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Her 18th Birthday (Grocer and Writer)

Good Lord, it’s cold tonight, but at least it is dry. What do you expect for early February? That’s all right, because I have someone to keep me warm. I leave work and head to my girlfriend’s parents’ house. Tomorrow is special for her-she’ll turn eighteen! The air conditioning in my car is shot, but at least the heater functions well. I leave the parking garage and head to the suburbs. Now I am entering the subdivision and approaching the house. As I turn into the driveway, my headlights illuminate her stature. She is shivering. I wish she wouldn’t wait outside for me in the wretched cold, but it speaks volumes of her love for me.

I step out of my car and we embrace.

“Let’s get you warm.” I tell her.

“Good idea!” She replies as her teeth chatter.

With that we step into my car and drive off quietly. The sun is now set-all we have are the city lights.

There is a brief silence, but then I say “I know what tomorrow is!”

“Yes, I’ll be free! My parents’ll no longer have power over me!” She replies.

“Now you know your dad is good to us.”

“Yes, he is. But my mom is a lunatic. No longer will I hear her raging about her stupid pills again.”

“Do they know that we’ve been intimate?” I ask.

“No, they don’t-and that is a good thing. It won’t even matter after the stroke of midnight.”

“That’s a relief. I know your dad likes me, but how he would react if he knew?”

“Well, I can make him feel guilty about not being around if he indeed got angry.”

We drive into the city and into my neighborhood and are now in front of my house. I park my car against the curb and escort her through my yard, closing the hurricane fence behind us. As usual, my neighbors are rolling and smoking joints. I detest the abominable smell of that smoke. However, if I reported them, they would retaliate in many horrendous ways. I am also afraid how they might try to harm my girlfriend if they ever found out she is alone in my house while I work. Because of this, I have already installed several extra locks on my doors and I’ll also buy her some Mace.

Quickly we walk into the door and sit down on my sofa. I turn on the local news and learn of the whole country being on high alert for a terrorist attack. This makes me fear for the safety of everyone I care about. I wonder about my family in the countryside and if they are prepared. Being drafted off to war also frightens me.

“Let’s turn this miserable thing off and think about us!” She says.

“Very well.” I say, switch off the TV, then continue “Would you like to eat something?”

“Sure.” She replies.

“I will order something for delivery. What do you feel like?”

“Something Asian, I guess.”

“Done.”

I begin to look through my telephone directory, when she says, pointing to her smartphone “Wait, I have an app for ordering it on here.”

She places the order, and we sit on my sofa. She rests her head on my chest.

Soon enough, there is a knock at the door. It is the delivery man. I pay him and he gives us the food, then I escort him back to his car.

We take the food to my dining room and eat. There cold air is coming through my drafty windows, so I turn my floor furnace on. It is located in the middle of my house, so, hopefully, it should keep us warm.

She motions for me to sit and continue eating with her. I do so, staring at her with admiration. Soon we are finished eating.

“Asian food makes me sleepy. Let’s snuggle together!” She says.

“Right behind you, baby!” I reply.

We walk to my bedroom and wrap ourselves in the blankets.

Our sleep is peaceful, until she wakes up from the whistle of a freight train.

Her jerking wakes me up and then I hear the train as well.

She looks at the clock on her phone. It indicates 12:01 AM.

“I am eighteen now!” She exclaims, wrapping herself around me.

Suddenly, there are some horrible sounds. It’s a grinding and squealing, followed by several loud explosions. Then, I hear the motor on my old refrigerator shut off. I push the switch on my bedside lamp but it doesn’t turn on. The power is out. My girlfriend reaches for her phone to light up the room.

“Let me go to the kitchen. I have a rechargeable flashlight there plugged in between the refrigerator and the stove.”

“Go get it, but after let’s keep snuggling.”

“Of course. You know I don’t want to be anywhere but in your arms.” I tell her, retrieve my light then climb back in bed.

“We can stay together now because I am legal!”

I give her a kiss, but I am full of anxiety.

Suddenly, our phones display messages of a civil emergency.

A few minutes later there is a knock on my door. I open it.

A policeman greets me and sternly says “You must leave immediately! There has been a train derailment which resulted in a chemical release.”

