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Here’s the next instalment of Checkout Chick. Click on the link to read what’s happened so far…

 

(26)

Cripes Alive. Always comes a time when you find out something about bloke you fancy that suddenly makes him seem less fanciable. Happened today with Bright Eyes. Knew he was too good to be true, men that good looking have to have something wrong. Was happy to settle with bad fashion sense and perhaps even boring personality when it came to Bright Eyes. Like Kimi Raikkonen. Handsome man, Kimi, but when he starts talking in post-race interviews you just want to shoot yourself to stop hearing his dreary monotone voice.

Shame, really. About Bright Eyes, not Kimi, but shame about him, too. Shame about Bright Eyes because before his revelation there’d been this desire-ridden moment where he’d touched me and had been close enough for me to smell him and everything about him had been utterly delicious.

Slow day; stock return. Mondays always slow days and thus hardly any staff on grocery. Returning can of peas which of course had to be on top shelf. Cannot reach top shelf and couldn’t be arsed going to grab the step. So stood on bottom shelf and half on bottom shelf and half climbed my way up to place peas back when voice very close behind said, ‘here, let me,’ and hand was placed on back, peas taken from grasp and put onto shelf that was having trouble reaching anyhow.

Slowly stepped backward, hand still on back and kind of guiding me downwards. On flat ground spun around to see blue (green?) eyes of Bright Eyes looming down at me. Cripes – so gorgeous. Noticed different things. That lips quite full. That nose is perfectly triangular. That ears jut out just a little bit but what the hell does that matter?

Barely managed, ‘thank you.’

‘You’re welcome,’ was his reply. Then said, ‘you not on checkout today?’

Hope against hope, think he may have been disappointed by this. ‘Oh no, am. Just returning some items.’

Hope against hope, he smiled at this. He said, actually said, ‘missed you last week. On leave? Was served by rather slow girl-‘

‘Slow Sarah. I apologise. Girl needs a cattle prod up her arse.’

He raised eyebrows at this. So said, ‘ah, country term. You’re from the city, yes? Cattle prod would speed her up because-‘

‘Oh, I get the picture.’

Felt like comedian losing his audience. Asked if he was done with his shop, would take him through myself. Bright Eyes just needed some baked beans and then we were on way.

Not sure why, but felt much better, much more comfortable when there was a checkout between us. Like was in control. Wasn’t. Bright Eyes so dazzling.

‘Found out on the weekend you’re Paddy’s sister.’

Comment both pleased and terrified me. Pleased because it meant that Bright Eyes was talking about me outside of the supermarket. Very pleasing. Terrified because he knew Paddy. Knew how? Paddy lovely, lovely man. Lovely brother. But sometimes Paddy has problems. Sometimes Paddy not so lovely. Didn’t know which Paddy Bight Eyes knew. The lovely or not so lovely? If the latter than may very well be judged by association. Not good.

‘Not hard to tell,’ I said. ‘Look very similar, Paddy and me.’

‘Not that similar. You’re far more attractive. But don’t tell Paddy I said that.’ Smile.

Wanted. To. Die. Settled for, ‘ha, ha, ha, ha.’

Then the most terrible news. ‘Tells me you helped out a bit with his work at the church.’

Oh, crap. Utter crap. So that’s how Bright Eyes knew Paddy. At other world I have no part in. Paddy’s other life. Bright Eyes was a fecking Catholic. ‘You know Paddy from church?’ Please don’t let it be so, please don’t let it be so.

‘Yeah, of course, but-‘

Not interested. No longer interested. ‘That’ll be fifteen dollars seventy five.’

Bright Eyes taken back with abrupt end of conversation. Dam it all, was so close, too. He said I was attractive, did he not? Actually said I was more attractive than Paddy. But Paddy attractive man, which must mean that am not complete minger. Bet Bright Eyes thought, being Paddy’s sister, obviously Catholic myself; these things often go in families. Bright Eyes thought he’d found himself a good Catholic Girl. How wrong he could be! No Catholic would want to touch the likes of me with a ten-foot staff, or sceptre or whatever the hell it is the priest carries into mass with him.

Bright Eyes suddenly not so bright. Eyes too blue, if you know what I mean. Too good looking. Yes, is possible. Like Miranda Kerr. Look at her long enough and you realise she’s a little odd-looking. Eyes too far apart. Dimples too deep. Mouth too large.

