A Nice Howaya Punch

February 11, 2019 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

“Aaaand stay out…”

Over the years I’ve worked at Master P’s, I’ve bragged that I’ve been punched/punched-at by no less than four different people, and have yet to swing back. I am proud of my restraint. (Also, I know enough about fighting that a misplaced move can leave you open to even more damage, so I am strategic about my attacks.) I’ve experienced minimal damage, come off like a cool cucumber, and still walk the night with minimal fear. It’s my world.

I am now the longest-tenured cashier, and behind only Grinder and the bookkeeper in longest-employed. Expected to lead the new hires by example, I have been given fewer trainees to baptize. However, some of the managers may need a Zen Refresher Course. Lately, shit and fan have been colliding, and managers are involved. Time to show them how to navigate these choppy emotional waters…

People complain about downtown, but in my humble opinion it’s WAY more livable that it used to be. Sure, there are panhandlers everywhere. Meth-heads wandering the night, crazy-eyed and stinky, raving at anything that flickers past their field of vision. They yell and scream at the demons in their head, snapping back to the moment when a voice breaks their psychotic reverie. Most return to the moment with minimal agitation.

Some need a bit more patience.

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Fast Food Workers…

December 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

“Oh shit, here we go again.”

Beer Runs

I was ringing up an old working-dude his daily reward, three tall cans of ice tea. (Alcohol content 7%.) A young man in a winter coat with the hood pulled up eased past us, headed for the beer cooler, grabbing two large packages, a 12-pack of Pabst Smear and an 18-pack of Henry Weinhards. As he headed back toward us, I told the old working-dude, “He’s gonna run with those.”

Customers react differently; some step in and clobber the guy for me, others just kick back and watch. (Which is about all I’m authorized to do.) As the young man approached the counter, I said, “I don’t suppose you’d mind setting those down until they are paid for?”

He grinned. “Of course! I’m sorry you even have to worry about such a thing. I was just wondering which was cheaper?”

I recognized him. He was one of the line cooks at Killer Burger, and he’d had a couple. He was happy and feeling his oats.

“Nice. Thank you,” I said. “The Henry’s is a better deal. Two bucks cheaper and six more cans.”

“Since this one is the better deal, I’m going to set it right here.” He put the 18-pack on the counter. “And I’m gonna take the expensive one AND RUN WITH IT!”

He took the 12-pack of Pabst and took off running. Yelling “I’m doing a beer run!” all the way back to the cooler, where he opened it and put the Pabst away. He stopped, scratched his head. “I think I did that wrong.”

His smirk gave it away, and I couldn’t stop laughing. “Dude, your technique needs work.”

He came back to the counter, paid his $13.79, and after giving me a two-minute tutorial on how to cook the perfect burger (“Next time, seasoning!”) took off running out the door, “I’m doing a beer run!”

I hope he didn’t get tackled by Clean & Safe. He’d be the one they’d catch.

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Another Poor Boy Christmas

December 26, 2018 at 12:55 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Sweet sticky things)

Hat Tip to Hannibal

Christmas has come and gone, and not a moment too soon. The jingling of bells is jangling my nerves.

Oh, it wasn’t all bad. I found some good roadkill, saw old friends.

And then there was the Christmas Party.

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Tour of Doody

December 8, 2018 at 11:49 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

It Happens

Have you ever been downtown enjoying the Xmas tree, wandering with the Ale-festers at Pioneer Square, when nature calls?

I tell people I got my job just so I have somewhere to go to the bathroom.

Anyone spending time downtown knows a clean, comfortable, accessible bathroom is a treasure to be safeguarded with near-death-penalty consequences for anyone who causes a toilet to go away. If you go in to shoot up, don’t take a nap afterward. That’s what the park is for. Free up le jon, asshole!

Same thing with mess-makers. You’ve been locked in there for an hour, and then you emerge and hurry out of the business, casting a sidelong glance that emits guilt and shame. (Among other things.) When we go investigate why, we see that you put ten paper towels on the seat to protect your precious ass, then can’t get the whole stinky mess to flush so you leave a few friends floating at the pool. Oh well, someone gets paid to clean it up…

This is why we hate you.

But.

We don’t hate you nearly as much as those who just ‘let ‘er go’ wherever they are. Foul most foul! This is how we met the Dook of Earl.

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Those Magic Moments

August 29, 2018 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

Hall of Fame

As I approached the Pink Store, I noticed someone in a ventilator mask doing something to the front-door lock. WTF? It’s 10 PM, and union rules say… As I got closer I saw it was Mrs Brady’s husband behind the mask, with Grinder at his shoulder, supervising. Oh goody.