I ponder to myself if this was a terrorist attack…

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Pilot (Grocer and Writer)

My life is depressing, or so I sometimes believe. I always dreamed that at twenty two, I would have done so more with my life. It would be much better, if only I could get my foot in the door as a writer. For now, I share my work with someone special. Another day is done so I clock out from my miserable stocker’s job at The Downtown Grocer. I take off my uniform shirt, sling it over my shoulder then turn my Go Phone on and check for text messages.

There is only one and it reads, “Come get me when you’re done with work, baby. I love you!”

It is from my girlfriend, who is five years my junior. She is an honor student turned high school dropout. We are lovers and know each other in every sense of the meaning. Her parents are too busy focused on other priorities and couldn’t care less either which way. It really doesn’t matter anyway as she is legal in this state. I am not in this relationship just to use her. In fact; I saved myself for someone special. She is much more special than I could have ever dreamed. Nothing but a pure and deep reverence is what I feel for her. When she tells me she loves me; I am in shock and awe. I will never know what exactly she sees in me. Maybe, somehow, I give her the attention and affection she is so longing for. I do it to the best of my ability.

So, I text her in reply, “I am coming right now and I love you too!”

In the cold January weather, I fire up my old car. It is a 1989 Toyota and at least it takes me from point A to point B. It powers right up, so with that, I head to her parents’ house in the suburbs. Soon enough, I arrive. Neither of her parents are aware of us; so she walks out without any confrontation. We embrace and kiss. Immediately after, we head to my place. It is an older two bedroom wood frame house in the working poor section of the city. There are several mechanical and structural issues with my house; but it gives me shelter and warmth. I had purchased for a seemingly fair price and, at least I can call it my own. I step out of my car; grabbing my Go Phone and keys; then open the car door for her.

I open the gate to my hurricane fence and we cut across my front yard straight to the steps and then the front porch. My neighbors are sitting outside rolling and smoking joints. The smell of it is utterly disgusting to me, but I’ve come to embrace the belief of “to each his own.” They never really make trouble with me anyway, but certainly would if I ever reported them to the cops. The problem is I have the utmost reverence for my girlfriend and I don’t like exposing her to it.

So, hurriedly, I walk her into the front door and lock it.

I offer her a cold can of Best Choice Creme Soda from my old refrigerator and she takes it. We sit close to each other on the sofa and drink.

After we are done; I kiss her forehead and she says with a longing happiness, “Could you read your stories to me?”

“All right, baby,” I reply.

I walk to my rickety old desk. On top of it is an ancient Gateway computer I purchased it at Goodwill. This machine runs Windows 95 and is horribly out of date, but at least it serves its purpose. I pull up a kitchen chair and give her the swivel chair. We sit together and I read the stories to her. She stares at me intently and with great focus.

Plenty emotions are soon built up inside of us and she lovingly kisses me, saying “I want you so much right now!”

I reply with a passionate kiss, “I’m all yours, baby, both now and forever!”

We walk to my bedroom and become intimate. For hours we passionately make love.

As we are cuddling in the night; she asks, “Do you have tomorrow off?”

“Yes,” I tell her.

“Then let me stay with you; at least for tonight,” She says, looking at me with puppy dog eyes.

“Sure, I guess,” I say, then give her a long kiss.

“I love you so much!” She says, wrapping herself around me. There is a silence, then she continues, “I wish I could stay here every night.”

I then tell her with joy “I love you too, baby and if it were up to me you would stay with me until the end of time!”

“I will when I turn eighteen!” She replies, then kisses me.

I guess my life isn’t as depressing as I sometimes believe.

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Christmas Day (Grocer and Writer)

My girlfriend is sitting on the bed browsing the Internet on her smartphone as I prepare her breakfast. I am making French Toast with the last few slices of bread. Soon enough I’m done cooking.

I walk back to the bedroom where she greets me with an awkward smile, then kisses me.

“Breakfast is ready, baby,” I tell her.

“Good because I am hungry!” She tells me giggling.

“I’m hungry too.”

I serve us the food and we eat, smiling at each other from ear to ear.

As we are finishing up breakfast, both of our phones alert us to a Freeze Warning for our city.

“I would like for you to meet my parents today.”

“All right I’m all for that. I hope they accept me as much as you have.”

“Regardless of what happens, I will still love you.”

“I will still love you too, no matter what, but they might not let you see me.”

“They can only legally do that for six weeks.”

“Still, I’d rather be on their good side.”

“I’ll help you, don’t worry.”

We get dressed in my drafty house.

