Laura’s hands tremble as she reaches towards the note. This was not what she expected when she started her shift this morning. This was supposed to be an ordinary day. Something was inside the note and she had a feeling it was anything but good.
Her body feels warm and she can feel her heartbeat in her throat. She grabs the note and with every move she makes her breath quickens. She opens the note up, and her eyes carefully caress the text inside. She begins to read it, and right there and then a terrible feeling hit the pit of her stomach.
For Laura Jones, working in retail was not her dream job. Far from it. She had been working in her local clothes store for two years and with every dollar she earned, she put towards her dream of moving to Australia. What could be better than the sun, beaches, and glorious warm weather?
But then one day, everything changed for Laura, and her whole world turned upside down.
Laura rubs her tired eyes and gets out of her bed. It was 7:30 am and she had work in an hour. As quickly as she could, she got ready and caught the train to the city center.
She didn’t mind where she worked. Her colleagues were friendly, and she got a pretty good discount on the clothes in the store. As the train pulled into the city center, Laura thought to herself this was just going to be another ordinary day. She had no idea how wrong she was.
As she hopped off the train Laura bought herself a coffee and made her way to the store ready to start her shift.
It was still pretty early so there weren’t many people about, but as Laura crossed the road she noticed something. And it left a terrible feeling in her stomach.
A man dressed in a long black trench coat was staring at Laura as she was just about to finish her early morning commute.
The man had an eerily creepy smile plastered on his face and he was surrounded by a group of pigeons. What was his problem? Why was he looking at Laura?
Laura quickly hurried away from the man, who was still staring at her. Her heartbeat was pounding in her chest, and she soon arrived at the store to start her shift.
She felt creeped out by the man but this city was full of strange people. She had no idea what was coming.
Laura had been working her shift for four hours so she decided to take her lunch break. She grabbed her bag from the staff room and left the store to go to her local coffee shop.
There, she bought a coffee and a sandwich. As she shopped outside the coffee shop, the sun beamed down on her face. Laura knew she had to take advantage of this gorgeous weather, so she decided to eat her lunch near a fountain. As she made her way to her lunch spot, she had no idea her world was about to get turned upside down.
She arrived at the fountain and sat down on a bench. As she nibbled on her sandwich she saw a flock of pigeons fly in the sky and land just across the path from her.
Laura wasn’t phased by this; these pigeons were pretty much anywhere in town and they presumably were just after Laura’s food. Plus, they looked quite sweet. But Laura was wrong.
Halfway through eating her sandwich, Laura broke off some of it and crumbled it up. She then threw the crumbs onto the floor for the pigeons to eat.
Without hesitation, the pigeons waddled over and devoured the crumbs. Laura watched them with glee, enjoying her sandwich. But she had no idea everything was about to change.
“Excuse me miss,” said a voice, startling Laura, causing her to spill her coffee. She tuned spring to find a man staring at her. He had some sort of uniform on and he had a stern look plastered on his face.
“Yes, can I help?” asked Laura. But before she could let the man reply, she noticed the time; she had two minutes before she had to be back at work! “Sorry, but I have to be at work in like two minutes,” she said. But the man just looked at her and handed her a note. Confused, Laura read it. And what she saw left he lost for words.
It turned out that this note was actually a fine for littering! The fine was for $157 dollars and $196 if she left it for more than 10 days. Laura was outraged. “You can’t be serious!” she said to the man. “Oh, I am very much so.” He replied, his tone stern and patronizing.
Laura argued that feeding the pigeons is nothing like another person littering, but the man wasn’t having any of it. Time was running out for Laura. And now she had to pay $157.
After much protest, Laura paid the fine as she didn’t want to end up paying the extra amount if she left it longer than 10 days. As she typed her card details into the man’s card machine, she could feel anger boil inside her.
The man smiled at her but Laura gave him a look that could turn water into ice. She stormed back into her store ready to finish her shift, $157 down that is.