Sinko de Weekend

May 3, 2009 at 12:30 pm (Clairissa, Cussed Dumbers)

Ah, another gorgeous Sunday morning, which means it’s time for work. Oh joy.

I loved having Sundays off. If I had to see someone in person, it was the one day I could count on doing so. Now I have Thursday, Friday and Saturday off, to which I’m adapting. The world’s a lot more active on Thursday night, and I can participate. The nice thing about working Sunday? By the end of Monday, my week’s half over. That has a pleasant ring to it.

Friday, as I killed time waiting for paychecks, I got a text message from Boss Whitney. “Call Master P.” Hmm.

“Do you mind if I make a quick phone call? Boss wants to talk to me.” I was at Raven’s, sitting in her dark, quiet hotel room.

She assured me no offense would be taken. “However, if you walk in, sit down, whip out your phone and start calling all your friends just to chat, I might get a little catty…”

I wanted to make this short and sweet. “Hey boss, what’s up?”

“Oh hi, just the man I want to talk to. I made a schedule snafu, and I really need someone to work the Waterfront store Saturday night. It’s Cinco de Mayo, and I underbooked.”

“Sure, no problem.” My weekend plans had been canceled one by one, right down to the haircut. (More on that later. Yes, Clairissa is back in town.) Instead of sitting in front of the TV watching sports etc… I could be getting some extra cash.

“You’ll be working with Weird Steven. He’ll close, you’ll work backup until midnight.”

Great…

Now, Weird Steven and I are old friends; in fact he recommended me for the job. (We worked together for The Nationally Recognized Convenience Store located by PSU.) But when we are stuck on side-by-side cash registers we tend to drive each other nuts.

He listens to books on tape.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I prefer my background noise to be a tad more aggressive. Give me Cookie Monster rock!

I showed up for work Saturday afternoon, ready to grind the customers out like sausages. The Waterfront store rocks during festivals. (I hold the single shift record for sales, from last 4th of July.) There was nobody in the store, and Swaggart was settling in to work the till.

“What are you doing here? You’re not on the schedule.”

“Master P asked me to come in, figured the place would be crazy. If not, I’ll just stock a bunch of stuff and maybe sneak out early.”

“Hmm. I’m scheduled until 6 PM, and since you’re here to run the till, I can take care of the stocking, since I know where everything is.”

Cool! We broke like football players coming out of a huddle. He grabbed a case of energy drinks and I started making fresh coffee. Gonna be a long night.

After a while, I began wondering where the crowds were. Friday night had hordes of people and cops on every corner. Other than horsey cops and occasional foot patrols, there wasn’t much presence on Saturday. Swaggart and I took numerous breaks; he smoked and I wandered the MAX platform, mostly looking to see who was yelling so I wouldn’t sell them beer. (Walking down the street bellowing is a sign of public intoxication, FYI.) I saw a man with a bedroll have a violent argument with himself. He gave us a dirty look and moved along. Have a nice day!

By the time Weird Steven arrived, I had a plan formulated. GTFO. (You figure it out.) Weird Steven looked at me, rolled his eyes in a ‘Boy, is this gonna be a long night’ way, and said hello.

“Hi. If things don’t pick up, I want to leave early.” No sense pussy-footing around about it.

“Fine with me! Elmo left early last night, and it was actually busy. When do you want to leave?”

“Well, I have a lunch coming. I figured I’d take that, then call to see if things have picked up. If you’re cool, I’ll just head home.”

“Works for me.”

I started looking for stuff to do, and Weird Steven turned on his book-on-tape, a dry monotone about some historical occurrence. I said something, he clicked off the tape player in a huff. “Are you going to work up front, or back there?”

“I have things I can do in the office.” Tee hee, plan working…

I went into the back, relaxed in Whitney’s chair, and pulled out my cell phone. Free weekend minutes bring out the teenage girl in me. Before I could select anyone to call, the Halloween tone went off. It was Raven. “What’s up, Mister Saturday Night?”

“Oh, I’m just looking for an excuse to ditch work. Are you home?”

“No, but I will be. I’m just leaving the library.”

“Can I come over and hang out for my lunch hour?”

“That would be cool. How soon?”

“About half an hour? I’ll ring twice and hang up, you can just come down and let me in.”

I hung up, about to head to the front when the Halloween Theme began playing again. I glanced at the Caller ID, expecting Raven. It was Clairissa!

“Hey baby, whatcha doin’? I’m cruisin’ down 82nd with my girl. She’s lighting my cigarettes and dialing my numbers.”

“Did you get your van?”

“No, it’s a borrowed car. The house we were crashing at was raided yesterday. Our string of luck is getting stretched tighter every day.” She told me of friends with old warrants, and how they were served at the most inconvenient of times. “The good news? We’re staying about five blocks from your house.”

“No way!” She told me the address, and sure enough. I foresee attempting to sneak girls into my room late at night. It’ll be just like old times.

I bid her good evening, since I wouldn’t be home for a few hours. I dialed Raven’s number, let it ring twice and hung up. I waited in the doorway of her hotel.

And waited. I called again, in case she hadn’t heard me. On the third try, I left a message. “Hi. I’m downstairs. Gonna let me in? Got no hair on my chinny-chin-chin…”

No answer. After a few minutes I walked a block or so away and sat on a cement wall near the train tracks. After calling twice more, I decided to give it one more try. “cough… Hello?”

“Uh, hi. Everything okay?”

“I must have fallen asleep.”

“That usually happens after I come over…”

“What time is it?”

I told her.

“Oh my gawd. I am so sorry…”

While I waited for her to come down, I watched Spacy Stacy digging through a garbage can. She took an old carton of strawberry milk, the dust from a bag of chips and a few other things out and hid them in a flower bed. I looked at my half-finished soda, and walked over to her. “Hi Stacy, want my Coke? It’s cherry and vanilla mixed, nothing else in it.”

Her eyes lit up like Christmas. “Oh thank you! Got a cigarette?”

“Sorry hon, I don’t smoke.” She recommenced digging and I saw Raven watching.

“I have such trouble sleeping, until I need to stay awake. Sorry about that.”

“Well, my lunch hour is over, gotta go!”

She gave such a funny look, I said, “I’m kidding. Let’s go upstairs.”

After using the bathroom, I called work. “Nothing much going on? Great! I’ll check in before I go.”

I spent the next couple of hours chatting with Raven, peeling tangerines and discussing the various states of our worlds. She started looking tired, and I wanted to beat the festival-closing rush on the bus. We said goodnight.

The walk to the Waterfront was nice. The clouds had parted, stars were twinkling. I poked my head into the store. Weird Steven gave me a weird look and said, “I’m fine.” I took him at his word and beat feet for the bus.

And now it’s my official Monday, even though it’s still Sunday. Tomorrow night my work week will be half over. But first I have to get there. Happy Cinco de Mayo.

Ole!

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