Monday, November 24, 2008


Part 4

If you are just joining me on this story, you can read Part One, Two and Three to catch up. They are fairly short.

Brandi (that's Brandi with an "i") stood at the loading dock behind the Piggly Wiggly grinding a disregarded lettuce leaf into the ground with her cross trainer vividly imagining her father's face under her toe.  I hate him!  She brooded.  No, hate is too good for him... Death is too good for him because if I kill him he'd probably go to Hell and Hell is too good for him.  Brandi's father was self made, nouveau riche.  He had money.  Lot's of money.  Enough money to earn a membership at the country club (well, he wasn't black, Jewish, or a woman; and while he was a Yankee, he did marry on the right side of the county's tracks).  Enough money to be invited to every haughty charitable function and to-do.  The old money would greet him with a warm handshake and a gentle slug on the arm... until of course they turned their back and then they'd roll their eyes and look at each other as if to say "poor sucker."  After all, he was still a Yankee. And if it wasn't for some damn turn coat during the War Between the States selling southern secrets like tomato aspic and fat back to Ulysses S. Grant, they'd all still have their slaves and tobacco wouldn't cause lung cancer.  

Brandi's father believed in hard work and self discipline and inflicted upon his daughter these values as well.  Hence the forlorn teenager's position behind the Piggly Wiggly.  In order for Brandi to keep her car, her phone, and her pocket money, she had to maintain a part time job... of his choosing.  There would be no silly tromping through frilly underwear all day at Victoria's Secret or pretending to straighten clothes racks at Banana Republic.  He wanted her to really earn a dollar.  So he found a job for her stocking shelves and whatnot at the Pig.  It was the "whatnot" that really pissed her off.  "Whatnot" included aisle clean-ups, smooshed poopy diapers in the parking lot, sweeping the loading dock, and tasks in the restrooms that would require therapy in her not-to-distant future.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Part Three

Dotti sat on the french provincial couch in the living room. The living room where no one ever went unless it was Christmas morning or if someone died. The living room that was filled with furniture that belonged to her mother. Until this morning, Dotti never allowed food or drink of any kind in this room (see exceptions above) never mind the Virginia Slims Menthol she held gingerly between two yellowed fingers and the cup of black coffee sitting on the end table. She sat nestled into the corner of the sofa in her housecoat, legs tucked under her butt, staring into space.

Where did I go wrong? she thought. Did I give in too much? Is this because he didn't know his daddy? Hell! I didn't know his daddy! She looked at the mirrored wall clock above the chair across the room...6:30 am. No Teddy yet and soon she'd have to go to work. She couldn't call in again.

Curtis would have a cow! That asshole deserves to have a cow the way he's carrying on at work. Five more minutes and then I...Dotti heard the front door lock click. Teddy stumbled across the threshold nearly falling into the curio cabinet filled with Dotti's Precious Moments collection.

"Hey Mama!" He waved and gave her a stupid grin. In that grin Dotti could see her 8 year old little boy bursting into house after school. Her heart once again warmed to her son but she knew that now was not the time for nostalgia. She had blamed herself far too long. Teddy is 29 now and it's high time he shared the responsiblity for the screw up he is. Then she thought sadly, It's a sad day when you realize that you've raised jackass! Looks like I took better care of this furniture than my own son..she thought with self pity.

"Teddy," she said quite calmly.

"I know, Mama! I know!" he interrupted sloppily waving both hands in front of him.

"Teddy...I have to be at work in 30 minutes. Today I work until 4. When I get home, I want you and all of your shit outta my house. If you are not outta the house when I get home, I will call the Sheriff and he will be here while I remove you and your shit from this house. I love you but I cannot live in a constant state of fear any more." She snuffed her cigarette into the Betty Boop ashtray next to the couch, picked up her coffee and retreated to her bedroom. She closed her bedroom door and leaned up against it breathing deeply as if she had just run a marathon.

I did it...Oh my God! I just did it! I wasn't even planning on doin' it...Where'll he go? Where'll he live? NO! NO! You did the right thang! Stop it, Dotti, dammit! He needs this...and if he doesn't then he can just be bum on his own time.

Dotti started to cry. She cried for the loss of the hopes she had for that baby boy she held in the emergency room the night she gave birth and didn't even know she was pregnant. She cried for the overwhelming feeling of love and protection she felt for the tiny little person who quite literally dropped into her life. She cried, because until that little soul came into her life, she was as much a screw up as Teddy is now...maybe worse.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Part Two

Many things happen in a Piggly Wiggly and in the deep south, stories play out like The Young and the Restless on the crack rock. So this story goes on beginning in the local mall...hope ya'll enjoy!

Twila held the blue sequenced dress up to her chest, holding the hanger under her chin. She looked up expectantly at her boyfriend for approval. Instead of the look of rapture she expected, she found Curtis inspecting his teeth in the crome of the clothing rack.

"CURTIS!" she screeched. "I am TRYIN' to pick out a dress for the Christmas party and you ain't payin' a lick of attention!"

"Yes I am, Honey! I think that one's really nice."

"Nice? NICE?...Nice is not what I am going for CURTIS! Nice is what you wear to a birthday party when you're six! And you are NOT payin' any attention. What color was the last dress I showed you?"

"It was blue! See I am payin' you attention!"

"I meant the dress before this one! AND for your information, this is not blue. It's CO-BALT!"

Curtis stammered and shuffled his feet. He put his elbow on the rack next to him and leaned with a defeated sigh.

"I don't understand why this is so hard for you." Twila pouted. "I have to look my best and nice isn't going to cut it. SHE'S going to be there and I WILL NOT let that sow show me up!"

