Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
When we last left our hero- by which I mean me- he was in a U-Haul truck being driven by his increasingly frantic co-worker Max.
Max had been so stunned to learn of my continued virginity that he briefly lost control of the vehicle.
We rejoin the story as the truck rejoins the road....
Max said, “But you’re nineteen!”
“Yeah that’s true,” I replied.
“Jesus man, I was getting to third base with the babysitter when I was eleven,” Max banged on the dashboard for emphasis.
“Yes!” He insisted, “How can you not be getting some? Aren’t there any girls where you live?”
“Yeah there are plenty.”
“Then why don’t you nail one of them?”
“Because they know me?”
“Come on! Come on!” For a moment I wasn’t sure if he was yelling at me or at the car full of terrified old ladies trying desperately to get out of our way, “You mean to tell me there aren’t any girls with bad reputations or lonely housewives where you live?”
“I… I… I don’t know what to say to that.”
“Back when I was like fourteen there was this girl with some kind of learning problem, her brain was like in sixth grade but her boobs were like right out to here-”
“FOR GOD’S SAKE KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL!!”
Max did so but he gave me a twitchy smile, “Al, its got power steering calm down.”
“Oh, but still keep those hands at three and nine o’clock.”
“Sure,” he said. “Now what were we talking about?”
“How you came to accept Christ as your personal savior?” I suggested.
“What are you talking about?” his laugh was a cackle. “Oh yeah I was talking about this girl. I mean she wasn’t quite retarded but she sure as Hell wasn’t going to get on Jeopardy, you know what I mean?”
“I’ll take uncomfortable conversations for a hundred dollars Alex?”
“Funny. Athena’s right you are a funny guy,” he said. “A little creepy but funny… So this girl always wanted the attention of the older boys like me, we all felt her up at least once but I decided to take pity on her and give her a poke.”
“A poke…” I wondered if I was going to have to register as a sex offender just for hearing this story.
“Yeah so I gave her a poke but when I bragged about it to my friends they all started making fun of me because she had these yellow teeth. We used to call her ‘Ginger Vitis’. Funny hah?”
“Hah… ha.” I glanced to the roadside watching it speed by and wondered if the story could get worse.
“Long story short there was a huge scandal and her family had to leave town,” he shook his head ruefully. “Good times, good times.”
It took me a few moments to clear my head of the discordant images he had raised before I could speak again, “I want to thank you for sharing that with me but I really am looking for something more than just getting off. I want love, real love.”
“Oh man,” he said. “You’re not gonna get any hatchet cuts with an attitude like that. You gotta treat a whore like a princess and a princess like a whore. Don’t they teach you kids anything in high school?”
“Ok I know I’m going to regret this but I have to ask, what do you mean by hatchet cut?”
He laughed, “Where did you grow up? In a monastery? You know the hatchet cut...”
“No I don’t know.”
“Well when a baby is born the doctor looks checks to see if it has a pecker and if it does he goes ‘Yay it’s a boy!’. But if the doctor sees that the baby doesn’t have a pecker they doctor says ‘Hand me my hatchet!’ and he goes chop to…”
I put my hands to my ears, “Ok, ok I’ve heard enough!”
“Ok buddy. Didn’t mean to freak you out there.”
“It’s all right,” I offered him a conciliatory smile. “I guess we just have different ideas about things.”
“Yeah sure,” Max said as he simultaneously increased our speed and looked in my direction. “One thing you better know Al, if you don’t dip that wick of yours by the time you’re 21 it’s just gonna fall off.”
I learned a lot of things during my trip down misogyny highway but the only thing I really kept in mind was that I might need to have a cooler full of ice nearby on my 21st birthday.
Once Max and I reached the unmarked warehouse that was our destination we packed a bunch of cardboard boxes full of art into the U-Haul. With that done I caught my breath while Max argued with the guy who ran the place about invoices and money. Once the argument was over I had to unpack about twenty of those boxes.
Max was quiet and sullen for the ride back and I was profoundly grateful for it because just like you dear reader I’m not sure if I could take much more of his stories. In fact I had to take a long shower just after writing them down.
We dropped the U-Haul off right back where we had started in the DeSanti driveway. Paul sent me in the house to help his wife clean up the dead birds her cats had lovingly dragged into the parlor.
About two dead birds later I started hearing shouts and then the sound of Max speeding away on his motorcycle. A few moments later Paul called me outside, he didn’t sound happy.
“What the Hell are you doing to me Al?” Paul’s eyes were bulging and sweaty rivulets of glue were oozing down from his hairpiece.
“I did what you asked.”
“No you did not. I told you to make sure he was awake but not too awake.”
None of this made any sense to me, “I talked to him for the whole ride there and even though he was mad about something the whole way back I made sure he wasn’t dozing off.”
“He spent a hundred bucks of the money I gave him on coke!”
“What are you talking about? We were drinking Dr. Pepper the whole… Ohhhhh…”
“Yeah.” Paul said. “How did you miss that? Did you have a few toots too?”
“Look I can’t trust myself around Nutty Buddy bars so why the Hell would I try drugs? Besides why didn’t you say something?”
“I tapped the side of my nose!”
“How does that tell me anything? For all I know you had an itch or were asking me to throw a curve ball!” Now I was the one shouting, “You did notice I’m a nerd right? I know more about the non-canonical Klingon-Tholian wars than I do about cocaine!”