I see her shivering and say, “Take my extra jacket.”

“Awe, thanks!” She tells me with a kiss.

We walk out of my house and I lock the door.

As we walk across my front yard, the neighbors are sitting on their porch drinking malt liquor and smoking joints. They are acting extremely loud and obnoxious, because of their drug and alcohol induced impairments.

“Just ignore them,” I whisper to my girlfriend.

She nods in distress.

We then exit my yard and I lock the hurricane fence.

I open the door of my car for her then I get in and start it.

We leave my neighborhood and get on the Interstate.

The ride is quiet, but then my girlfriend says, “You know I’d been doing some research while you were making me breakfast and I found out that I am legal in this state.”

“What you mean?”

“You didn’t break any laws by sleeping with me because, in our state, the age of consent is seventeen.”

“Wow! I thought it was eighteen everywhere. I’m definitely relieved.”

“I just hope you’ll stay with me and not leave me now that you know that.”

“Us sleeping together was your idea, not mine. I would have waited however long for you. And, rest assured that there is no force on this planet that will make me want to leave you!”

“What if you got me pregnant?”

“Then I would marry you, it would be the honorable thing to do. I want to marry you anyway, but I cannot afford a decent ring on my low wages.”

She brightly beams at me then leans her head on my shoulder.

Suddenly her phone rings.

“It’s my dad; I have to take this call,” She says, then answers, “Hi Daddy.” “Yes, I know I’m not home. I’m with someone special.” “I had been seeing him since Thanksgiving.” “He’s very good to me.” “Yes, he does indeed love me.” “Okay, please give him a chance-I love him so much!” “We’re on our way over there now.” “Yes, I’ll tell him.” “Okay, bye Daddy.”

My girlfriend then tells me, “My dad says for you to drive safely in this freezing weather. He might be a little hard on you.”

“That’s all right. I’ll make it clear to him and your mom how much I love you and how I’m willing to take care of you.”

“Well whether my parents like you or not, there are only six weeks until I can make all of my own decisions.”

We see the exit to the road that leads to her subdivision, then take it. We drive through the neighborhood and finally pull into her parents’ driveway.

I step out of my car then open the door for her. We walk to the front entrance of the house and my girlfriend rings the bell.

Her dad answers not long after.

He shakes my hand and says, “Hello young man. We’ve met before.”

My girlfriend is puzzled and asks, “Wait, Daddy, you know him?”

“Yes. He waited on me at The Downtown Grocer. He was very helpful and took care of me better than anyone else. Those bastards he works for punished him just because they thought he was talking with me too much instead of working.”

“I’m on thin ice because of that. I hate my job but I have to work somewhere and unfortunately there aren’t too many somewheres in this economy.”

“I could easily get you a better job, but I have to know that you are committed to my daughter and her only. How did you meet her?”

My girlfriend then interjects and says, “I’ll answer that one, Daddy: Last Thanksgiving you and mom were fighting, so I left the house and went to the park. I saw him there, writing. I thought he was cute and his stories were beautiful, so I was attracted to him. He accepted me and he doesn’t mind my weight.”

Her dad looks at me sternly and says, “Yes, she has an underactive thyroid gland and the weight is not her fault. I tore me up seeing her rejected and mocked by all those boys and you better not break her heart. If you do, I know people who can tar and feather you.”

I look at her dad directly in the eyes and say, “I know rejection too, Mister. I’ve been shot down many times, but your daughter she completely accepted me for who I am, despite all of my quirks and awkwardness and I love her for that, not to mention I think she is very beautiful and I would never dream of breaking her heart.”

“Good. I’m holding you to that statement. Now why don’t both of you come in and have Christmas Dinner with us? We have Sushi, General Tso Chicken, Lo Mein Noodles, Hot Pork and Tapioca Pudding for dessert. I got Asian take out because I refuse to shop at The Downtown Grocer after seeing the way they treat their workers.”

Her mom walks out of the den and asks, “Who the hell are you?”

My girlfriend says, “That’s my boyfriend mom, please don’t embarrass me.”

Her dad then says, “Let’s all eat. It’s Christmas and it should be peaceful.”

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Christmas Eve-Our First Time (Grocer and Writer)

It’s Christmas Eve and my grocery work is finally done for the night.