It was the final stop on the middle day of my three-day weekend, excepting this short shift giving lunches to the stores. I had been rolling along, smooth and sure, didn’t even have to open separate tills, just take over for whoever was working. Piece of cake! But all of a sudden I’m walking into a construction zone full of supervisor-types.

I repeat. Oh goody.

Grinder has risen! After a long bout of office work, he’s back to managing a store. When the city closed The Mothership, Master P bought an old corner store a few blocks away, in the West End. $20,000 in electrical updates later, the store has gone from rickety old bodega to somewhat snazzy snack shop. There was a lot of cleaning and updating to do, and after Southie finished dealing with the construction aspects, Grinder was brought in to pretty the place up.

Grinder is an early-bird, workwise. He gets in, gets his stuff done, and ducks out when possible, but when duty calls in the dark hours, he’s there with minimal grumbling. (The situation he’s dealing with gets plenty of grumbling, but the fact that he has to come out on his off-hours isn’t usually an issue.) He was in an exceptionally good mood this night. I figured it might have something to do with the fact that he was stuck overnight doing heavy physical labor, and the large travel-cup he was not letting go of for any reason. Pure speculation, of course…

I took over Carlito’s till, and made a few sales. Grinder and I chatted amicably; he heard tales of Dr T’s wedding and updates on all the buzz around the Nightclub Store. Igor dropped by, and it was like an employee meeting.

That’s when El Cunte walked in…

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The Overwhelming Emptiness

August 16, 2018 at 11:00 am (Cussed Dumbers)

I love the early quiet hours. At dawn, when shade covers the ground but the sky is alight with the optimism of a new day.

“Can I get a dime for this?”

I’ve always worked at night. I love the quiet and solitude of early morning, and would hate to spoil it by rushing off to work. I’d rather smoke a joint and fall back asleep for a few hours. Stoned thoughts followed by deep sleep, then wacky REM dreams before waking refreshed about 10 AM. Add caffeine to the equation, and I’m mostly ready for work.

Mostly.

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Flight of the Stewl Pigeon

June 2, 2018 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers)

A bird in the hand…

I deal with all kinds of animals at work, mostly the stinky two-legged human variety. Pitbull “service animals,” the occasional rodent, or, the most frightening, cockroaches and bedbugs. (These critters will get us moving; the last time a guy came in with a bagful of cockroaches, we badgered him out of the store forever, and I locked up and ran to Rite Aid for bug spray. WAR!)

A more common interloper, something we are almost used to?

Birds…

I’ve talked about birds before, specifically when referring to certain managers. It’s the perfect metaphor for what happens when Grinder shows up, or when a pigeon walks in.

We get pigeons, seagulls, crows and starlings wandering into the Waterfront Store. Eventually they find their way out. To the best of my knowledge, no bird has died at the Waterfront Store.

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On The First Day of Summer

May 6, 2018 at 4:20 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

Cinco de Mayo; it’s the beginning of our Xmas season.

Downtown is a constant beehive, although the past few years the sidewalk seems to roll up earlier than ever. I could take my break on 5th Avenue, sitting in plain view puffing on my one-hitter, eyeballing the occasional bus or MAX, and only see one or two shopping cart people rifling the trash for empties. That is standard from January through April. Nobody out for the hustlers to hustle.

But once May rolls around? Yeehaw!

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The Chuck Wagon To Kansas

March 28, 2018 at 3:18 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

“Get out! No! Get out.”

I say that so many times a night. Thieves, scumbags, crazies. If I see them coming through the door in time, I issue a preemptive strike. I start with a normal tone, albeit a bit loud. If I have to repeat myself, I switch to Dad-Voice and project an authoritative “HEY!” that would pierce the tones of Slayer on headphones. It usually involves an argument, “I didn’t do that!” or “That was somebody else!” Once in a while I am wrong, but not too often.

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The Mango Shitz

March 4, 2018 at 2:22 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

“Party woohoo!”

Oh, the humanity.

I deal with a lot of downtrodden types at work. I’m given a lot of latitude when it comes to who I serve. Our goal is to serve everyone (legally) and send them away happy enough that they will return to spend more money.

Returning empty bottles is a bane to every cashier. You have to stop whatever you’re doing and go dig through trash, and then pay the stinky disruptor. (It isn’t always that bad, but more often than not.) As of a couple months ago, there’s a dime deposit on damn near every drink bottle in the 8 oz-64 oz range. I love certain aspects of the new system. I redeem my own at work, and am shameless as I collect cans along the way.

But, I don’t dig in the garbage, and I don’t smell awful when I’m done. Others aren’t so blessed.

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