In a perfect world Bright Eyes wouldn’t be Catholic and I’d have rampant sweat-enducing sex with him before discovering something that made him unattractive. Thing I’ve learnt, though. World very much not perfect place.

 

 

(27)

Driving along and saw tall man walking along side of road. Bright Eyes. Not in normal dress. Jeans and hoodie. Still incredibly gorgeous. Have decided – can’t hurt to perve, right? Know deep down nothing would happened anyhow so Catholicness null and void. Bright Eyes good looking older man. I, average-looking checkout chick. Was never going to be

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helping out paddy

Here’s the next instalment so far. Click on the link above to read the story so far

 

Checkout Chick is about to get interesting… be sure to follow the Giorge Thomas blog to be notified when it’s updated.

 

 

(25)

Given am not working and have no interests, really, told Paddy would help him out at his work. Paddy is a carpenter. Most of it boring joinery work but Paddy talented man. Carves wood beautifully. Most precious thing I own in the world is a wooden box carved out by Paddy, top of which inlaid with ornate roses. Paddy very good with furniture. One of a kind table and chairs and such like. Have tried to convince him over the years that he should have furniture store. Could sell pieces for thousands. Paddy scared, though. Not willing to take that step. Understand completely but shits me to tears, really. Have no talent myself so am envious and feel is bit of a waste to do nothing with it.

Should have asked Paddy where he was working before tagging along. Rookie mistake, really. Pulled up ute to church. Catholic church.

‘Christ, Paddy.’

‘Yes, Jesus Christ. Now don’t blaspheme when we’re in there, for Pete’s sake.’

‘Will burn if walk in there, Paddy,’ I told him. Had already begun to break out in sweats. ‘Not so good when you’re working with wood.’

‘Don’t be childish.’ Paddy already out of cab. Walking toward front doors. Had keys!

‘They give you keys?’ I yell out at him.

‘Of course they’ve given me keys. Have to do work, don’t I?’ Paddy coming back to start unloading shirting boards from ute.

Cripes alive. Am only atheist in entire family of devout Irish Catholics. Mum and Dad very devout which is why they and my other brothers don’t speak to me. This religious organisation and its fear and its rules is what fractured my life and family. Paddy devout, yes. Goes to mass every Sunday. Yet Paddy open-minded man and has the very strong belief that God is above all laws and restrictions of any religious organisation. Believes that God would and has forgiven me. That God understands. That I shouldn’t shut him out simply because a large majority of the church believe me to be wrong. But cannot accept that. Cannot have belief in something that has allowed such misery in my life. Paddy says it’s a test. I say a loving God would not test his faithful. Paddy and I agree to disagree on this subject. His faith has grounded him and helps him. He doesn’t have a go at me for turning my back on God. If I think about it, I guess Paddy acts in the way that Jesus did. Forgiving and loving to all. Trouble is, most of God’s people are unforgiving, judgmental and generally vicious. In other words; hateful. Is unbelievable paradox, no?

When Paddy and I walk through Church doors carrying long planks of wood – skirting boards – I didn’t immediately combust. Paddy made me stop while he crossed himself with holy water.

‘Are you going to do that every time we walk in?’ I asked. Would be a long day if that is the case.

‘No, you eejit,’ Paddy said. Being of Irish parentage we have always pronounced idiot the Irish way – eejit. Still. Is idiot or its Irish translation something you’re allowed to say inside a church?

Once we unloaded all the skirting boards we brought in Paddy’s tools. I was to help by handing him things. Like nurse and doctor in surgery. Instead of scalpel (‘scalpel’) it was hammer (‘hammer’) and such like.

‘Should this not be blessed or some shit before pulling it in?’ I wondered. Catholics like to bless everything. New homes when you move in, new cars, new babies.

‘Father Michael already did it back at the workshop,’ Paddy said.

‘Who the heck’s Father Michael? Thought priest here was Father Boog or some shit.’

Paddy shook his head. ‘I told you we’ve a new priest, Den. You never listen. He’s a nice bloke, too. You’d like him.’

Hate when people like that. You’ll like him, you’ll like her, when I’ve never even met them. Told Paddy so. ‘And besides,’ I continued, ‘you can’t judge a bloke you’ve only seen up on the pulpit.’