So, with that, I clock out, text my girlfriend, and head to her parents’ house. The traffic is congested terribly tonight but, I finally make it to the suburbs. As soon as I pull up in the driveway she comes walking out the door. We embrace, then kiss beneath the glow of a streetlamp.

“Let’s go to your place,” She tells me, placing her soft hands under my shirt and rubbing the hairs on my chest.

“Very well, baby,” I reply.

We walk to my car and I open the passenger door for her.

She steps in.

Then I sit down in the driver’s seat and start my engine. Quickly we leave and then head for my house in the working poor section of the city.

I drive through all of the traffic but finally make it to my neighborhood, then my street. I park my car against the curb, then escort her out.

I open my hurricane fence, then we walk through my front yard, up my steps, and into my front door. I lock and deadbolt the door as she sits down on the sofa. I go to my refrigerator and get us each a pint bottle of Borden Egg Nog. I open one, then hand the other to her.

“I’m already so fat. I probably shouldn’t drink this,” She tells me with hesitation.

“I think you are beautiful just as you are, baby, but I’d love you and revere you no matter how thin or heavy you are.”

“I know I found someone good because you want me even though I’m so big. I love you so much for that!”

“I love you just as much, I think you are beautiful and I’m so glad to have you in my life!”

She then embraces me and we begin to drink our egg nog.

I turn on the television and adjust the rabbit ears. We catch the late local news, already in progress.

An indifferent reporter tells of several unrelated murders that took place in the city over the past twenty-four hours.

“What a waste! I don’t see why people desire to take each others’ lives,” I say, disgusted.

The reporter continues to talk of the whole world preparing for war and that global conflict could break out at any time.

We both shudder.

“Why don’t we turn this miserable thing off and focus on each other?” My girlfriend says.

“Very well, baby,” I tell her, point the remote at the TV and push the “Power” button, then ask “What would you like to do?”

“Well there is one thing I would love to do, but I think it’s illegal.”

“What is that?” I ask.

“Be intimate with you.”

I hold her hands and say, “Yes. I want to be intimate with you as well, I really do. I love you with all my heart and would do anything for you. I’m just afraid of how your parents would react.”

“I promise I won’t tell anyone. It would kill me to know that I’d be the reason you go to jail, so I’ll keep it between you and me.”

“Your parents could still figure it out, though. Especially when they find out how much time we spend together alone.”

“I know, but I don’t think my dad would be that angry, even if he found out. Once he sees how you treat me like a princess, he’ll want me to keep you. He hates seeing me constantly rejected and lonely all the time.”

“I wish I could completely believe that. Maybe I’m just being a little paranoid, but the last thing I need is a criminal record.”

“But just thinking of how you love me for who I am when I was turned down and mocked by so many others, makes me desire you so badly right now, though.”

“I promise, as soon as you turn eighteen, I will make love to you.”

“But that’s not for another six weeks. A lot could happen between now and then. You could be drafted off to war. Our city could be bombed. One of us could be murdered We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so let’s make tonight worth it. Be mine and seal our relationship forever.”

“You’re right. Being drafted scares me to death. I’m a lover, not a fighter. But I’m not really a lover either though.”

“”Wow, you’re a twenty-two-year-old virgin? I can’t believe you’ve never been with anyone else, because you’re so cute!”

“That’s right. No one ever put up with me like you do, and none of them were ever worth it either.”

“Am I worth it?”

“You are indeed worth it and more.”

“Then will you be intimate with me?”

“Yes. You made me realize that I need to love you as much as possible because there is no guarantee of the time we have left together. We will share the experience of fully knowing each other and only each other and no one will be able to take that from us, no matter what they do. No war, no criminal, no distance, no government nor anyone or anything else will be able to take what we have away from us. I will be your one and only, both now and forever, no matter what!”

“Oh, I love you so much!” She says kissing me wildly.

“I love you too, baby. I hope to give you nothing but bliss tonight.”

“You already are!”

With that, we walk to my bedroom and become fully known to each other. After multiple releases, we cuddle into the night and fall asleep in each others’ arms.

In the morning we wake and I make her breakfast.

 

Blissful Love Life (Grocer and Writer)

Though my job may be god awful, my love life is very blissful

I leave that God awful job for the night and head straight to my girlfriend’s parents’ house in the suburbs.

She is once again waiting for me on the driveway.

I step out of my car and hug her. Soon our hugs become kisses, each one with more passion than the last.

