Tag Archives: Literature

cigarettes, bright eyes and marco

Here’s the next instalment to Checkout Chick. Click the link above to read it from the beginning.

(19)

The mystery of the missing cigarette cartons has been revealed, and hasn’t been pleasant. Exciting, yes. Pleasant, no. Mel was behind it all. Not the stealing of the cigarettes, but of discovering the culprit. Suspicious of what had occurred on mornings Monica and I opened. So Mel opened herself one morning, having worked late the previous night. Knew how many cartons there were. Called Dorothy in when there were missing cartons again.

Many, many cartons discovered in the boot of Tony’s car. House searched by police. Terrible, terrible situation. Boozer was all, ‘told you he was an arsehole.’ Not quite correct. Is a thief, not an arsehole. But have realised. Boozer’s opinion of people always correct. May not be good at pulling pants up, Boozer, but good at judging people.

We all feel a bit tainted, really, having someone like that amongst us. Angry calls to head office regarding Tony’s placement. Now head office is busy calling other stores he’s worked for. What worries me is if some poor sod like me has been sacked at other stores because they’ve taken the blame. Very easy to blame lowly checkout chick. Very easy. Is like when $200 was missing from float. First conclusion was that it must have been me, not the superior that had counted wrong. Is very telling, that is.

(20)

Bright Eyes. Is so, so gorgeous. Adore him. Think has very well moved on from normal checkout crush – crush due to boredom rather than actual attract-ability – to actual crush. Stomach does weird kind of hollow thing. Feel a little nauseas even.

Bright Eyes always comes in through my checkout. Cannot stop evaluating what he buys. He likes his milk. Cereal big help. Bought nutrigrain. Nutri-Grain masculine breakfast cereal would have been different if he’d bought Cornflakes or Special K. But Nutri-Grain. Tells me most definitely that Bright Eyes lives alone.

Also bought deodorant. Tells me he has good personal hygiene. Bought Nivea for Men. Not sure what that says about him, mind. If he’d bought Brute, could have said he was a bogan. Obviously, is not.

Again no card but cash. Doesn’t Bright Eyes know we’re in a digital age? However, today there was conversation. Not just a hello from him and ‘that’ll be eight dollars ninety’ from me.

‘How’re you doing today?’

‘Yes, um, good.’ Cripes alive. Should be me asking him how he is.

‘So. You have much on this weekend, or do you have to work?’

‘Crikey, I never work weekends.’

‘Lucky you.’ Was no bitterness but decided from polite banter he does work weekends. Ask him what he does. Ask him what he does! Was yelling this to self. Didn’t work. Couldn’t open mouth to utter the words. Is probably am because am not a hairdresser. They’re nosy to all hell. Ask many, many personal questions when in chair. Is like some special course is taken when at hairdressing school. Suspect hairdressers better at interrogation than FBI. Possibly why I stopped going to hairdressers to get colour done (premature greying). Is longer spent in chair and therefore more opportunity to pester you. Also; Paddy been out with many, many hairdressers and inevitably you end up with one who knows he’s your brother and then you get the ‘why didn’t he call?’ speech.

Despite lack of nosiness in self, Bright Eyes nosy man by nature. Or perhaps inquisitive. Or perhaps just being nice and this is normal behaviour and am so un-normal that I don’t even realise it. He said –

‘So you live in town?’

‘Yes, yes. In town. You?’

‘Yes, yes, same. Just moved.’

‘Why?’ Couldn’t help self. Town a shit hole.

Wry smile. ‘Work.’

‘Well. Hope they’re paying you lots of money.’ Transaction finished so handing over change. Bright Eyes has lovely, lovely hands. Have told you am hands obsessed? Am hands obsessed. If man has beautiful hands does not matter what face is like. Fortunately Bright Eyes had beautiful both.

He laughed at my money comment. No. Chuckled. Then kind of nodded before telling me it didn’t matter what you got paid as long as you enjoyed it.

Obviously Bright Eyes rich. Only rich people would talk such nonsense.

(21)

Marco beginning to be a bit of a problem. Have said no to him one too many times and the man has pride, after all. Mistake made by Marco was telling others he fancied me. Don’t think he ever really fancied me per say, just am most attractive fish in the tank if you know what I mean.

According to Marco my constant denials must mean one thing and one thing only – that am big fat lezzer.

Is wonderful, no, that the male species has come such a long way? In high school if you reject a man you are called frigid, in adulthood, a lesbian. As if being lesbian big terrible thing. Really shows how far we haven’t come when lesbian being used as an insult.

Have I unwillingly led Marco on in anyway? I don’t think I have, really, but am not always that aware of own behaviour. Did go round to his house once, early on. This before he was openly talking about his fully-sick subwoofers. Remember sitting in shed with can of coke and feeling that whole situation quite juvenile. Not at all asked into the house. Then old bandy-legged woman with jet black hair, thick gold-hooped earrings and an apron waddled into shed, caught sight of me and started screeching in Italian. Caught the word ‘putana’ in the mix of words, knew well what that meant. Hadn’t known Marco still lived at home. Hadn’t known he was in one of those Italian families.

I’ll tell you the type. Grew up in an Italian community so know the story well. The boys live at home with their mother who does everything for them. They sleep around but are never satisfied with women because what they really want is someone like their mother who does everything for them and modern girls just aren’t like that. In turn Italian mother refers to all women – particularly ‘Australiaans’ (ie, non-Italians) as sluts because their greatest fear is their little prince being taken away from them. This is because, more often than not, their own husbands barely talk to them as their wives never lived up to their own mothers. Their sons are all those Italian women have.

Daughters of Italian households are expected to be virgins at marriage and aren’t allowed to move out of home until their wedding day. These girls will often settle for pretty much anyone just to get out of the house or spend their lives playing the virgin while being the biggest slut in the world.

Is madness to get involved in this kind of thing either way. May have settled for a bit of fun with Marco, but being presented with his family life like that had me thinking twice. His mum still glares at me whenever she comes in to do her shopping. Scrutinises everything I do. Change I give her, items I scan. Simply because she saw me alone with her precious Marco.

If it wasn’t for Paddy I’d tell her (if she could understand English that is) that her little family isn’t so precious after all. That her daughter, Pia, shouldn’t have worn white at her elaborate wedding (four hundred guests at a function centre in the city) because Pia was something of a putana herself, sleeping with Paddy right up until her kitchen party.

If there’s one thing I hate in life is hypocrites.

Marco will continue to be bane of my existence until he finds another poor sod to stroke his ego. Hope it happens soon as can’t be bothered with the drama of it all.

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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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