Napo 7


Tough day today. The going is getting tough in general.

But here's a little something. It's a super rough draft that I hope to return to in the coming months. How much do we have to give up in pursuit of money? I've worked my share of crappy service jobs, so here's a freewrite about that.

Cashier Girl

Once, when I was working
at an entertainment store,
a man came up to me to pay
for some, well,
how can I put this delicately?

It was my first day at this job.
I'm incredibly nervous.
I'm 17 years old.

The guy tries to make
an awkward situation
less awkward
by making conversation.

It doesn't work.
My hands are shaking.
I'm laughing nervously,
giggling, really.

I'm trying not to touch the porn.
I'm trying not to look down
at the woman on the cover,
her legs open, her fingertips
on her nipples, her eyes

I'm trying not to make
eye contact with the creepy old man
who keeps trying to make eye contact
with me. I ring up the video.
It doesn't register.
I have to search for the barcode. Ugh. 

This takes time. The woman
stares into my eyes. I stare back.
I blink. I frown.

The old man gets even more awkward,
begins asking me about myself.
How long have I been working there?
Where am I from?
Do I have a boyfriend?
Then, just as I ring up the video,
he asks me, "How old are you?"

I say, looking down at my feet,
clearing my throat, my heart thumping.

The register rings and opens,
demands ten dollars.

"Oh," the old man says,
a little disappointment
in his voice.

"Probably just a little younger
than the girl in the video, huh?"

I laugh nervously, slam the register,
hand him the video, forgetting
to take the money.

He walks off with free porn.
I'm left ten dollars short
at the end of the night.

My new boss scolds me,
asks me what happened,
but I pretend I'm just a bimbo
who can't count, do basic math.

He threatens to fire me,
but it ends up being the first day
of a job I'll keep all through college,
a job that I grow to love.
A job that pays my tuition. 

True story.