“Why don’t we go to your house? I’m hungry,” She asks.

“All I was going to make tonight was oatmeal.”

“That’s better than what I have here.”

“What exactly do you have here.”

“Nothing. There is no food in the house.”

“Say no more, baby. I’ll feed you.”

With that, she kisses me once more then I open the passenger door for her.

I get in on the driver’s side, start my car and we head to my house.

Finally, we make it.

I step out of my car, open the door for her then open the gate of my hurricane fence.

As we cut across my yard, my neighbors are shouting and arguing.

Hurriedly we walk into my house.

It is cold, so I turn my floor furnace on.

After I hear the burners ignite, my girlfriend and I walk into the kitchen and I prepare some Always Save Instant Oatmeal.

As the food cooks in my old microwave oven, my girlfriend asks me, “How was your day?”

“Awful,” I reply.

“What happened?”

“Several things.”

“Like what?”

“Baby, I don’t want to bring my work problems home to you.”

“But I want to be supportive of you, because of all you do for me, so what happened?”

“Well, I was on my break texting you. The coworkers can definitely tell how happy you make me. There’s the janitor, he’s foreign but he’s good to me and he speaks highly of both of us. Then there is the deli cook, she is so hateful and rude.”

“What did she do?”

“Well I was telling the janitor how I am lucky to have you in my life and that I revere you, which I truly do, and the cook said that you were slutty and just pretend to be innocent. It made me so angry because I know the opposite is true. So I told her that you were actually a virgin and then she wanted to know how old you were. I told her it was none of her business and for her to get a life. Then she threatened me with her boxcutter.”

My girlfriend then pets my hair and kisses me multiple times as she says, “Next time she picks a fight with you, ignore her. I know you want to stand up for me but your personal safety is more important. Besides, I want you all to myself alive and kicking!”

I blush, then I tell my girlfriend, as I rub her sides “Oh baby if only you knew how much I love you.”

“I think I have an idea and by the way, I love you just as much!” She tells me, placing her head on my chest.

My bowl of oatmeal is done, so I take it out of the microwave and place her bowl in and start it up again.

My girlfriend then says, “You said several things happened, what else?”

“Well I got back to work and there was this gentleman who was shopping for fish and remoulade sauce for his meeting. I assisted him in finding the sauce and then I paged someone to seafood to get him the fish. While waiting for the seafood workers to come, we talked. My boss didn’t like me talking to him, so he ordered me to get back to work. The gentleman didn’t like the way I was treated so long story short he canceled his order. I was disciplined and now I have to stock the boxed gelatin all by myself from now on and boxed gelatin is the hardest thing to stock. They’re trying to make me quit, but I know I cannot find any other job and I won’t be able to pay my bills or take care of you.”

“I know you can write those beautiful stories and my dad knows people who can get you published. Then you’ll never have to work for those hateful people again. All I have to do is talk to my dad.”

“When do you think I can meet him?”

“Let’s try for Christmas Day.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

The microwave beeper goes off indicating that her oatmeal is done as well.

I take the bowls and place them on my dining room table. Then I pour us each a glass of Best Choice Whole Milk.

After I serve dinner, we say grace.

As we eat I tell my girlfriend, “Now I told you about my day, how was yours?”

“Mine was awful too.”

“What happened?”

“Well, I was listening to music in my room. I thought the volume was low enough, but it woke my mom up. She came into my room ordering me to lower the music. So I did. Then she accused me of stealing her Xanax and I swore up and down that I didn’t, but she didn’t believe me and she threatened to beat me for stealing them. So I called my dad and he intervened. She found her pills and then took more and crashed on the sofa. All I had to eat today was the last can of cling peaches, well until you gave me this oatmeal.”

I hug her and hold her hands.

We share a kiss once more.

I’m now so worried about my girlfriend’s safety. I wish she could come live with me where she would be safe from her abusive mother, but she isn’t of age to legally do that yet and even if she was, I have such a great reverence for her that I wouldn’t dare ask her to live in sin with me. Still, I want to protect her as much as possible.

I look at her in admiration wondering what she is thinking.

Suddenly she begins to speak, “You know, I’ll be eighteen in just a few short weeks. How would you feel if I moved in with you when that time comes?”

Oh, my, I read that people with strong emotional connections can have synchronous thoughts. We certainly just did.

I collect myself and say, “Yes. I would be all for that. I love you and want to spend as much time together with you as possible.”

