Angel of the Morning

July 23, 2008 at 11:40 am (Clairissa, Sweet sticky things)

Sometimes what happens in the morning can set the tone for the whole day. One can accept that as their fate, or simply overcome. Yesterday could have gone either way…

I used to hate running errands before work, but have come to view them as a necessary evil. While the world is not as 9-to-5 as it used to be, there’s not a lot of business to be taken care of at 1 AM. (There’s all kinds of fun business, but that’s not what I’m talking about.) For example, groceries.

I wish there was a full-blown market with service deli I could hit on the way home. 7-Eleven is the closest thing in my neighborhood, and I’ve mined every option there. So if I wanted reasonably priced milk and food, I must trundle out into the daylight to my local mega-market.

Milk, bread, lunch fruit, yogurt. But what for dinner? I eyeballed the service deli. Sweet glazed chicken! $6.99 for an 8-piece. What the hell, it looked good and no after-work cooking! I waited as a crowd formed. One gal was waiting on the bunch; she called for customer assistance.

After five minutes and three customers, a manager from a different department came over. While I’m sure he meant well, I doubt he’d worked in food service since his teen years. I could tell by the way he strapped on the plastic gloves. He had to ask how to price the item, then he began picking out my eight pieces.

First, a scraggly drumstick. That’s okay, I usually have them as a leftover snack a day or two later. I’ve got my eye on that giant, sticky breast… He grabs a wing, dripping sauce into the vat of potato salad. He grabs the big, sticky breast- yes! -and puts it aside. Goddammit! He finds another wing, and something that looked like a wing and drumstick stuck together. He fishes out another wing and drumstick, then tosses in the smallest breast in the batch. WTF?

“Hmm… one more thigh…” He tosses it in the bag, tags it and says, “Thank you for your patience.”

I look at what’s left. All the showcase pieces are still in the case, and I have a collection of the runts of the litter. If I’d wanted honey and barbecue sauce slathered over skin and bone, I could have dipped my fingers and licked! The further I got from the deli counter, the more hostile I got. Motherfucker! I went to the meat department, found raw chicken breasts for about the same price, and returned to the deli.

“I’ve changed my mind. I’d like these instead.” I handed the bag back to the gal. Mr. Manager was nowhere to be seen. I’d so wanted to give them back to him, with a few choice comments. If you want me to take inferior product, then give me less-than-premium pricing!

Happy with myself for not getting screwed out of $7, I grabbed the rest of my goodies and made for the bus stop. The driver is the same one who would be driving me to work in forty minutes. I hustled to get things put away, took a quick rinse in the shower and got back to the bus stop.

“Fancy meeting you here,” I say to the bus driver as I board. We’ve been seeing a lot of each other. I find my favorite window seat and begin to daydream away my half-hour of quiet time. Like the guy in Repo Man said, “I do my best thinking on the bus.”

My evil fantasies shatter: My chest is ringing! The new phone doesn’t announce ‘Incoming call!’ like the old one did. The new one is set to vibrate as well, at least until I get better at recognizing the ring tone. I look at the number.

Clairissa!

I give her my best baritone “Hi there!”

“Are you at work?”

“I will be. I’m on the bus.”

“Can I come see you? I had to go to the camera shop, and I’m nearby.” She told me where she was.

“Stay right there. My bus stop is a block from there. I’ll be getting off in two minutes.” As an afterthought, “Tee hee…”

“I heard that tee hee! You’re such a goofball.” We clicked off.

The phone rang again. Instead of hello, I said “Damn, you’re making my nipples sore!”

“What?!”

“I’ll tell you later. Whazzup?”

“I’m walking toward your bus stop. Which one is it?”

“I see you. Stay there.” I got off the bus and headed for her. She was atypically subdued, with long sleeves and do-rag. A peck on the lips, and I gave her my usual hearty hug.

“Ow,” she said in a small voice.

“Are you all right?” I pulled back to look at her.

“I’m fine,” she said. “My birthday party was one for the ages.”

“We’ve both had pretty spectacular birthdays this year. What did you do?”

She told me about the party, the horseplay, the wrestling, the water balloon fights, the sex. “Dude, I couldn’t move yesterday. I had to wear a hoodie so people wouldn’t think my boyfriend beat me up. I’d show you, but I’d have to get naked to do so.” She looked around. People were milling by on the sidewalk, and the courthouse was right… over… there.

“Maybe this will work.” She retracted her arms from the pullover sweatshirt and the shirt underneath, leaving only a charcoal gray wifebeater for cover. Her nipples poking through the shirt usually would capture my attention, but I was distracted by all the bruises.

“My god, girl…” She was bruised up and down both arms. Hickeys on her chest. I pulled the shirt out and looked down her cleavage. More of the same.

“Here’s a bad one.” She turned. Under her arm was a tennis ball-sized bruise that looked like a magenta sunburst. I could see the teeth marks.

“Actually, that looks like a good one. A fun one…”

She smiled knowingly. “It was a fun one…”

She covered back up, took my hand and walked me to work. I took her behind the counter, introduced her to my co-worker, showed her the newspaper clipping I’d found, the one with her sporting a rainbow mohawk. Time was ticking, she had an appointment, I had a register to take over.

Another hug. (“Ow.”) I promised to chase her down in a couple of days.

And she was gone. So was my earlier bad attitude from shopping. A few minutes, a couple hugs, tittilating conversation; it just made my day, I tell you!

I’m still thinking about breasts. Barbecued and otherwise…

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