afraid we only have those in that size in the charcoal black . . .” When he glanced back at the customer, the man appeared crestfallen.
“Aw, man,” the customer reacted. He sounded as crestfallen as he looked. “I’ve wanted to get these for my partner for so long but I couldn’t afford them before the sale. This is just my luck.”
Joshua was moved by the man’s disappointment and took pity on him. That, and he really wanted another sale—it was getting close to the end of the day! “30-inch waist, long leg, you say?”
“Yeah,” the customer answered, sounding as if he had just been told his entire close family had died in a freak accident caused by bandicoots. “He’s the same size as me.”
“That’s my size, too,” Joshua replied.
“Oh, that’s nice, I guess.”
“No,” Joshua said, pointing to his own jeans. “I mean, these are the size you want, in the colour you want and I’ve only worn them a handful of times.” At that moment, he was glad he had managed to control himself when he had taken customer service to a whole new level in the changing room earlier.
“Oh!” said the customer, finally catching on. Still, he looked hesitant.
“Do you want them? I mean, I should really be charging you more for the service of breaking them in, but since that technically makes them second-hand, I guess I can give you twice the discount—20%?”
“Really!” the customer exclaimed. He beamed and reached out with both hands and squeezed Joshua’s arms. “Thank you so much! This place really does live up to its reputation of service!” Joshua couldn’t help but smile back. In only a matter of minutes, he had taken the man from devastated to ecstatic. And all it had taken was a pair of used jeans in exactly the right size.
Still . . . he also couldn’t help but be a little worried about exactly what people were saying about his . . . service . . . There was word of mouth, and then there was word of mouth.
He decided he’d leave that worry for later. Right now, he needed to close the sale. “But fair’s fair,” he said to the customer; there was a special twinkle in his eye that Mr Hellier would have recognized. “I want your jeans as a replacement,” he explained.
The customer looked down at his own tattered jeans that had barely a micron of fabric in some places. He lifted his shirt to show their full condition to Joshua. “Really?” he asked, as if the deal were too good to be true. Then, without waiting for an answer: “Yes, you can have them!”
Joshua mentally licked his lips at the condition of the man’s jeans. He loved new gear, but gear that was about to fall apart was just so hot. And he saw a lot of it at the shop; it was one of the perks of his job, and it wouldn’t be the first time he had engineered this sort of transaction. For a moment his mind leapt back to the first time—all that time ago—and a small smile crossed his face.
The other reason Joshua was licking his lips was the Ron Dorff underwear that the man had inadvertently shown off when he lifted his shirt. Joshua quickly stepped away and picked up a pair of Lacoste briefs from a nearby display. He brought them over for the man’s inspection. “How would you like these? 50% off.”
The customer looked as if he had just won the lottery—twice. “Really?!”
“Yes, of course. Would you like to follow me into the changing room, Sir? I am sure we can come to a suitable arrangement . . .” Joshua gestured towards the changing rooms with a knowing smile.
* * *
“And now the moment of truth!” Mr Hellier said theatrically, pressing the ‘display sales’ option on the register. A moment of anxious quiet followed as they both peered at the screen.
“Oh . . .” Mr Hellier said in a disappointed tone.
“That would be . . . improbable, to say the least,” mused Joshua.
“Yes. We both made the same sales total—to the pence!” lamented Mr Hellier.
“Well, I guess we both get the day off tomorrow?” Joshua offered. “It probably would not make much sense to open, anyway . . .”
Mr Hellier glanced around the shop, noting an almost complete lack of stock. “Well, yes . . .” he agreed. Then his face broke into a sudden grin and he said in a vindicated voice, “Oh! But I was right? You did not manage to sell more than me!”
Joshua narrowed his eyes at his partner. “A pyrrhic victory at best,” he replied. “But yes, you were correct.”
Mr Hellier beamed smugly at the concession.
“But, as for the ‘game’, the winner was the one who made the most sales, and in that respect, it is a draw,” Joshua admitted, then said under his breath, “As unbelievable as that sounds . . .”
“Ah, yes. Indeed.” Mr Hellier tapped his chin several times, thinking. “Well then, should we toss a coin to see who chooses dinner and the other person chooses what we watch?”
“Works for me,” Joshua replied agreeably as Mr Hellier opened the till and retrieved a shiny pound coin. He turned his back on Joshua for a moment before turning back around, one hand clasped over the other. “Heads of Tails?” he asked.
“Heads!” Joshua answered confidently.
Mr Hellier slowly withdrew his top hand so they could both see the two-tone coin beneath. “Tails!” he exclaimed. “I choose dinner! Hmmm . . .” He returned to lightly tapping his chin in thought. “I think we shall go to—”
Joshua cut across him: “La Bella Crostata.”
“Well, yes . . .” stumbled Mr Hellier, momentarily caught off kilter.
Joshua smiled and said, “Not to say you are a creature of habit but . . .” He rolled his eyes, then his voice grew excited. “Ooo! I get to choose what we go watch!”
A look of horror crossed Mr Hellier’s face. “Oh, you would not make me sit through . . .”
“Oh yes!” Joshua said with a smug look on his face.
“Not a . . . superhero film!” finished Mr Hellier, aghast.
“Absolutely not. I forbid it!” spluttered Mr Hellier.
“Tut-tut. Play by the rules!” Joshua admonished him. “And just for once, you are not in control of them . . .” Realising he was gloating, he hurriedly added, “Sir.”
“Yes, whatever.” Mr Hellier sighed. “We will go and endure your silly little film,” he continued ungraciously.
“And we will get a tub of popcorn.”
“I hate popcorn!”
“It is not for you, silly!” Joshua shot back. “Anyway, we will put it on your lap with a hole in the bottom, and you can quietly slip in your . . .”
“Joshua!” said a shocked Mr Hellier.
“I like my popcorn salted.” Joshua shrugged unapologetically.
Mr Hellier threw his arms in the air. “Sometimes, I do not know what to do with you!”
“Ooo! I can think of something . . .” Joshua replied, heading towards the changing room. He paused just long enough to cast Mr Hellier a wicked smile before disappearing.
“What? Oh . . . Now?” Mr Hellier spluttered. “Here?”
Joshua’s head and shoulders popped back around the divide, already minus his polo shirt. “What better way to celebrate your most favourite day of the year? And nothing you have not done before!”
“But . . . but . . . that was a long time ago!” Mr Hellier countered, instantly realising that was no argument at all. “And we need to prepare for the job next week!”
“I am ready, Sir!” called out Joshua.
A small smile appeared on Mr Hellier's face and he let out a happy sigh. This boy would be the end of him, he thought, but what an end! “Right,” he called back. “I am coming around there to sort you out; someone needs to be reminded who is in charge in this relationship!”
“Excellent!” replied Joshua before correcting himself. “I mean . . . yes, Mr Hellier.”
“Your clothes better be folded neatly,” Mr Hellier warned. Then, he also disappeared into the changing room, leaving the shop deserted and quiet for the first time since opening. The only sound to be heard was a zipper being lowered and the gentle noise of clothes being removed.
“Oh!” Joshua said suddenly.
“What, what, what?!” Mr Hellier demanded impatiently.
Joshua giggled. “I forgot—I think we are going to need an extra-large tub of popcorn!”
"On my!” Mr Hellier exclaimed. “I'm definitely going to need to fill your mouth with something to stop this flow of filth . . ."
"Promises, promises," Joshua laughed.
Written by sneaked666
Edited by sz1415sneakers
(c) 2022 everythingmustdie.com