She smiles at me from ear to ear and we finish eating dinner.

I look at the clock on the wall and realize I need to be rested for work tomorrow.

My girlfriend then says, “I’m getting sleepy, but I know I won’t get any sleep if I go back to my mom’s house and my dad is having a meeting all the way into the morning. Can I crash here tonight?”

“Sure, let me just prepare the extra bedroom for you.”

“Thank you so much. I would like to sleep in the same bed as you but I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

We kiss gently and I prepare the extra bedroom for her.

I tuck her in and she kisses me once more.

I then go to my bed and dream many dreams about her.

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A God-Awful Job (Grocer and Writer)

NOTE:

This is a modified version of the original.

The original version was much too offensive and I’ve only shown it to people I trust.

Hopefully, you will forgive me and enjoy this version just as well.

Here it is without further ado:

I’ve been working hard all day, but finally, it’s time for my fifteen-minute break. Happy to have a little relaxation, I clock out and walk to the covered terrace in the chilly December weather.

As I sit down on my break, I ponder to myself, “Why did I take this God-awful job in the first place?”

Then after a half-minute of pondering, I check my Go Phone for text messages.

There are two:

The first one reads, “It’s the first day of Winter, my favorite season. I think Winter is so romantic, especially now that I have you in my life.”

The second one reads, “Come get me when you’re done with work. I love you so much, baby.”

So, I reply, with the utmost honesty, “I love you too, baby and I count the hours when we are apart.” I send another message, “I’ll come get you as soon as my work is done, but I don’t know when that will be.”

Within a matter of seconds, I get a reply, “Just as long as you come get me, I’ll wait all night if I have to.”

My coworkers notice the bliss in my eyes.

The janitor, listening to foreign music on a portable world band radio, lowers the volume and asks, “Talking to your girlfriend?”

I nod at him.

“Is she pretty?” He continues.

“She is absolutely beautiful. I’m so grateful to have her in my life.” I tell him with much assuredness, then show a picture of her and I standing by the river.

He looks at the picture then says, “Wow, she sure is pretty! You and her could make beautiful children.”

“No, I haven’t been intimate with her yet. She deserves my utmost reverence,” I tell him soberly.

“You’re a good man.” The janitor says, smiling as he pats my hand.

The deli cook, also on break with us, has been quiet, up until this point. Now she is ready to pick a fight.

She looks up from her smartphone and remarks, with anger and contempt, “I bet she’s really nasty, but just pretends to be innocent with you.”

I try to keep calm and simply reply, “Nope. Actually she is a virgin. And so am I.”

The cook continues, asking, “How old is she?”

“None of your damn business. How about you get a life?”

The cook pulls a boxcutter out of her apron pocket and says, “You better not be disrespectful to me.”

I still try to maintain grace under pressure and say, “Why harm me because of someone whom I love with all my heart and who loves me in return?”

I then point to the security camera with a sign below that reads, “Every move you make is being recorded on video.”

I then say, “You’ve already committed assault with a deadly weapon and it was all caught on video. Smile for the camera! I suggest you leave me alone.”

“This isn’t over little boy! I know why you won’t tell me her age because she’s jail bait. I should call the police on you!”

“Whom are they actually going to believe? I’m not known for going around threatening physical violence upon whomever I disagree with but you are. Furthermore, I haven’t done anything illegal with her because, not only do I love her, but I also have great reverence for her. Do you the men in your life revere you? Probably not.”

The cook gets angry again, pulls out her razor and says, “I’m gonna get you and that slutty girlfriend of yours!”

Finally, I lose my temper and say, “Prove that she is slutty. You can’t. And since you can’t, that means we can sue you for defamation of character, but you probably don’t have a penny to your name, anyway.”

The cook is speechless but angry.

The janitor, though trying to hide it has a wide smirk on his face.

He turns his radio back on, until the cook says, “Turn off that old, outdated, boring racket-it’s offensive to me.”

“It’s a free country; I don’t have to,” The janitor protests.

“Turn it off or I’m going to bust it over your head,” The cook threatens.

I get angry and then tell the cook, “I believe that’s considered aggravated criminal damage to property, which carries a sentence of up to fifteen years in this state. You’d probably catch an aggravated assault charge in addition to that because you’ve been flashing that razor blade of yours. It was all caught on camera but I’ll gladly testify against you as well!”

