Catachresis

I watched as Nora Channels brought the bill and a loose twenty up to the cash register. I held out a hand to accept the check and ring it into the register, but I didn’t say anything: I was sure she didn’t remember me from high school.

“Hi,” she said, and this was more than mere catachresis. This was utter inaccuracy. She’d barely said a word to me in high school, and now here she was, half a dozen years later, greeting me with a comfortable smile and an all-too-knowing eye. “You’re Florie,” she said. It wasn’t a question; it was a confirmation.

I punched the total bill ($15.75) into the register, and then jammed down the CASH TENDERED key (it stuck sometimes) with my right thumb. “Uh, yes,” I said, as the cash drawer shot open and I stopped it with my hip. I slipped the 20 she’d handed me into its slot and started counting out change.

Nora waved it off. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “Tip. Keep it.”

“Oh,” I said. “Thanks.” I hoped I’d get to keep the change.

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