"Twila Honey, I'm with you now. May cain't show you up! Even if she does come to the party, I wouldn't even know it because my eyes will be on you the whole time!" Curtis smiled cleverly, proud of the debonaire way he handled the situation.

"THIS AIN'T ABOUT YOU CURTIS!" Twila hollered and slammed the blue dress back on the rack.

Life at the Piggly Wiggly was in upheaval at the moment. As the staff hung silver and gold shiny garlands (complete with card board cut outs of turkeys, hams, and unidentified casseroles), gossip was strung from Customer Service to the loading dock. The staff vibrated with excitement over the possibility that a cat fight might ensue at any moment; but secretly, they all hoped it would explode at the Christmas Party that weekend. Curtis, the store manager, had been married to May the bookkeeper for two years. About six weeks ago, he hired Twila to run Customer Service. Normally, the cashiers rotated shifts in Customer Service but it was discovered that one of the cashiers was stealing packs of cigarettes out of the cartons and then resealing the carton. Unable to decide who exactly it was, he decided to hire someone who could run Customer Service full time. He could pick up the shifts that Twila couldn't cover since that was where his office was anyhow. Twila and Curtis became very friendly. So friendly, that May would often stand and look through the glass partition above her desk to see the if the comradery had reached an unacceptable level. Unfortunately for her, May had very high hair. Thanks to Aqua Net and a good bit of teasing, Twila and Curtis could put 5 feet between them before May's eyes could surface above the brown paneling.

About a week ago, on a particularly bad hair day, May popped up for her periodic infidelity check. Instead of seeing Twila in her normal useless position, obsessively lining up the rolls of lottery tickets behind the counter, she saw no one. No one! The worst scenario imaginable! Determined to put her suspicions to rest, May pushed her chair back and kicked the small swinging door to her office wide open. The paper snowman holding fake frozen vegetables which decorated the door slid to the floor with the force of the kick. Eyes popped up over cash registers, grocery bags, and stock boxes and followed May and her limp hair. With another swift kick, May made mincemeat of the door to Customer Service (where paper Santa joined his friend Mr. Snowman on the floor). She walked past the rolls of lottery tickets and gave them a violent, mean-spirited spin as she passed on her way to the manager's office. The silence in the front of the store was deafening as the actors played their parts off stage behind green and red crepe paper streamers. Then as loud as if announced over the intercom May yelled,

"Goddamn Trailer Trash Whore! Cain't you find your own dick in that trailer park you live in? Hell! I heard your Daddy was back in town!"

With that said May stomped back through Customer Service, this time yanking the whole plexiglass lottery ticket cabinet off the counter, and left the store without a word to anyone.

Curtis emerged quickly from his office and stumbled over the cabinet on the floor. He was zipping up his fly as he ran out of the automatic doors yelling May's name. Tires squealed over pavement outside and seconds later the "lying, cheatin' sonofabitch" (more poetry from the jilted May) reappeared through the glass doors. Everyone in the store, frozen with shock, stared at the disheveled store manager. He then staightened his tie and said with as much decorum as was possible under the circumstances,

"Uh...uh..I'll be closing your drawers out this afternoon, Ladies."

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Part One

"Can I have a clean up on Aisle 9?"

I stepped lightly through the supermarket store, feeling somewhat guilty for choosing toilet paper without the trolls (that's my pet name for the little demons). The woman's southern accent over the intercom rang loudly once again just as I passed under a speaker in the produce section.

"Brandi! I saaaid 'clean up on Aisle 9'!" then quieter but audible" I told you we shouldn't have hired that girl...she's probably out smokin' dope in the back..."

"Dotti..." the faint male voice in the background said, " know, the mic's still on..."

"Oh damn, Curtis! I always forget which button to mash!"...Click..

Two old women in tweed suits to match their age sniggered over the cantaloupes. The one with hair dyed with bottled ink put her whithered old hand on her friend's shoulder and said, "Dotti shouldn't be pesterin' that girl so much when she herself is a few marshmallows shy of a jello salad! You know..." she leaned in to her friend "Evelyn said that Ruby was out in her garden after Sunday school last weekend and overheard Roy tellin' Charlene that Dotti came outta her house in her housecoat justa hollerin' and fussin' at that boy of hers as he screeched outta the driveway!"

"NO!" replied the other old biddy.

"Yes! Well, Dear, they ARE mill people and I don't care how long that mill's been closed, mill people will always be mill people."

The plump old woman in violent red lipstick finished her sentence with a wave of a hand (freshly polished in the same color as her lips) to signify that there was nothing more to say about the subject. The two then returned to the pile of cantaloupes before them, pushing their thumbs into the bottoms of the fruit as a test for ripeness. I felt sorry for the poor melons to be prodded so by those garish nails. They noticed me across the pile and I smiled politely to let them know that I meant them no harm. But these were vintage southern women, prone to gossip, bourbon, and spite. I had to be careful! Then Inky spoke in that tone that is reserved for kings and rouge tinted old women.

"I haven't seen you in this supermarket before, Dear. Don't I know you from somewhere?" Hell no! She didn't know me but this was her way of being nosy without being rude.

"I don't think you do. I don't normally shop on Wednesdays." I wanted to add, Because this is Senior Citizens Wednesday and I'd rather have a mammogram using a meat slicer from the deli than be here while the town's octogenarians rummage through coupons and repeatedly remind the check-out girl that it's Senior Citizen's Wednesday and they get a 5% discount. After the typical round of questions including "Where do you attend church?" and my absolute favorite, "Who is your father?" I was able to escape with the melon that I didn't want that she had hand selected for me. I think I had passed the "Are you Mill People?" Test. In fact, if she had dug a little deeper she would have found that I was far worse...I was an Italian from New Jersey.