Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
The Creep On The Borderlands
( The following is inspired by true events and if you don't believe me make a Save VS Illusions)
“Honey I’m home!” I said as I walked in the door.
Tallulah came out of the kitchen wearing an apron over her jeans and Iron Maiden t-shirt. She had a Fresca in her hand for me and a smile on her lips. “There’s my honey!” she purred before kissing me. That kiss was lingering and soft, a promise of things to come, “How was work?”
“Busy,” I set my briefcase down, “they want more script rewrites.”
“Well, whatever you come up with I’m sure they’ll love it. After all, that’s why they made you the head writer of the American version of Doctor Who.”
Suddenly there were two voices shouting as one, “Daddy!”
The force of my two children hugging me was almost enough to tip me over. I picked them up, one in each arm, and hugged them. My daughter and son laughed, they were both six years old, fraternal twins named Preston and Pricilla. They had their mother’s red hair and my brown eyes. Pricilla asked “Did you bring us presents?”
“Of course I did,” I grinned as I handed them their gifts.
“Wow!” my son said, “An autographed picture of Darren McGavin! Thanks Dad!”
“Now go on,” I said, “go and get washed up for dinner.”
They did as the were told. My kids were never disobedient or rude, they always cleaned their rooms and had been reading the works of HP Lovecraft since they were four.
Tallulah watched them go, “You’re spoiling them.”
“I know,” I gave her a wink, “did I get any mail.”
“You sure did,” my wife handed me a thick stack of envelopes.
I glanced through them quickly, they were mostly letters of acceptance from publishers and magazines but there were a few postcards from people I had gone to high school with. They were full of apologies for the way they had treated me and begged me to help them as they languished away in whatever prison or homeless shelter they were in. There was even a letter from my brother Phil, I was surprised the doctors that ran the insane asylum were letting him have pencils again.
Suddenly there was a sob from my daughter’s room, I ran to her. She was sitting on her bed. I asked, “What’s wrong sweetheart?”
“Oh Daddy,” she sniffled, “it’s so unfair.”
“What’s unfair?” I knew that whatever was wrong I would fix it. I hadn’t been voted the World’s Best Dad by the United Nations for nothing.
Pricilla’s eyes were full of tears, “That you’re going to wake up soon.”
“What are you talking about my little one?”
Before she could speak again the air was filled with a shrieking BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP...
...BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP.
I hit the alarm clock’s snooze button and tried to find the dream again but it was gone. I was back to the real world and for me the real world had become a miserable place.
With Tallulah gone it was one of the least Merriest Christmases of my life. I tried to accept her decision to leave with dignity and grace but dignity and grace don't exactly go hand in hand with regular bouts of weeping and driving by your ex-girlfriends' house at three in the morning for no Earthly good reason.
I think that one of the worst parts of a break up is that your former significant other becomes a ghost haunting your memory. When something good happens not having someone to share it with diminishes the joy, when something bad happens you have no one to turn to for comfort. Sure I tried to make do with my subscription to JUGGS magazine but a bi-monthly magazine can only do so much for you- even if they keep printing your letters to the editor. (My pen name was 'Buster Hymen')
With nothing else to fill the empty hole in my life I tried to throw myself into my work but sadly my job kept getting in the way.
It was a madhouse, an absolute madhouse.
Customers stretched from Ivanhoe Books Incorporated's single cash register all the way back to the children's literature section. Everyone was paying by check or charge card with the occasional bit of cash thrown in like parsley with a restaurant meal. I was working customer service while Frank McDaniels manned the register. Yasmin was busy in the back room checking in case after case of books and cursing the world.
“Excuse me Miss?” a customer asked.
“Mister actually,” I turned around. I was used to this mistake by now, I had let my hair grow way out over the summer and that coupled the admittedly sensuous curves of my body caused many people to mistake me for a woman when approaching from behind.
The customer blushed, “Oh sorry. I was wondering if you had any copies of the new Stephen King book?”
“Yes.” I said, “They're right behind you.”
“Oh.” The customer said with a tone of happy surprise in his voice, “My grandma is a big fan of his and she's in hospice care now so I thought it would cheer her up.”
“I'm sorry to hear that. I hope she enjoys the book.”
The customer blanched at the price, “Do you have it in paperback?”
“Uh no. It's a new release, the paperback won't be out for a year. However the book does have our 35% Chivalrous discount.”
The customer paused thoughtfully, “I think I'll get her something else. She can wait for this. Thank you though.”
I watched the customer leave thinking to myself that someday soon people would be cheaping out on buying a hardcover copy of MY novel. Of course since then my goals have changed and now I’m busting my ass to get people to read my damn blog.
“Al!” Yasmin called, “I need you to move another display out onto the floor.”
The aisles were already crowded with cardboard dumps of one novel or another, “Where can it go?”
“By the romance section.”
The mere mention of romance made my stomach twist, “But there are already three displays there, no one can reach the shelves as it is.”
“That's your problem fat boy.” She said before slamming the back room door behind her.
“I am not fat!” I shouted after her, “I have sensuous curves!”
“Excuse me Miss?”