Price Breaks And Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Al And Tallulah’s Wild Ride
The concert had left me with ringing ears, a wildly overpriced t-shirt that would disintegrate after two washings and some great memories. I suppose that’s what your early twenties are; memories in progress, moments you can look back on with fondness when you’re middle aged and waiting for the latest in a never-ending sequence of invasive medical procedures to begin.
My Mom and Dad had always told me that someday I would look back at high school as my glory days but even then I knew better. Those five years had been nothing more than a series of physical trials, emotional setbacks and crushing humiliations. There are plenty of folks I treasure from that time of my life and plenty of moments I can look back on and maybe, just maybe, smile about.
But glory days? Not a chance. As far as my twenty year old self was concerned these were my glory days. I had my best girl, my own car and completely unrealistic hopes and dreams.
And what more could a guy want?
“...and what more could a guy want?” I said.
The customer glared at me in disbelief, “Look, will you just tell me where the three hole punches are?”
“Oh. Sure,” I blushed, “aisle five.”
Our corporate overlords had decided that all Paper Shredder stores would now have a software section. The idea was that this, along with our copy center, office supplies, party supplies and books would make us the destination of choice for well heeled consumers throughout the capital district. All this bold plan managed to do was make us the number one source for kids looking to shoplift copies of Zork.
I found the computer games fascinating but I had no patience or money for them. All my friends told me that I should invest in a AMIGA but I was still trying to master the intricacies of the Colecovison.
There was an interdepartmental phone in the heart of the book department. I used it to dial the copy center’s extension and the minute Tallulah picked up I began reading to her from a lurid romance novel, “Lance pulled Audrey closer and kissed her so hard that she was left gasping for breath. He pulled at her nightgown, loosening it so it pooled at her feet. The candlelight dappled across her skin, he reached out to cup the soft curve of her breast. Her nipples burned with…”
“Albert!” She giggled, “What are you doing?”
“Just reading to you a spicy selection from one of our many bodice rippers.”
“Oh my,” she said, “but they can’t say we aren’t familiarizing ourselves with our products.”
“You know I should totally write one of these,” I said, “I wonder what an Al Bruno love story would be like.”
“Knowing you it would involve a redhead and a body count.”
“Spoken like a true fan.”
The copy center bell rang signaling that it was time for Tallulah and I try to and pretend to work for a while at least. I stocked shelves and helped customers but me heart and mind were elsewhere. Was my woman going to head straight home from work tonight or would we have the chance to spend some quality time together?
Finally boredom and my libido got the better of me and it was back to phone and the romance novel. I called the copy center and quickly picked up where I had left off, “She lay back on the bed, naked and quivering. She opened herself to him and gazed down at the insistent...”
“What the Hell are you doing Al?” Ms Cooper asked.
“Oh! Uhm…” I wanted to crawl under and end cap and die, “Is Tallulah there?”
“You two need to give it a rest.”
“Why whatever do you mean?”
Ms Cooper put me on hold and Tallulah picked up a moment later, “What did you say to her? She looked flushed.”
I sighed, “Let’s just say I was a few seconds away from describing the insistent throbbing of Lance’s desire.”
“That would have been awkward,” she said.
“And how.” I sat down on the floor beside the microfiche machine, in fifteen minutes I had to run the floor machine down the aisles. I wondered to myself how much property damage I would cause this time.
“So…” Her voice became a purr, “What are your plans for tonight.”
“I thought we might go someplace private and talk.” I said.
“Oh? Really? And what might we talk about?”
“The union of our bodies? The sweet friction of our lovemaking? The... the...” My horny chuckle dwindled when I realized there was a customer standing before me looking for a price check on a King James Bible.