Paddy’s eye-rolling almost caused him to lose a thumb – not watching where his hammer was going. ‘See him outside of Church, Denni.’

‘Really? Where?’

‘Drinks at pub.’

‘He allowed to go to pub them?’

‘Cripes, Den. He’s Catholic, not Muslim. Yes, he goes to pub. And we play golf together. But he’s too good. Am going to have to stop playing with him. Was thinking, actually, that we should have him ’round for dinner.’

‘We will not.’ Was outraged.

‘He’s a bloke.’

‘He’s a priest. Am not having sold old dribbling man sitting in my house-‘

‘My house.’

‘All right, your house, our home, telling me how to live my life-‘

‘He’d never do that.’

‘He would. Is his job as a priest to tell others how to live their life.’

‘Well Michael wouldn’t. And he’s not old and dribbling. Not that it matters.’

No use trying to argue with Paddy when he’s angry, and could see the anger starting to creep in. Ears go red. Nothing else, just the ears. Lucky bastard. With me is whole face.

Quite uneasy being in the church. Jesus eyes. Watching me everywhere. Judging me. Swear they move, really. Weird being back in a church, mind. Yes, brought back memories, and yes, some of them were quite nice. Scent of incense took me back to childhood, particularly Christmas and midnight mass. Only time of the year we’d be allowed to stay up so late. We’d all squeeze into the church, for once there’d be no arguments as Mum and Dad never dared to whilst in God’s house. Afterwards we’d drive home, past all the houses with their Christmas lights still on, and Paddy and I’d be searching the skies for Santa. Good memories. Nice memories. The whole of childhood should be like that, really. Not just one day a year.

Paddy had finished one side of the church when heard door open and close in vestibule. Heard voice call out, ‘Have brought you beer, Paddy. Thought you’d be thirsty.’

Cripes alive. Was priest. Father Michael. Paddy all; oh good, you can meet him. I all; fuck, no, bye, bye. Did not want situation where was standing face to face with priest in church with him wondering why had never been to church. Far too uncomfortable. Ran. Yes, ran. Is running in church sacrilegious? Just another sin, I guess.

Not to know. Anyhow, got right bollocking from Paddy when he got home.

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another bit of checkout chick…

Here’s the next instalment of Checkout Chick. Click the link above to read the full story so far.

 

(22)

Checkout Chicks are like builders (own homes never finished). Cannot abide grocery shopping. Wonder if prostitutes have similar problem – come home from night of sex, takes one look at boyfriend and says, no thank you, have been fucking all day. Particularly hate shopping at work. If you’re in the store you’re on call. Once when doing weekly shop and heard own name being called over PA. ‘Denni, please open checkout two. Denni.’ Mass of customers in queues, vast queues, looking around to see where this so-called Denni was. Lazy, they’re thinking. We’re standing around waiting to be served and she’s not at her checkout where she should always be. I appear, carting trolley. ‘Am finished. No longer working.’ Sue, second in charge, didn’t seem to care. Nor did customers. I cared. Had chocolate chip ice cream in my trolley. Only reason that lines were so long is because Slow Sarah was on duty. Have tried to tell Mel a number of times – when you roster Slow Sarah onto a shift you need an extra person.

Could go to other supermarket in town, of course, but that would be silly. No discount there. And what’s the point of working on checkout unless you can get a ten percent discount? No point, no point at all.

Have banned Paddy from shopping expeditions. He’s too slow. Wants to look at everything. Is especially interested in items with a reduced-to-clear sticker. Is odd because he’ll then go and spend five dollars extra on a particular box of muesli. We also argue on milk – Paddy thinks is okay to by home brand yet I always refuse. Know for a fact (as many of them are customers) that Dairy Farmers (brand) pay dairy farmers (farmers) more for milk than anyone else. Support those who support the community, I say. Also we argue over milk size. For whatever reason I cannot poor milk from a two litre bottle. When making nightly after-dinner drinks (tea or hot chocolate for Paddy, instant coffee for me) there is much swearing from kitchen as milk is spilled. What is wrong with cartons anyway? Simple ingenious device. Why mess with it? Plus spout offers perfect pouring solution.