“Y’all are ganging up on me!” The cook says with ignorance and hatred.

“No, we just want you to leave us alone. Go back to looking at whatever meaningless garbage you were looking at on your phone and don’t talk to us again.”

“You are going to pay for disrespecting me like that.”

Finally, I activate the voice recorder feature on my Go Phone and say, “Go ahead, keep making threats because everything else you say will be recorded and turned over to the cops.”

The cook finally quiets down, after showing me the middle finger.

My watch’s timer feature begins beeping indicating that my fifteen minutes are up. As I leave the break area, I tell the cook off “Well, I can’t argue anymore with you because I have to get back to work. You ruined my break, but I’m sure you’re proud of yourself because you delight in bringing misery to everyone you meet.”

The janitor follows me from far behind. Then, he puts the radio in his assigned locker and on his way back to the warehouse, he tells me, “Thank you for standing up for me, my friend, I don’t like her either.”

“Does anyone like her?” I ask.

The janitor laughs heartily and then, says, “You remind me of a younger version of myself. I love my wife like you love your girlfriend. That’s why I took this disgusting job with these dirty people, so I can support her and my unborn child.”

We resume our working and I think about the janitor’s words.

I stock the shelves with dry goods diligently trying to keep my mind off of the potentially serious threats from the cook. My mind is filled with anxiety, until a gentleman comes up to me and asks, “Excuse me, young man, where might I find the remoulade sauce?”

“It’s hard to find, sir, so let me show you.”

“Thank you, I appreciate it.”

I locate it for him and he places several jars in his cart.

Afterward, I ask him, “Is there anything else we can help you find this evening?”

“Yes, actually I need to make an order in the seafood department for my meeting tonight, but no one is there right now. There are plenty of fresh fish under the glass that I want to purchase.”

“I’ll take care of that right away sir, just follow me.”

We walk to the seafood department. Upon arriving, I activate the public address system, and speak into the mouthpiece, “Customer service is needed in seafood.”

The gentleman and I converse while waiting for the seafood clerk to arrive.

He tells me, “Thank you for assisting me, young man. I wish everyone else was helpful, like you.”

“Thank you for your kind words, sir. I find helping customers to be more rewarding than just putting up dry goods all day and into the night.”

“They should promote you.”

“They never will. The good jobs here are given to those with connections, not competence.”

“That’s a shame man because you’re a good worker.”

“Thanks, that means a lot coming from someone like you.”

The gentleman smiles. We shake hands and continue conversing while still waiting for the seafood clerk to arrive.

Suddenly, the assistant store director begins yelling at me, “Get back to work! This company does not pay you eight dollars an hour to run your mouth with customers.”

I pat the gentleman on the shoulder and tell him, “I’m sorry, sir, but I have to go. The seafood clerk will arrive shortly.”

However, he stands up for me and says to my boss, “No, that’s not right at all. This young man is very helpful and took care of me-unlike anyone else. I think I’ll change my mind on making such a large seafood order tonight.”

The assistant store director pulls me aside and says, “You are most definitely getting written up for this incident and for disciplinary action, you will stock the entire boxed gelatin aisle all by yourself from now on.”

The gentleman overhears and is even angrier on my behalf as he says pushing away his loaded shopping cart, “Oh really, since you are going to treat him that way, I’m canceling my revolving credit account. Take me to customer service immediately!” The gentleman then tells me, “Good luck young man, I wish you could serve me again, but I’m not shopping here anymore and neither will any of my business partners.”

The store director looks at me with anger and says, “This disgusting incident will not be forgotten, I promise you that. Because of your subversive behavior, I’m going to make your life here a living hell. And if you quit it would greatly pleasure me to watch you struggle to find a job elsewhere in this economy.”

I sulk, then begin to stock the boxed gelatin filled with even more anxiety, not only about violence from the cook but also job security.

At dinner time I clock out and buy a cup of Senor Rico rice pudding and a pint bottle of Borden Milk. I sit on the terrace and think about my girlfriend. For once, I have the break area to myself but I am so filled with anxiety to enjoy the peace. All too quickly my dinner break ends and I clock back in.

The work is difficult and tedious, but finally, I have the shelves stocked. Now I need to front and block the whole aisle.

I see the janitor walking by and he tells me, “Go home and spend time with your girl, I’ll do this for you.”

