Fiddling While Rome Burns

January 27, 2010 at 1:13 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

“Well, aren’t you just a big fuckin’ ray of sunshine!”

Dr T was exposing his sarcastic side, but yes, yes I was a bit of rainbow burst…

The work week is coming to an end. The sun is out. There’s been a dark cloud following me around lately, that uneasy feeling of doom and gloom. I try to put on a happy face, but a customer asked me the other night, “Why you look so mad?”

Resisting the urge to yell at his hood-rat ass, I said, “It’s been a nonstop parade of idiots today. Enjoy your gummy sharks.” I said it in a way that ended the conversation.

When he returned around midnight, he was unsure whether to enter. “You still here?” Another genius question…

“Last time I looked. They’ll let me out eventually.” I sold him another lottery ticket, and we parted amicably.

Morale has been low at work. Business is down, and when Master P isn’t rolling in dough and off on a junket to Brazil things get worrisome. Changes won’t affect me directly, but some of my co-workers have added duties. Others shirk theirs with the same gusto that Grinder shows when berating a shoplifter.

Swaggart comes to mind.

As I took over the register for my shift, co-workers wandered in. Dr T was doing his end-of-shift duties, Whitney was sitting on a milk crate next to me, eating pizza and updating me on top secret clown business. I organized my work space, and set up the two milk crates I use to rest my knee between customers and bursts of activity. As we chatted good-naturedly, Swaggart came into the store with one of the sales reps.

Swaggart has illusions of grandeur. He’s been with the company about a year. He knows everything, he told me so. (“I don’t need the internet. I already know everything.” He meant it.) Dr T is always warning him to be careful: “You’re gonna break your arm patting yourself on the back so hard.” Even Tilly the Hon, who loves everybody, quipped that his job description must be standing outside smoking, drinking coffee and annoying the sales reps. He is good at that.

I have authority issues, specifically with people who have no authority trying to boss me around. Ask nicely and I will do my best to accommodate, but tell me to do something and watch the hackles rise! It’s even worse when the person doing the ordering is an idiot.

“Gimme one of your milk crates!” Swaggart demanded.

“I’m using them.” A subtle suggestion to go look around and find your own.

“I just need it for five minutes. I’m not trying to disrupt your lifestyle!” He said it with much snark.

I handed it to him, and he muttered something derogatory as he stepped away. Stifling my first instinct, (to step over Whitney and punch Swaggart in the fucking head) I flipped him off. Things got chilly in a hurry. He put the milk crate on the ground and stood on it, making sure to wipe his feet all over the spot where I sit.

“Would you like a minute?” Whitney is perceptive, especially when the temperature in the room drops so quickly.

“Yes I would.”

I logged off and went to the bathroom, found the other hidden milk crate and washed it off. I replaced the one Swaggart was using. He walked over and put the dirty one on the counter. “Where do you want this one, then?”

I just gave him a blank look, and as he stepped away I muttered lowly, “You could stick it up your ass. It’s big enough and square enough…” He didn’t hear me, but Whitney did.

Swaggart left without spending the typical thirty minutes regaling me with details of the five minutes work he just did. Buh-bye!

See, the day is getting better already.

The herd thinned eventually, and it was just Dr T and I. Still grouchy, I asked him to watch the till for a minute.

I walked around the corner to the hipster biker bar, where my favorite local bartender, Melony, was working. She’s a first-class flirt, a bubbly personality, and gorgeous. (She’s also married to a very nice man. Dammit.) I pulled out a $10 bill, and bought a St Patrick’s Day Raffle ticket.

“Okay, baby, here we go!” She printed the ticket, and gave it her ritual blessing: She kissed it, touched it to both breasts, then rubbed it on the front of her coochie. YES! *That* is one lucky ticket.

I looked at the numbers. The last three were 531, the last day I drank. This called for a notification. I pulled out my phone, sat at the bar and texted Clairissa: “Lucky lotto tix mark last day I drank, w/ you. I’m hiding it behind your picture for good luck. You home yet? I miss u.”

I left the bar, wandering down the sidewalk on my way back to work. I’ve been to both of the nearby bars in the last few days, raising eyebrows from the locals. No, I’m not sneaking an eyeopener. I’m buying a dream. For ten bucks, until St Paddy’s Day there’s a good chance I may be a millionaire. I’ll have it spent ten times before the drawing…

I jumped as my text-message alert went off. Dr T always smiles when I twitch and yell “Nipple ring!” I pulled out my phone. It was Clairissa. “Hey baby. Pick a time and come over. Shop ready, life good.” We texted back and forth, and I have a date with the world’s greatest barber.

Even KUFO, which I’ve been holding in contempt lately, managed to do one thing right. I got to hear Faith No More’s “Epic”. Of course, the next song was Linkin Park, so I switched to the Charlie Channel. Rick Derringer’s Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo! It was my favorite song when I was thirteen. Spirits ascend!

And now, I have one more shift before the fun begins anew. I’m hoping any business Swaggart has at the store is over and done by the time I get there. My fuck-you finger has a hair-trigger these days…


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