It was dead. It was always like this during the week. That’s why I enjoyed working during the week, particularly Tuesday’s, since that was the only day that is was just me and her working.
It felt pathetic to get excited about going to work when I was alone in my room Monday nights, but that’s generally how things went. And I generally tried to suppress that excitement, because then thoughts of how incredibly uneventful my life had become, that I was actually excited to go to my shitty job, would creep up soon after.
We were both lounging in chairs behind the counter, immersed in our own thoughts and distractions. She was playing with a single curl of hair and looking through a book about photography. I was biting my nails and skimming through another one of these How to Live a Self-Sustained Life books. I’d become slightly obsessed with the idea of being self-sustainable, but had put very little of it into practice. While I was reading- and frankly during many other aspects of my life- I would try to think of things to say to her that would simultaneously get under her skin, peak her interest, and eventually make her laugh. “You know,” I said while placing a mark in the crease of the book and folding it over in my lap, “I think it’s about high time I killed a chicken.” She rolled her eyes at me, “why do white people always feel the need to fuck with animals?” I grinned, “what’re you talkin’ about?” “You guys always gotta be doing weird shit with like nature and animals, it’s like, can you just chill.” “I don’t wanna like smack a lion in the face with my cock…” She smiled and interjected mid response, “well that’s very noble of you, not wanting to smack a lion with your cock.” “Thank you, I try… anyway, as I was saying… I’m not tryin’ to do any weird shit. I just feel like if I’m to continue eating meat, I should have to kill an animal that I eat.” “So just don’t eat meat anymore, and be cool, like me.” “But I like eating meat. And I don’t see anything wrong with it if it’s done responsibly. That’s why I need to humanely kill a chicken.” She grinned slightly while rolling her eyes again and shaking her head, “oh gaahhddd, humanely kill a chicken, you’re ridiculous.” She went into the token white guy impression that she broke out from time to time, “so you could feel like a man, bro? You wanna feel like a big strong man, bro?” I laughed a breath through my nose, “yea pretty much. I’m tired of my suburban-slash-city existence dampening my manhood.” “Gotta kill a chicken bro, gotta feel manly.” “Plleeeaaseee with this holier than thou herbivore shit.” “Whatever, I’m not the one trying to murder cute lil chickens.” “If those cute chickens were big enough they’d gouge your eyes out in a second and never give you another thought.” “So, just let a chicken be a chicken…and they wouldn’t do that to me, because they would know that I’m cool and smart.” “The only reason humans have gotten to the point of being this cool and smart was because of our ability to hunt and eat meat during ice ages, and tundra’s, and winters, and shit.” She looked at me accusingly, “really? That’s the only reason?” I smiled feeling that I was behind in this argument, “I’m exaggerating, but whatever, you know what I’m saying.” “She resorted back to her impression, “gotta kill chickens like my manly ancestors, bro!!” I chuckled a bit, “that’s right, I gotta be a part of this time honored tradition…my inner monologue reprimands me every time I’m cooking something with meat.” She laughed, “reprimands you?” “Yea you know, like the voice in my head turns into a father-in-law who’s like disparaging his dead beat son-in-law for continually disappointing his daughter.” She burst out laughing, “what?! Why is that so specific?!” I continued, “yea you know, like the voice always starts out by like shaking his head slowly at me and saying ‘look at you, just look at you…where’d you get that pork? The super market? You’re pathetic! There’s people out there killing their meals with spears!!’ So by the time it’s ready to eat, I can’t even enjoy it anymore.” She was still laughing and wiping tears from her eyes, “do you really talk to yourself that much?” “Yea of course, everybody does, in their heads at least. I’m not like saying this shit out loud to myself, at least not that often or when people are around.” Her laughing fit was dying down, “you’re soooo weird.” “C’mon, you definitely do the same shit.” “No, I know what you mean…I’m just not calling myself an asshole or anything like that.” “Alright, so who’s your head-voice?” “Hmmmm lemme think…my voice is like encouraging me and trying to convince me that I’m going to be ok.” “Alright.” “Yea, yea it’s like those white people who watch marathons and cheer the runners on, like, ‘come on! You’re doing great! Just keep going!” I smiled “like handing out those little white cups with water.” “Yea, yea ‘you can do it! Ok, yea… that’s fine, you can stop to pet that dog.’” I laughed, “see there you go, you’re a weirdo too.” “No, not me, I’m just cool.” “Rrriiigghhtttt.”
We both looked up momentarily as it appeared we might get a potential customer. “Phew,” I said as the person decided to keep it moving past the shop’s doors. We slumped back into our seats. After a minute she began to stretch and said “I’m falling apart, hurry, I need a back massage.” “I’m sorry, but that would be against company policy. No back touching in the workplace.” “Oh shuutttt uuppppp, you say that every time and every time I get a back rub. So let’s just skip the theatrics and get to the massaging,” she said half-jokingly.” “Well, I don’t respond well to demands, so now I can’t do it.” “C’monnn.” “I’d be betraying my personal ethics.” “C’mmmooonnnnnm, I’m in severe pain.” “I don’t see it happening.” “I’m gonna die.” “You had a good run.” “C’mmmmoonnnnnnn,” she said, sliding her chair over and grabbing my hand, as she tried to manually get me to massage her back. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll meet you halfway. I’ll give you a foot massage,” I said with a grin. “How is that halfway?” “Because you get a massage, but it’s not exactly what you wanted.” She laughed, “yea right, like you would rub my feet in the middle of the shop.” “Kiddin me, I don’t give a fuck.” “And if a customer comes in?” “Then they’ll feel weirded out and leave, it’s a win-win.” “Fine,” she said taking off her shoes, still not believing me. She flung her left foot into my lap and leaned back further into her seat as if to say ‘your move.’ I didn’t hesitate and started working the arch of her foot by rotating my thumbs, and the top with the rest of my fingers, as if they were squeezing a stress relief ball. She had knee high navy blue socks with cartoon-esque pizza slice stitched all up and down them. “Cute socks.” “Thanks,” she replied, closing her eyes and leaning her head back. Those little pizzas are gettin’ me hungry, wanna order a pie?” Keeping her eyes closed and head laid back she said, “What’s say we just focus on the massage for now.” I was ok with that, and decided it was probably time for me to shut the fuck up. I increased the pressure with my thumbs ever so slightly, and soaked in her subtle moan of approval as she sunk a little deeper into the chair.
A moment later there was a familiar sound that seemed to be coming from another dimension, it was a customer opening the front door, the first one in nearly two hours. She straightened up in her seat and swung her foot off of my lap. We locked eyes for a split second, before standing up and looking forward at the customers.
A middle aged couple shot us quick fake smiles, before slowly circling the shop and internally deliberating over all the bullshit stocked on the shelves. They weren’t even going to buy anything, I could tell by their indifferent curiosity.
We stood side by side, a few feet apart and watched them. My eyes were wide, and I was biting down on both my top and bottom lip as I shook my head, barely moving it side to side in disbelief. I didn’t want any good fortune or happiness to ever come the way of these people or their families ever again. I wish I had a trained swarm of bees to unleash on them, a pride of starved lions, a herd of frazzled water buffalo, a stampede. I wanted them to know, I wanted them to see the hatred in my eyes.
I waited all week for this.