We also have difference of opinion on paper towels (me expensive doesn’t-break-up-when-wet Handy Ultra variety and Paddy, home brand) as well as toilet paper. We both agree on the thick but soft sturdy stuff but Paddy likes the scented variety where as I am adamant that perfumes and such like are not good for my lady bits.

Often shopping is undertaken on Sunday’s when Paddy is at church. he complains about non-involvement before realising he has bacon and a full packet of Tim Tams in the fridge and reluctantly agrees that I’d done an okay job on the task.

Question – what did we do as a nation before Tim Tams? Am sure they’re not always been around – yes? What other chocolate-filled and chocolate-coated biscuits satisfied us beforehand? For the life of me cannot think of one. Don’t think there’s ever been an occasion when there wasn’t Tim Tams in the pantry.

 

(23)

Am on leave. No checkout chicking for me. Not going away or anything, and is just for a week. Is forced on me. Have got too much holiday pay. Suppose big-wigs in head office have an alarm that goes off once someone reaches a certain point. Red flashing lights and all. Fear is that if I quit there’s a lot of jingle they have to pay out to me. Would rather it not happen. Am not going to be that person. That person. The poor sod who has no life outside of the supermarket and therefore goes into work to chat to everyone. No. Hate the place. Hate my job. Why would I want to go there?

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fully-sick subwoofer

This is the next instalment of Checkout Chick. For the full story so far, click on the Checkout Chick link in the menu.

 

(13) FULLY-SICK SUBWOOFER

Think am being stalked. Not as glamorous as I imagined. Paddy and I at home watching Bones. Am not sure what is sadder, really. That am thirty year old woman still living with her brother or that I watch Bones. have become slightly obsessed with it after initially hating the show. That’s what prolonged exposure does to you. Paddy and I would watch Friends, which we like, and Bones always follows Friends. Every night on triple one Hits. Neither of us could be arsed changing channel and so now quite like Bones. I think I like it as have always had a thing for nerdy types.

Anyway, concentrating on Bones quite difficult as V8 sounding vehicle kept driving up and down road, massive exhaust, base thump, thump, thumping as it went. Paddy started making jokes about amount of petrol it consuming.

‘Ten dollars, twenty dollars, thirty-‘ until sound of vehicle died down and Paddy deduced he’d gone off to the servo. It concerned us both that someone on our street may own this vehicle. That the windows would be rattling every night. Memory of Harley Man still fresh in our minds. Must have been a shift worker, Harley Man – would arrive home at two in the morning, waking us both, house shaking as if was an earthquake. Thankfully Harley man got busted for drugs and motorbike confiscated. Thank goodness as am not very good with broken sleep. Do not need repeat of that.

Get into work next morning (this morning) and Marco from Fruit and Veg declared himself the culprit.

‘Did’ja here me last night, Denni? Cruising past your house all night. Why didn’t chya come out?’

Weird sense of romance, Marco. ‘That was you rattling the windows?’

‘Yeah, my fully-sick subwoofer.’

‘Is that the technical term?’ Realised Marco’s life sadder than mine. But then, I at least have variety in my job. He only deals with fruits and vegetables and the odd fungus.

‘Why didn’chya come out?’

Bewildered. Driving of booming vehicle some antiquated ritual to entice me out of home. Perhaps is like peacock thrusting it’s feather in face of prospective mate. Unfortunately for Marco, am not turned on by V8 motor vehicles, or, actually, any motor vehicle. Probably makes me thoroughly un-Australian.

Marco not deterred. Wants to take me on ‘cruise’ in ‘hotted up V8.’ Is father’s old statesman. Disturbing thing – Marco thirty, not eighteen. Is sad, sad life he leads. Yet these are my options, really: blokes like Marco who thinks attractiveness to women comes in the form of copious amounts of hair gel, loud exhausts and fully-sick subwoofers. Really, is wonder am not still a virgin.

 

(14)

It seems that Tony is losing his luster with some of the staff. Fun loving and care free – perhaps a little too much. Apparently was MIA for three hours yesterday. Boozer swears Tony had dilated pupils and blood shot eyes on his return. Am inclined to believe Boozer. He’d certainly know the signs.

Then comes word from Rosemary that Tony was sleeping on the job. Rosemary is the money lady. Spends day locked up in vault-like room counting the takings. Many don’t believe her statement as Rosemary is viewed as bitch. Once accused me of being $200 short in till. Spent week agonising about what ridiculous mistake I must have made to be so much out. Then Rosemary tells me that all was well, she’d simply mislaid the $200. No apologies. Mislaid where, I tell you? Suspect that she herself must have fallen asleep in box-like room. I mean – who would know? No one else allowed in the vault with her.

