Tom yawed and rubbed his tried eyes. He wanted to go home, but there was still two hours left of his shift and they were the dullest hours of his night. Once the shop had officially closed at two AM, he had to tidy up, sort out the money, look at the stock list and plan the next deliver. Taking some sips from his almost finished bottle of water, he watched the doors open and an old man shuffling in. Tom paused, then decided he was too tried to point out that he was about to close. What does one more customer matter? He thought before adding, Is that guy with the baby still here? He glanced around, but couldn’t spot anyone else. The shelves were high though and the man could be in the back cornered baby aisle. Just as Tom was thinking of walking over, the man appeared.

Jason gently bounced his new born daughter against his chest. The baby carrier felt too tight around his muscular frame, but at least his daughter was safe, close by and he had full use of his hands. He tried not to yaw, nor show the middle-aged man at the counter how tried he was. He swung the basket up onto the glass top and dug in his pocket for his wallet. The yaw escaped and he quickly brought his hand up to cover it. The movement jerked the baby and she started crying. ‘Hush, Hush. I’m sorry,’ he told her and placing his wallet on the counter, put both hands under carrier and rocked her slowly. She wailed and Jason felt her tiny fists struggling against him. Trying to calm her, he watched the items go through the till and into a bag. ‘Long night, huh?’ he asked. Tom nodded and told him the cost. Jason handed him a note and waited for the change, ‘Yeah, feels like that for me too. She only seems to sleep when being driven or walked somewhere. Something to do with motion, I don’t understand it. Thanks,’ Jason added. He put the change in his wallet, which he slipped back into his pocket then grabbed the bag and left. Tom called a goodbye, then prepared to close the shop, but he suddenly remembered that there was another customer roaming the aisles.

Ben stood before the fridges looking for the right kind of milk before he opened the door. A blast of cold air escaped as if he had stepped outside again. He grabbed the milk and closed the door, wondering why the shop had to store things at artic temperatures. Shaking off the cold, he shuffled away and went to next aisle. Holding the milk in his arm, he studied the loaves of bread then choice a small white one. Muttering the list to himself, he moved on again and picked up a tin of peaches, soup and a packet of grapes. Heading back to the counter, he heard Tom closing up and tried to hurry his pace. Placing the items down, he went through the list again and realised he’d forget the biscuits. ‘Be right back,’ he said softly and walked off. ‘I’m closing,’ Tom called after him. Ben nodded and grabbing a packet of rich tea biscuits, hobbled back again. Tom was scanning the items and bagging them. Ben gave him the biscuits and fumbled for his wallet. ‘Bit late for shopping,’ Tom told him. Ben nodded, ‘I prefer it. No people and no waiting,’ Ben laughed and handed Tom some money. ‘My wife is sick, I can only leave when she sleeps,’ he explained. ‘Sorry to hear that, here you go. Hope she gets better soon,’ Tom said. Ben thanked him, took his items and left the shop. Tom locked the door behind him and walked into the back room. There was still two hours of his shift left.