Price Breaks and Heartaches
a journal of retail and failed romance
The Fries And The Fury
My duties increased, I began working every night shift and lunch rush, snatching a few pitiful hours of sleep whenever I could.. Somehow Mr. Powell managed to make this punishing schedule work without ever having to give a drop of overtime.
I probably wouldn’t have gone for it if they hadn’t given me employee of the month status. I loved the little gold badge I got to wear. I imagined Lilly coming in, looking up to see my picture on the wall near the registers and instantly becoming overcome with desire.
While I waited for that wonderful day I adapted myself to my new sleep schedule. After about a week of this the hallucinations began. Now these weren’t full blown miniature-Elvis-is-dancing-on-the-counter style hallucinations. These were spot-something-in-the-corner-of-my-eye-that-wasn’t-there hallucinations. I became very jumpy and that combined with falling asleep in the restroom began to slow me down.
In Mr. Prowse’s defense all he did at first was grumble about my shoddy mopping and window washing, he didn’t get really mad until the night I set the fry vats on fire.
Did I mention the next building over was a gas station?
Cleaning up the spilled shortening and chemical foam took all night and we barely got open in time for the lunch rush. I barely held on to my employee of the month status
Sadly a few days later I did something that cost me my status anyway.
Stuart had a bitchin’ new Mustang, red and sleek with the price sticker still in the window. “Jealous?” he asked.
“It’s nice.” I said. Our shift had ended a few minutes ago; everyone else had said their goodbyes and were on their way home.
“Nice? Nice?” He shook his head, “I should have known you wouldn’t be able to appreciate true awesomeness.”
“It’s just a car.”
“No your crap Monte Carlo is just a car, in fact it’s barely a car.” He got in and fired up the engine, it purred to life, “You hear that? That’s power.”
“Whatever.” I headed back to my beloved yet rusty Monte Carlo, calling out “Cops love red cars. You-”
A squeal of tires drowned out my voice as Stuart did a neutral drop and peeled out of the parking lot in a cloud of burnt rubber.
I started my car, the speakers came to life filling the car with the sounds of Cher’s top 40 hits; the 8-track had been stuck in there long before I got the car but now I couldn’t turn the damn thing off. The smoke from the Mustang’s tires wafted in through my windows. Back in high school my mechanic friend Corey had warned me that neutral drops were bad for a car’s engine and I liked thinking that after a few weeks of showing off Stuart might have to tow his precious car to the scrap yard.
“Besides, what is so impressive about a neutral drop?” I said to myself, “Anyone could do it. Even me. Just put the car in neutral, gun the engine and then shift into drive.”
The parking lot was empty except for the rats that had made the garbage dumpster their home. “Why not?” I said to myself as Cher sang about gypsies, tramps and thieves, “Why not?”
I put the car in neutral and pressed down on the pedal, the Monte Carlo’s engine didn’t purr, it sounded more like it was coughing up the world’s biggest hairball. I pressed down harder on the pedal knowing that I was about to put Stuart’s pissy little car to shame.
Grinning to myself I grabbed hold of the gearshift and threw the car into reverse.
Yes reverse. My car sailed backwards into the building next door.
Did I mention we were next to a gas station?
After the police had left and the tow truck had taken my car away I had to call my mother for a ride home. When I told her what had happened she had to pull her car over to the side of the road before hysterical laughter overcame her. The one good thing about the whole disaster was that it gave her a new story to tell about me at family gatherings. Just as well really, her tale of how I had once accidentally eaten paint was getting old.
Please don’t ask.