This one’s going to the dogs.
People ask how I tolerate the assholes at work? The mouthy tough-guys who run up to you like they’re going to hit you? If they can get you to flinch, they think they can bully you. I stand steely-eyed and ask, “What’s your point?”
See, if you walk a third-of-a-mile in my shoes, you get a lot of practice with sons of bitches giving you a bunch of attitude…
I couldn’t help but flash back to the South Park episode where Cartman pretends to be retarded to win the Special Olympics. Last night’s Petty Criminal of the Day wasn’t that stupid, but there were some fairly hilarious moments.
I was training one of many new people. Fortunately, they get indoctrinated by several folks before me, so I get to observe and refine, making sure procedures are followed, how to problem-solve alone, etc… It also gives me time to roam without having to run a register or pay much attention to shoplifters.
On the other hand, it also gives me plenty of time to watch for shoplifters…
It had been a month since my altercation with Kevin, the dude who looks like the butt-baby of Samuel L Jackson and Fred Sanford. As the days passed, he became bolder. He would walk past, eyeing me and grinning. He would peek around the corner, and I would pretend not to see him, then watch in case he approached. (He wouldn’t. He’d go pester the store across the street.) He had Festus, the customer who does more store security than any worker, on high-alert. In fact, I began to worry about Festus’ safety.
This had to stop. I cannot live like I am being hunted. I figure I had three choices. I could do nothing, and let him run rough-shod all over me and the store, proving him right that I am the pussy he claims I am. Or, I could call the cops, press charges for simple assault, he would be out of jail in four hours and REALLY hating me. Or,
I could just kill him with my bare hands inside the store.
I get punched by random black guys all the time.
I wish I were kidding, but it’s true.
I was in a fight in 1989. It was pretty cool, I was tripping on acid and defended my home and women from a drunken intruder. I threw his ass down the stairs and left him half-paralyzed for six months. Sure, I felt like a tough guy, but it was silly, and it cost me an already-dead friendship. I’ve never been much of a scrapper, preferring to talk my way out of things. It’s worked well for twenty-five years.
But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…
It was Saturday morning, and I was restless. Rain was out doing her daily routine, and I had the day off. I’ve been working an average of six days a week, and a full day off with no expectation of being called in left me feeling a little lost.
I ate a magic lemon bar and went for a walk. Let’s see where Saturday morning takes me…
I’ve always been a creature of habit. When I find something that works, I stick with it. This can lead to ruts. I dislike ruts. This year has been a season of change. A LOT has changed. But, as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This is the story of my 99-cent Ironman watch, and how it’s on its third life…
Man, I hate working days.
For thirty-plus years, I have worked nights. I love the swing shift. People off work and partying, they come to me for beer, cigarettes, and the things that make you not smell like beer and cigarettes. They stumble in, laugh, move on. It’s not like that in the daytime. Suits with entitlements are my biggest nemesis, along with the salesmen who try to dump unauthorized product on me when bosses aren’t around. I can tell a crackhead to piss off. If I say that to a guy in a suit, he has a “meaningful chat” with my boss, and I get a lecture about poor customer service.
Dr T’s hours have changed. He’s working a lot of the shifts I used to work. I’ve been cool with that. It’s an okay fit, although I think he prefers an earlier hour. I like that when I’m downtown on my off time, I can wander in and give him an obnoxious earful and he has to stay and listen.
Grinder has been pushing his authority, “getting his stink on things” as Uncle Cliffy puts it. Uncle Cliffy has been promoted to “Store Supervisor”, a new position that means he does manager work at part-time pay. It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it. He and Eva Braun, the new “Store Supervisor” of The Mothership, are hitting it off, forming a new alliance. All these kids I’ve trained and gotten jobs now outrank me.
Rumpole has worked day shift. I was put on graveyard for a couple weeks. I’ve done some day shifts, but this week is ridiculous. Grinder’s schedule-making skills need polishing in the worst way, it’s like he throws a handful of color-coded darts at the time-sheet and says, “Here ya go!” For example, tonight I work until midnight, or 2:45 AM if Dr T doesn’t check his phone messages. Or hasn’t paid his phone bill. Then I am scheduled back at 9 AM at The Mothership for an all-day shift during Cinco de Mayo. At least it’ll be busy.
Rain came by last night, after calling me to say she’d be on the last bus. It was like old times; she did her thing on the bed while I watched the rerun of the Blazers game. She wore my Oregon Lottery promo shirt and a pair of see-through panties. She had to leave early, and I wish she could have stayed a bit longer. She was looking mighty fine in them hip-huggers.
