Price Breaks and Heartaches
a journal of retail and failed romance
The Fries And The Fury
It was impossible after an eight hour shift at Empire Burger not to go home feeling greasy and smelling of beef. When I got home from work the family dogs would follow me around until I took a shower. It didn’t take me long to notice something odd, a phenomenon I would wrestle with my entire year at Empire Burger but never come to understand.
After every shift I would find sesame seeds in my underwear.
I can only assure you dear reader that I had nothing to do with them getting there and I can only assume some higher, stranger force put them there so that I might understand my powerlessness.
Of course as you will see, sesame seeds weren’t the only things trying to get into my pants.
The doors had been locked, Mr. Prowse was counting down the registers, Cyril was wiping down the counters and putting up the chairs and Rick was hard at work cleaning the fry station. I on one knee counting discarded burgers. I was so busy that I didn’t even realize I was being watched.
“I like your mix tape.” A husky voice said from behind me.
“Oh hi Natalie.” I replied without looking up from counting.
“I really mean it. They way it goes from Olivia Newton John to Metallica to Dean Martin. It really makes you think.”
“Thanks.” I said giving her a smile. Natalie was a sweet natured girl. And Rick hadn’t been lying about her eyesight, she wore a pair of glasses with lenses so thick it made her eyes look like a pair of poorly poached eggs. Still though, she was pretty in her own way, and confident too.
“I have some Doctor Who videos at my place, you should come over. We could order a pizza.”
“Well I have most of the Doctor Who episodes on tape myself.” I said as I went back to counting.
“Still though,” she knelt down beside me. “We should spend some time together. We have a lot of the same interests, role playing games, the works of HP Lovecraft.”
“Yeah that’s true. I never thought of it before.”
“So come on over tonight.”
“It’s gonna be awfully late when we leave tonight. To late to really do anything I would think.”
Now, two decades later I still wake up at night screaming at how utterly clueless I was. I think sometimes that the things I found in my underpants were not sesame seeds at all but my unsown wild oats, desiccated from lack of use.
Her hand found its way to my leg, I was warm and trembling, “I’m sure we could think of something.”
“Oh. Oh!” I fell on my ass into something greasy and organic. As you can imagine I was shocked by how forward she was being and the way she was looking at me with a combination of desire and myopia. “I’m sorry. I mean I’m very flattered but you see there’s someone else…”
“Oh! Oh.” She looked crestfallen, “Well I just thought I’d ask.”
“Well it was very nice of you to ask. I mean no one has ever asked me before. Well I mean there was that Orville guy but maybe I shouldn’t talk about that.”
I watched her walk away from me and shook my head ruefully. It didn’t matter how much Natalie and I might have in common, after all she wasn’t the one, she wasn’t Lilly.
For those of you coming in late Lilly was a girl I had been smitten with since my second trip through ninth grade. We had shared a brief romance during my junior year that had been everything I imagined first love could be like but unfortunately it had ended. That was almost two years ago for me but Lilly was still the girl of my dreams and those dreams frequently involved me rescuing her from pirates and her being very, very grateful.
I had lost touch with her recently but I knew it was just a matter of time before I would take another run at her. All I needed to do was write a few more erotic poems in her honor then get them published.
Over the next few months I almost came to resent Natalie. Who was she to try and tempt me away from my long term goals? How could she not see my heart belonged to another?
They made me work on Halloween, my favorite holiday, so I showed up for work dressed as Dracula. Let me tell you folks, your humble author looks damn good in a cape, even now.
The only other person to show up in costume was Natalie and she had shown up dressed like Wonder Woman. I have to give her credit, you could tell she was nervous to be dressed so provocatively but she did her best to vamp it up for me. Sadly however she had decided to forgo her glasses in an attempt to stay true to her character and ended up more often than not vamping up for my reflection in the metal door of the ice machine.