The Territories

July 15, 2016 at 11:15 am (Cussed Dumbers)

"You're fired!"

“You’re fired!”

Every now and again Master P likes to do what he calls “stirring the pot.” (To which the employees yell, “Leave our pot alone!”) Basically he moves everyone a quarter-turn. It gives people perspective on what they put other people through.

Mrs Brady has moved up quickly in the organization, attaining full-time status and a position next to management. With that comes responsibility, which she takes seriously. I like Mrs Brady, we work well together, but I hate it when she bosses me around. A gentle education is in order.

When I stopped by for coffee at the Nightclub Store, Mrs Brady was working the register. She’s almost exclusively been working at the Waterfront Store, with occasional emergency reliefs at the Mothership. She’s competent, easy-going to a point, and not hard to look at. The past few weeks we would work together at the Waterfront on freight day. We team well.

It seemed unlikely that we would be butting heads…

“I left you a note in your space,” said Mrs Brady. “Can you get rid of any newspapers you’re not reading? We are reorganizing the back room, and need your spot.”

Happy-go-lucky me frosted over, then felt inner burn. I went into the office, looked at my 2X3 foot area. It had a shopping bag full of old Busted! Magazines, as well as old Mercurys and Willy Weeks that I’d had blurbs published in. (I, Anonymous has been me more than once, and I have a 2-3 year collection of Mercury valentines. Not stuff I want to just throw away.) That, my OJ Simpson hoodie, (USC!) a cane and a couple umbrellas, that’s my stash. How is this in the way?

I went back out front. “I have permission to keep a few things back there. It’s clothing, it’s–”

Mrs Brady interrupted me. “I’m not going to throw any of your stuff away. But I been told by Grinder to clean the back room, and I need this job. If he tells me to do something, I’m going to do it.”

“Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but this is Southie’s store, and he’s the one that gave me permission and okayed the spot. If Grinder bitches about my spot to you, send him to me and we will go talk to Southie. You won’t get into trouble. The last time they ‘needed that spot’ they put one case of Peace Tea there, and there it sat for two months until I put it on the shelf. At which time I moved my stuff back.”

By now the poor woman was almost in tears. I repeatedly explained that I wasn’t mad at her, but every six months I have to defend some simple practice that gets me through the night. Milk crates? I had to get a doctor’s note to get Grinder to back off those. Calling me Checkerboard Ass, hiding them in stores, picking them up on his off time and driving them to a storage space in Gresham. Finally Master P told him to leave me alone.

Southie walked up at that point. “She’s been doing a remarkable job cleaning up around here. The store needed it.”

Mrs Brady had to ring up a customer. I sidled up to Southie. “The office looks great, but can you find anything? Where’s all the office supplies that were on the desk?”

Southie didn’t speak, he just grinned that ‘whatchagonnado’ smile we get from working at Master P’s. Shit is ridiculous, and all we can do is stand there, grin, and bear it.

I explained to Mrs Brady that I wasn’t mad at her, she was doing what she’s told. But systems were already in place for what applied to me, and she told me, “I’m not even going to mess with that corner then. I don’t want to go through your stuff.”

At least I didn’t make her cry. It was close, though.

By the time I’d chugged 24 oz of iced coffee, we had made peace and were lovey-dovey again. I explained that we have enough trouble dealing with the public, which has been shitty of late, and attacks from within only make life harder. She understood and agreed. All is well.

Today when I stop by the Waterfront Store to grab my work shirt, I’ll pick up my shopping bag full of newspapers and return them to my cubbyhole. I will be working with Mrs Brady until 5 PM. I’m going in wearing kid gloves, because she’s a nice woman and means well.

But my kid gloves can turn into boxing gloves in the blink of an eye. It’s Friday night and I’m ready to scrap.

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