Also – embarrassingly – Tony spent ten minutes at checkout of one of the casuals trying to withdraw cash. His girlfriend, only about twenty, I mean, is disgusting, was waiting anxiously beside him. Was like auction in reverse, Monica said. Started reverse bidding at 400. No luck. (Monica was pleased. Had just started shift and didn’t even have four hundred cash). Tried $300. Not enough. Tried $200. Not enough. Walked away with $50 in the end which he handed to girlfriend. Sulking, she was.

‘Yeah, ’cause that’s barely enough for one hit,’ Mel said.

‘You what?’ I asked. Monica and I looking at her blankly. Fuck we’re naive.

‘Meth addict,’ Mel explained.

Is disturbing what she knows, really.

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checkout chick continued…

**** Here’s the next instalment for Checkout Chick. Denni writes about an interaction with a customer that touches her deeply. Remember; for the full story head to Checkout Chick link above****

 

(6)

Cripes alive. Today was just terrible. In a good kind of way. One of those times when you have to pretend you need the loo to go off and have a good cry.

Quiet day. Very quiet. had gone over to deli to drop off some perishables left behind at checkout. Cassie – useless bitch that she is – serving this old man who had almost empty trolley before him and a many-times folded shopping list in his sun-spotted, veiny hands.

‘Yes, can I please have four kilos of shaved virginian ham.’

Stopped me in my tracks. Four kilos. Four kilos? Unlikely, no? Yes. Unlikely. Cassie, meanwhile, just nodded at him and started shoveling handfuls of shaved ham into a bag

Sidled up to man. ‘Ah, excuse me sir?’

‘Yes?’

God, face was terrible. Saddest face I’ve ever seen. Weary. Woe-begotten. ‘Are you sure you want four kilos? Is just, that’s an awful lot of ham, sir.’

Cassie stopped shoveling; didn’t want to do any work she didn’t have to. Lazy bitch.

Terrible, terrible. Man started shaking his head and then burst into tears – actually cried. Held face in hands and said, ‘I Don’t know, I don’t know.’

Cassie gave me a look which plainly said “what a loser”. Wanted to hit her. Glared in return.

‘Sir?’

He looked up at me with protuberant blue eyes – all soul gone out of them. ‘My wife used to do the shopping. She died. I’ve no idea. I have a list-‘ he waved the list at me in a defeated way.

Poor, poor fucker. Wanted to cry with him. He took out a handkerchief and dabbed his eyes and blew his nose.

‘Right,’ I said to him. Knew what this man needed was help, but also needed strength. Would have been a man of the war, this man. Stiff upper lip and all that. ‘This ham for your sandwiches, sir? And are you shopping for whole week?’

‘Yes.’ Pitiful. Pitiful.

‘Okay. Let’s start with three hundred grams, yeah? If you have some left over at the end of the week you know it’s too much, if you run out you know it’s not enough.’

‘Yes, okay then.’

I looked at Cassie who nodded and began taking bits of ham out of the bag to match three hundred grams.

Was slow day, yes, but would have done this during thronging Saturday afternoon rush (bah! haven’t worked a Saturday in five years!) Wanted to help this poor, poor man. As we shopped, we talked. His wife had a stroke and died very suddenly. She had taken care of the house, he the money. The fault of old, traditional relationships. He now with no clue how much ham to buy and had he been the one to die, she’d have no idea how to pay for electricity bill.

The man couldn’t cook, so directed him to microwave meals. He’d put sausages on his list and I imagined him eating nothing more than sausages and ham sandwiches the rest of his life. At least with microwave meals he’d get meat, carbs and vegetables. Directed him to snap lock bags so he could divide bacon and sausages into single serves and freeze. Told him lots of tips like that. Why would he know them? His wife did everything. Stopped self short at telling him to bring me his washing, but really, poor man. If he doesn’t know how much ham to buy how is he going to work out the washing machine?

He kept stammering his thanks to me but all I could think about is this poor old man going home to an empty home without his wife and how Cassie was more than willing to bag up four kilos of ham for him without even blinking.

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