I would have invited her back tonight, except for that whole “be on deck at 9 AM” thing. When I told Meg what was up, she said, “I’ll just expect you.” So tonight, after work and before work, I have a slumber party date with my mistress. She promised to make me dinner. If I can do anything to relieve her stress, I will be happy to do so. I shaved and put on clean underwear. Fancy!
And then, after work, if she’s around, I will invite Rain home to cozy up for a night. Crazy as it sounds, I’ve missed her.
And so begins my 16 in 26 shift. I’ll see you at the end of it. Yes, that’s a rocket in my pocket.
And yes, I am happy to see you.
I quit updating my social status every time I caught the eye of a new girl, or caught up with an old one, or dumped one forever, because nothing is forever (yet) and I am a pussy when it comes to being firm in my convictions.
Besides, I’m not sure any of us knows what we really want.
Things seemed hot and heavy with Angel, then her boyfriend came back to town. Rain is off heroin, living downtown and doing fine. Meg is having her own unique set of crises, but the Marshal is out of the equation, and I am her go-to guy.
And I am seeing all of them.
People ask me, “Aren’t you scared?” when crazy incidents happen at work.
For the most part, no. I have seen (and done) a lot in my thirty-plus years as a cashier. I had another ‘first’ last week, in fact. (More on that later.) What happened, that wasn’t a first, but hasn’t happened in a long time, is…
I got punched in the face.
“I’m kinda low on green. Would you bring me some flowers?” Angel is always so polite.
“How much you want? I can hit the dispensary before work.”
“Damn, I only got a twenty. Can you go small?”
“Heh.” I made it sound dirty. She smiled. “I got an idea. Keep your $20 and I’ll just bring you something.”
I’ve been around weed for nearly four decades now. I’ve never been into marketing; I sell groceries for a living, and all the pot dealers I knew ended up hating their clientele. I love my friends, and don’t want to see them like that, so I just don’t deal. But I’m also the guy who will go score you some, because I’m a sucker for a pretty face and I hate seeing anyone crabby.
Angel is getting girlfriend benefits, whether she realizes it or not. The sacks get fatter, I’ll slip things into her purse, etc… When she sends me to the dispensary, she has specific requests. I oblige those requests, but I also am a frugal weed-hustling SOB, so I kick in a little to get better deals. And I tax her, just like everybody else.
Except I keep her taxes, until a rainy day, then rain down on her the benefits of my squirrely ways. Much like the State of Oregon, I decide when you get your tax return.
Angel and I have been sharing little gifts, a medicated cookie here, a box of Girl Scout cookies there. (However, if her birth control pills are shaped like Fred Flintstone, I’m gonna have to bail…)For Christmas, Angel gave me an airtight bottle for storage of the green. “I thought about one with just a leaf on top, but then I saw The Hot Bitch and decided my guy needs a hot bitch. So there ya go!” The lid of the jar has a Playboy Bunny (blonde) on top. (Don’t tell Angel, but I’m going to superimpose her picture atop the bunny.) Of course, it became my immediate prized possession, and sits on my desk, showcasing only the finest sativa buds. Okay, maybe a hybrid or an Indica might sneak in there, but mostly I keep the peppiest upbeatest finest buds on display.
It’s also Angel’s bottle. Her “taxes” go in there, and when she only has a $20? Daddy can slip her enough blown-mind to keep her squinty and grinning until payday. And when she becomes a regular in my room? She can tap the stash without worrying, because it is hers. Her previous boyfriend once called her a “bag of bitches”. (I don’t see it, personally.) But since I have so much fun with that information, I have dubbed her stash container the Bottle ‘o Bitch.
When it came time to cross paths, she was walking with a co-worker. “Imma cutter.”
“That sounds like a major mental health issue. May I recommend a tranquilizer?” I was smiling, Angel wasn’t. “I’m a cutter” slowed down translates into “I’m going to cut her.” One of Angel’s underlings was being a handful.
“Why, hello sir! A pleasant day!” We shook hands, palming. Her eyes got wide when she felt the heft of her $20 bud. “Are you sure?” She lost the anger, but didn’t break character in front of her associate.
“You can hang on to the money a couple days, and I can reload then,” I said.
“NO.” She slipped the bill in my pocket, and gave my butt a squeeze. Man, I love it when she does that. I didn’t argue. I mentally filed the $20, it would go into a future bag, buying big so we can keep it small.