My head dropped, shoulders slumped, and a groan that matched that of a dying animal escaped my vocal chords. I was on the list to work the dreaded Bon Bargain Basement Blowout Blitz. This news was enough to make a grown man cry.
Not only was this the biggest, baddest sale of the year, it was my birthday…twenty-first birthday, to be exact. I don’t drink, and I had no plans to binge myself into oblivion, but it’s still a special birthday, you know? My driver’s license picture will be facing forward instead of looking to the side, and my car insurance will be cheaper since I’m a fine, upstanding, ticket-free, responsible, seatbelt wearing, young man.
Not only was it on my birthday, but this sale brings out every manic maniac housewife in the county.
“Blake!” The shrill voice of my boss beckoned me. “Step into my office, please.”
“Said the spider to the fly,” I muttered under my breath. “Good morning, Belinda.”
“You saw the list…”
Was this a question or a statement? I chose to simply nod.
“Don’t look so beat up, Blake,” Belinda came around her desk. “I have good news for you.”
What’s this…she’s being nice to me?
Belinda looked me over from head-to-toe. My stature stiffened under her scrutiny. What is she up to? Pull it together and be professional, Blake.
My mind wandered from the spider to the fly to the Wicked Witch of the West. She had this look on her face and all I could think of was, “Come here, my little pretty.” Caught up in my Oz daydream, I almost missed her good news.
“I’m promoting you to Bon Basement manager. Brooke is transferring to another store and you’ll begin training with her today.”
Relief washed over me. I could have kissed Belinda on her make-up coated, wrinkled face.
“Hopefully moving you to the Bon Basement will be enough of a raise to get you out of your parent’s basement.” Her words stung like a bee as she floated like a butterfly back to her chair.
“Clever, haha,” I bantered. “I don’t live in their basement.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot. You live across the hall from their room.” She made some sort of contorted face and cleared her throat in dramatic flair. “I’m sure that’s much better. Go find Brooke. She’s down there somewhere.” With a flick of her red painted, pointy, finger-nailed hand…I was dismissed.
I know Belinda thinks I’m a loser, glued to my Atari, in my 10’x12’ living existence. I just don’t feel the need to move out until I find that special girl.
Ugh, who am I fooling? I am an Atari lovin’ mooch, living an awkward ten feet from my parents room, forced to wear earplugs at night to avoid knowing when I should feel embarrassed. I still can’t believe my parents bought a waterbed. Aren’t they too old for things like that?
The morning of the big blitz, I wore my crisp white manager’s shirt, black slacks, necktie, and extra Old Spice. About two hours into the blowout, I stood on the landing of the speckled marble stairs and scanned for shoplifters among the bedlam below. Women were grabbing, pushing, and hollering to their friends across the store. Insanity ensued.
I spotted a brawl in the bedding area and quickly pushed through the throngs of women of the middle-aged, mammoth-middled variety. I kept my eye on the afro attached to the woman in the midst of the mayhem.
“Ladies, Ladies,” I raised my voice to get their attention. With all the authority I could muster, I stuck my thumb and middle-finger in my mouth and with one quick push from my diaphragm, I silenced the entire basement.
When I rounded the rump of afro-woman, I discovered a brown-hair-blue-eyed beauty clutching something to her chest.
“I saw them sheets first! She slithered past me like a snake and took them from me.”
“No.” The young thing flipped her strawberry-scented tresses over her shoulder. “I didn’t take them from you. I picked them up off the floor. Seeing and getting are two different things.” She leveled her gaze on my manager name tag, batted her eyelashes, smiled, and blushed. “I believe I’m ready to make my purchase, Blake.”
I smiled a bit too big when I realized what this beauty was bashfully buying. That Blue-eyed babe may have bought waterbed sheets at The Bon Bargain Basement Blowout Blitz…but I brazenly busted her for shoplifting my heart.
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