Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Amoeba Records, Los Angeles, California, 2004

Jack's 14th Birthday trip to Amoeba Recordsphoto © 2010 Fred Rockwood | more info (via: Wylio)
Spring.

The cashier was wondering when she was going to be able to take her lunch break. Lately, she has been noticing that a red-headed girl that has only been there for a couple of weeks, a shameless trollop who is always talking (or, to be more precise, flirting) to the floor managers of the male persuasion, seems to be the first pick for lunch breaks - even when cashiers with seniority *ahem* were waiting patiently, and Hello?, they have errands to run - and is always invited to the hangouts after work. Whatever. The cashier wasn't focusing on the inequality of her not getting the big invites to the big parties at night (Whatever!), she just needed to go on break NOW. It's late afternoon, and her sister is supposed to show up soon with the money she owed her, and then she needs to dash to the bank and deposit it: Rent was due, and more importantly, her roots were starting to show, and that requires calling that salon for an appointment, which requires more cash, and it never ends, does it? She kept trying to shoot glances at her supervisor (another one ensnared by "The Red-headed Slut"), to let him know that she needed to go on break, but it seemed as if he were purposely trying to ignore her. She was about to start waving her arms, stupid bird-like, to get his attention, and if that didn't work, well, then she --

Damn, a customer was walking up to her counter, and she had to go into cashier-mode.

He was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt; he looked as if he were in his 30s, kind of tall, dark haired, and would probably be good-looking, if he weren't so unsteady on his feet. Yeah, he looked...off.

He had what-looked-like-DVD box sets under his hand — she couldn't make out what they were of (movies? TV?), but seeing them reminded her that she had recently lent her sister a Friends DVD box set, and that started to send her back to the swirly, dark scenarios that had been going through her head just a second ago. As he stepped up to the counter, she could smell a little alcohol on his breath. Come on, fella, please don't be an ass and draw this out, she thought to herself.

And then she noticed what the DVDs were: Star Trek.

You noticed that, did you? said the Boozy Customer Guy. (Did she really just say that out loud? She really needs to stop doing that.)

She tried to make the usual cashier/customer banter go quicker than usual (I mean, this old guy is in his 30s. And he's drunk at, like, three in the afternoon.) So, she just smiled at him, nodding her head as she was finishing up ringing up the purchase. She looked up at him, and told him the total, and he gave her a big smile, as if he conquered something, or had some sort of victory. It was a strange look. Not bad strange, just strange. As he was reaching for his wallet, he started to tell her that, yes, indeed, the DVDs were "Star Trek," but not the older stuff — you know, with Kirk and Spock, he said — but the newer series, The Next Generation, and that he hadn't watched all of the episodes while the show was running back in the early 90s, because at the time, he went on, he was a bit of Young Turk (whatever that means), and was always running around, and drinking (which she could believe). He went on: I was having too many relationships that ended badly, and not enough that were worth a damn. And then he said something that kind of stuck out in her mind:

I was breaking hearts so that they couldn't see that mine was all gone, he said.

It made her feel... weird. Sister. Bank. Red-headed slut: Not really at the forefront of her mind at this moment. She was here, with this Boozy Customer guy, his eyes full of winking and fun, and she couldn't resist asking him if he was still up to his old "Young Turk" tricks. He laughed, recognizing the state he was in, and how he must look to her, and kept smiling. She was putting his cash into her register, realizing that he was actually excited to buy these Star Trek DVDs, and was probably going to go right back to his place, crack open a bottle, and watch those episodes, one right after the other, deep into late night. She thought it was... strange, but not bad strange. She looked up to see her sister walking towards the counter (which surprised her- she thought her sister would be her usual late-self), and then turned to see the Boozy Customer Guy wave to her and leave. Her sister, after arriving at the counter, took a beat, and then asked:

Who was that guy?

5 comments:

  1. What a great blog!!! You have a new subscriber!

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  2. I love this. Memoir and non-fic is a particular favorite of mine. Great stuff, I'll check back often!

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