“Don’t you have a family to go home to?” I ask him.

“No, I’m in the country all by myself, but I need to send all the money I can back home, so my wife can eat well and our baby will be healthy.”

He then shows me a picture on his phone of his pregnant wife in a nightgown and says, “Isn’t she beautiful when she glows? I can’t wait to be a poppa.”

I nod, then say, “All right, you may front and block for me.”

“Good, because the boss man went home for the evening, so this will be our little secret. Just remember to always love your girl and treat her right. If you do, she will bring you plenty of joy.”

I nod. We shake hands and I go clock out.

Finally, I leave the store, fire up my old Toyota and head to my girlfriend’s parents’ house in the suburbs.

Upon my arrival, we embrace and kiss under the glow of a street-lamp.

“Let’s go to your house,” She says looking at me with puppy dog eyes.

My job may be God awful, but the love my girlfriend gives me is worth it and so much more…

Back to “Grocer and Writer” Stories

A Brief Proposal to Improve the Health of Truckers

I wrote the bulk of this yesterday evening (November 8, 2019) while going through some pretty bad back pain…

 

In my early teens, I had wanted very badly to be a long haul truck driver when I grew up.

It would have been a dream job for me.

It would have been a dream job because I was frequently studying and memorizing road maps to the point where my classmates referred to me as a “human GPS”, whenever we went on a field trip. I was just as eager to ride out the routes of which I had memorized on the maps I was studying. Around the age of fourteen, I was beginning to discover my interest in radio communications. I knew for some time that truckers used Citizen’s Band Radios or “CB” to communicate with each other. Around ages sixteen and seventeen my interest in railroads was starting to come back and I was also gaining an interest in marine logistics. Both railroad and marine workers also used their own dedicated radios to communicate with. At age seventeen I just knew I would have some sort of job in the transportation and logistics industries.

But then at seventeen and a half, I suffered a mental breakdown and would have to be medicated for the rest of my life.

These medications automatically disqualify me from all transportation jobs.

I never thought to use my writing as a way to earn money and I have yet to earn a single red cent from writing, by the way.

I eventually earned a diploma in HVAC, which is very hard to do with the medications I took and I also sustained a back injury in 2014, which made everything worse. The best I could possibly do is work at an HVAC or Electrical Supply company if I were to go back to work in the HVAC field.

Here is something I’ve noticed though:
Just about every truck driver I came across wound up on disability anyway.

Usually, it is because they have developed severe back pain, metabolic or cardiovascular diseases.

Truckers get severe back pain from sitting in the same position for hours to days on end. That also causes them to develop metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, because of the lack of physical activity, but also from having an energy-rich but nutrient poor diet due to constantly eating out.

My own back is hurting me as I type this and actually it was the back pain that inspired this piece.

The trucking industry is a very important aspect of the American and global economies, and that its personnel are very much needed to sustain life as we know it.

However, with many truckers ending up on disability before retirement age (and also having a poor quality of life after retirement), this puts a great strain on the already ailing healthcare system. And it will hinder the path to solvency for Social Security. I will go as far as to say that it is a heavy contributor to the already severe opioid crisis.

There is no easy nor comprehensive solution to this issue.

However, there is something, I think, that can reduce the problem at least a little.

What if, there was a national chain of truck stops that offered healthy meals buffet style?

The food offered could be fresh and steamed vegetables, grilled or baked lean meat and seafood, legumes and fresh fruits for both juice drinks and desserts.

No soft drinks, no fried food, no excessive use of salt, not an overabundance of animal fat and no overly sugary desserts would be available, though.

And the one dining could pay a flat rate for all you can eat.

Basically, I am expanding on the idea of Subway.

It could also be a nice place for those on disability who go eat out when they get their pension payments. It could be like a combination of Cracker Barrel, Ryan’s, Shoney’s and The Golden Corral, but with only healthy food comparable to that of Subway, but actual plate entree`s instead of just sandwiches. I myself am disabled due to several mental issues and, guess what: a back injury!  Anyway, I would love to eat at such a place! I know I would probably eat more than my fair share of green beans there though if such a place actually existed.

But then to further help the situation, there could be exercise rooms with gym memberships, possibly paid for on the company dime. This could save the company a lot of money in the long term and would allow for a healthier workforce.

Durn it, my back is killing me!

I hope to further elaborate on this in the near future, at least on my blog…

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