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Daniil Kharms
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Cashier, The

Masha found a mushroom, picked it and took it to the market. At the market, Masha was hit about the head, and there were further promises that she could be hit about the legs as well. Masha took fright and ran off.
Masha ran to the co-operative store and wanted to hide there behind the cash desk. But the manager caught sight of Mashes and said: -- What's that you've got in your hands?
And Masha said: -- A mushroom. The manager said: -- Why, you're a fine one, now! How would you like me to fix you up with a job?
-- Oh, you won't fix me up -- said Masha. -- I'll fix you up here and now! -- said the manager. And he fixed Masha up with a job, turning the handle on the cash till.
Masha turned and turned away on the handle on the cash till and suddenly died. The police arrived, drew up a report, and ordered the manager to pay a fine of fifteen roubles.
-- What's the fine for? -- asked the manager.
-- For murder -- replied the police.
The manager took fright, hastily paid the fine and said: -- All right, only take this dead cashier out of here straight away.
At this point the sales assistant from the fruit section said: -- No, wait a minute, you've got it wrong, she wasn't the cashier. She only turned the handle on the cash till. That's the cashier sitting there.
-- It's all the same to us -- said the police -- we've been told to take a cashier out of here, so we'll take one out.
The police started towards the cashier. The cashier thereupon lay down on the floor behind the cash desk and said: -- I won't go.
-- Why won't you go, you silly woman? -- said the police.
-- You're going to bury me alive -- said the cashier.
The police started to try and lift the cashier up from the floor, but try as they might, they couldn't lift her, as she was extremely stout.
-- Grab her by the legs -- said the sales assistant from the fruit section.
-- No -- said the manager -- this cashier acts as my wife. I must therefore ask you not to expose her from the rear end.
-- Do you hear? -- said the cashier -- don't you dare expose me from the rear end.
The police look hold of the cashier under the arms and dragged and heaved her out of the co-operative store.
The manager ordered the sales assistants to tidy up the store and get business under way.
--- But what are we going to do with this dead woman? -- said the sales assistant from the fruit section, pointing at Masha.
-- Good gracious me -- said the manager -- we've made a mess of the whole thing! Well, what in fact are we going to do with the dead woman?
-- And who's going to sit at the cash till? -- asked the sales assistant.
The manager clutched his head with both hands. He sent apples scattering along the counter with his knee and said: -- What's happened is monstrous!
-- Monstrous! -- echoed the sales assistants in chorus.
Suddenly the manager scratched his moustache and said: -- Ha, ha, I'm not so easily nonplussed. We'll seat the dead woman behind the till, and perhaps the public won't realise who's sitting there.
They seated the dead woman at the cash desk, stuck a cigarette between her teeth to give her a greater resemblance to the living, and for additional verisimilitude gave her the mushroom to hold in her hands.
The dead woman sat there looking quite alive, except that her facial colouring was very green, and one eye was open, while the other was completely closed.
-- Never mind -- said the manager -- she'll do.
And the public was already knocking at the doors, highly agitated that the shop had not been opened. In particular, one matriarchal figure in a silk coat was shouting her head off: she was shaking her purse and aiming a back heel kick at the door-handle. And behind the matriarchal figure some old woman with a pillowcase on her head was shouting and swearing, calling the manager of the co-operative store a stingy old swine.
The manager opened the doors and admitted the public. The public charged straight to the meat section, and then to where the sugar and pepper were sold. But the old woman made straight for the fish section, and on the way glanced at the cashier and stopped.
-- Good Lord -- she said -- Holy goats!
And the matriarchal figure in the silk coat had already been round every section, and was rushing to the cash desk. But no sooner had she glimpsed the cashier then she stopped dead, stood in silence and just looked. And the sales assistants also stayed silent anal looked at the manager. And the manager peered out from behind the counter, waiting to see what would happen next.
The matriarchal figure in the silk coat turned to the sales assistants and said: -- Who's that you've got sitting behind the cash till?
And the sales assistants stayed silent, as they didn't know what to say.
The manager also stayed silent.
At this point people came running from all sides. Already there was a crowd on the street. Caretakers from nearby houses appeared on the scene. Whistles were heard blowing. In a word, an absolute scandal.
The crowd was prepared to stand there outside the store until evening at least. But someone said that old women were plummeting out of a window on Ozerny Pereulok. Then the crowd outside the store thinned out, because a lot of people went over to Ozerny Pereulok.