untitled: grocery store

Don’t you like it when you find something old that is actually all right? I might just be resurrecting a few stories here soon. How about that for an Easter miracle??

The employee bulletin board was trimmed with a glittery border taken from the arts and craft section on Aisle 13. It was at the front of the store beside the bathrooms on a giant cream-colored brick wall with the words “Cincy’s Grocery Mart” painted on with cracked maroon.
There were candid pictures of the employees pinned to the board. Like a fuzzy photograph of Sepulveda and his four young children at the monthly Family Bowling Night. There was one picture of me on the board and it was underneath a Fujifilm Waterproof Camera print of Mesco and Cherry stocking shelves with feminine products. Half the photo was covered, but you could still see me, a mop in my hand, standing in Aisle 3 with a goofy smile.
I hated the picture.
I had just mopped up a kid’s vomit when Harris snapped the pic. I looked as miserable and greasy.
I opened the envelope in my hand and thumbed through Harris’ latest candid moments. I pulled out a few and stapled them to the board.
One was a picture of Perry. Perry was a dirty, scrawny guy with long, thin hair pulled into a tail at the back of his neck. He wore clothes like a chair does when you throw a shirt across it at the end of a long day. In the picture he’s throwing a bird at Harris from behind the dumpster. I pinned it at the bottom of the board and tucked some of it behind another so it wouldn’t get noticed as easily. And I laughed.
Another was a picture of Lizzy. She was a beautiful broad that I had my eye on. She came into the store every Monday to buy her groceries. I put her picture at the top, right over Boyd’s ugly mug. It didn’t look like she knew that her picture was being taken. She was waiting for Angelica to scan her items and gazing outside.
I stapled the rest around the board. When I was done I took a step back and took in the entire empty wall that greeted every customers when they walked into Cincy’s.
I’ve been working at Cincy’s for about two years. I remember the first time I walked into the store a few years back. The doors opened and I looked up at that giant wall and imagined myself painting a mural on it.
Now every time I walk by it I see something new that I could paint. This time I saw Cincinnati’s skyline. But I was the only one who saw it. Everyone else just sees a wall.
I returned to the front of the store. There were ten checkout lines, but only two were opened. Line four and five shone brightly and I walked to where Angelica was reading a magazine.
“Where the hell have you been?” Angelica asked when she saw me. She batted her heavily shadowed eyes and reached her flabby arms to readjust her tight, brown bun. She wore her hair like that everyday, with little strands branching out of her skull. The bun looked like a little bird’s nest perched atop her head.
I was straightening plastic grocery bags. “Why do you leave them hanging like this? It makes it harder for me to bag the groceries.”
“You’ve been gone nearly twenty minutes.”
“It was a long piss,” I said and reached around Angelica and grabbed a pack of citrus-flavored gum. “And Harris’ new prints came in, so I was adding some beautiful portraits to the board.”
“Don’t you put any of me on there. I told him I don’t want any.”
I popped a piece of gum into my mouth and turned towards her, “Wouldn’t think of it. Wouldn’t think of it at all.”
A customer walked up, an older lady with a few groceries. I smiled at her and stacked her items in the bag on top of one another neatly. I knew how to organize the groceries in the bags in the most efficient manner and I was the fastest bagger in the store.
“Thank you, young man.”
Glancing up from my task, I looked into the large, round glasses of the older lady and smiled. “No, thank you.”

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