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Feb 8

Every little helps

Posted on Sunday, February 8, 2009 in Poems and things, Strange and Unusual

The fluorescent light pinged and flickered in the supermarket canteen.  I sat alone, away from the gaggle of women on the other side of the room, and sipped slowly from a can of coke.  Each woman was adorned with Argos bling, each finger weighed down with gold, each sovereign ring betraying the true worth of its powdered owner.  The women dunked their biscuits and cackled in high spirits, each trying to out-shout the other in false worship.

“Ahh Martina I still can’t believe you got the promotion, that’s feckin’ ace, that is.”  I sat silent, fuming with jealousy.  That job was mine.

“Well sure, what can I say?” Martina winked at her clucking admirers; “I showed him my skills and he liked what he saw!”

“Wha?  In the floor-management sort of way?”

“Nah…” Martina didn’t bother to lower her voice… “Behind the store-shed sort of way!!!”  The girls exploded in filthy laughter and began to out-compliment each other on the accolade of being such a filthy bitch.  I stood up and left,  but nobody noticed.

A heavy fug of bitterness surrounded me as I resumed the boring task of filling the store freezers with new bags of oven-chips.  I poured my frustration into the job and hated every second of it, fingers freezing, lost in the banality of it all.  The cheesy supermarket music was becoming the soundtrack to my life, the smell of sour milk and moldy disinfectant my own personal scent.   My concentration broke suddenly as the Manager walked by, his hand connecting with my ass  in a crude slap as he passed without a hint of apology.  I stood bolt upright.  Dots began to swim in my vision.

“Mr. Sullivan, if I might have a word?”  Halted in his tracks, he turned.

“Now?” He inserted the tip of his biro into the inner cavity of his left ear and scratched.  Absently he then withdrew the biro and wafted it before his nose before depositing the gunge on the tip of his tongue.  I shuddered.

“Yes, now.”

He led me to his office and shut the door behind us, then sat at his desk, leaned back and formed a leer.  He asked me what he could ‘do me for’… my eyebrow flickered at the criminally overused line.

“I’m pretty dismayed at having been passed over for that promotion to be honest, I just want to hear the reasoning behind it for myself.”  I spotted a gold T-bar chain on the floor at my feet, a sad pool of gold, someone’s worthless trophy, a flaccid show of wasted wealth.  I leaned down to scratch my ankle.

“Well, I can only say that Martina not only talked the talk, but she walked the walk.  Do you know how to walk the walk?  There’s still time to show me what you can do, you know.” the manager winked and scratched his balls from within his pockets.  “I’ll even let you leave those rubber gloves on!” he giggled at his own hilarity but didn’t stop to wonder at the reasoning behind the gloves for a second.

“I sure do… Sir.”  I stood up slowly, smiled, and approached the man who was too busy watching my breasts to notice the fact that I was wrapping my hands around each end of the lost gold chain.  He gasped when it was too late.

Thirty minutes later found me approaching the main door of the supermarket, my handbag stuffed with the contents of the manager’s safe deposit box.  I passed Martina’s checkout on the way and noted her panicky distraction while the queue slowly grew.

“Where’s me feckin’ chain?!” she rooted beneath the counter and cursed her own carelessness.

“Gold T-bar?”  I asked.

“Yeah!!!”

“That’s strange… Mr. Sullivan just tried to give me a gold T-bar chain in his office to seal the deal.”

“What deal?!”

“I talked the talk I suppose” I winked at her.  “Don’t worry, I changed my mind… you can keep the job.”

That feckin’ ba…. I’M GONNA KILL ‘IM!!” Martina stormed away and I left the building forever while heads turned to listen to Martina’s threats and expletives, and knew that nobody would be searching the store-room freezers for oven-chips any time soon.  Just as well… those crispy golden coated chicken balls aren’t quite ready to be found just yet.

Bring on the comments

  1. susan says:

    Gorgeous ending! A great story to wake up to this morning, and I’ll probably smile again next time in the supermarket.

    The biro however… eeeewwwwwww.
    ;-)

  2. Kirk M says:

    Wonderful! And you have a S. King-ish/Ellis Peters type of talent for description that makes it all too believable.

    Tell you what. You write the books and I’ll buy a Kindle to put them on. Then, when I’m old and decrepit, you can keep me company.

  3. Carole says:

    What a great story! You’re ability with imagery and detail is amazing.

  4. Baino says:

    Ooo you iz write clever missus. Put me off frozen chippies tho!

  5. English Mum says:

    Loved it. I smiled at the ending :)

  6. TheChrisD says:

    Nepotism, I tell you!

    Or whatever the actual word for it is, that’s the only word I can remember from my crappy history teacher back in the Junior Cert!

  7. K8 says:

    Susan; Loosely based on a true story… the biro bit is pure truth. I had to get that image out somehow, it’s been in my head for too long a time.

    Kirk M; I had to google the word Kindle. For a second there I thought you wanted to burn them :)

    Carole; Thanks!! It’s amazing how the details of boring supermarket work comes flooding back too easily.

    Baino; It’s okay, they’re nicer cooked, anyway.

    Maxi; Tank ewe.

    English Mum; Yay! It’s amazing how much inspiration can be found in one’s freezer box.

    TheChrisD; That’s insane. It was my history teacher for the Leaving Cert that used to do the earwax thing! That shit stays with you.

  8. Grannymar says:

    Tasty golden titbit!

  9. Jo says:

    Nice work, Kate! I can’t quite work out whether it’s true or not…

  10. Holemaster says:

    Nice bit of writing K8, great ending.

  11. Brighid says:

    great story, thanks for sharing, i love your twistedness

  12. K8 says:

    Grannymar; Nothing like a good batter, wha?

    Jo; It kind of is and kind of isn’t. Based on my days working under self-righteous bosses with roaming hands in SuperValu, but I never applied for a higher position given that I was 17 with no real desire for any responsibilities :)

    Holemaster; Thanks! The ending happened organically, or at least frozen from fresh.

    Brighid; Thanks for dropping by – glad you liked it! Cheers :)

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