Categories > Original > Humor1 Reviews
"I'd reached my breaking point--that point of no return when you say to your conscience, 'Caution, meet Wind. Bye bye now.'"
Basically, this is just one scene in my Adventures in Cashiering series.
Bull'sEye, by the way, is intended to be a knock-off of the obvious; that's part of its--dare I say it?--charm. Please take this story on an empty stomach, with a grain of salt or two (and perhaps a marguarita if you're of the proper age). I'm going for style, presentation, and quality here...although that last one, is, I'm sure, quite debatable.
I couldn't believe he was back. Admittedly, some part of me had been hoping he'd return; his smart mouth certainly brought some color into the otherwise red and black world that was Bull'sEye. Last time he was here, the guy had made an instant impression by slyly saying he'd be using my employee discount when I'd asked him the required, "Do you have any Bull'sEye Bonuses or gift cards?"
His attitude had allowed for me to show my own when I scoffed at him, then, remembering myself, gave him some line about being happy to help but doubting Bull'sEye's support in the venture. After all, I didn't want to lose my job.
Not that he really seemed to care whether I did my job or not. His flippant manner reminded me of someone, though I wasn't sure who, and my recent stint into the DC comics fandom had me trying to pin his face to this superhero or that. I had yet to find anyone who fit the bill.
So finding him again at lane 12 wasn't a totally unwelcome surprise.
"Bet you thought you wouldn't be seeing this mug again so soon," he tossed out in what my Southern mind interpreted as a slightly Brooklyn accent as he chucked his toilet paper and hair gel onto the far end of my belt before moving to stand in front of me.
I blinked at him, a bit stunned yet pleased at the same time; I couldn't deny the fact that I had rehashed the encounter in my head more than once since Saturday night, his striking Bruce Wayne blue eyes and somewhat abrasive personality certainly having made an impact.
If I hadn't been currently entranced by the aforementioned enchanting eyes rather than offering a reply, I probably wouldn't have noticed their slight narrowing before a light lit in them as he gave one of those infuriating smirks trademarked by only the most arrogant of the male species before he posed, "Or have you forgotten me so soon? Must be all that Bull'sEye brainwashing," he aimed his left index finger at his head and made that idiotic 'crazy' motion, "mixing you up."
Suddenly feeling the need to work defense, I gave him what I hoped was a discernable withering look as I turned on my natural Southern charm with a sweet smile while my brain calculated the best response: Should I ignore the barb, and appear unfazed? Or should I drop a comeback at the risk of the Front-end Orders and Operations Leader, Chip, hearing? I was pretty sure this guy wasn't the type to retaliate by trying to get me disciplined, but I felt like I had been treading on a thin line lately, as I'd called into work at least once a month since landing the job, and they continuously had to readjust my schedule due to my changing class schedule. I was sure they were starting to tire of having to deal with me, and regardless of my high speed score, something like being deliberately rude and seemingly hostile to a "guest" might just convince them that I really wasn't worth their trouble.
And I needed my job. What with family financial needs, not to mention my own, along with other drains on my wallet, the steady paycheck had become a welcome installment to my insanely busy life.
So I was at a bit of a crux, and considering the expectant look that now accompanied that damnable smirk of his (if it got any larger, his facial muscles were probably going to strain), I didn't really have much time to weigh the conversions and denials.
"No," I finally replied gingerly, "I was thinking." I waved my right hand before the motion sensor, jarring the belt into motion, then glanced down at the double-paneled scanner that sat between us, reminding me again that he was the customer here--always right--and I was just a clerk at Bull'sEye, and therefore, always wrong? I wasn't concerned so much with being right or wrong, but I didn't particularly appreciate being made fun of when I was already trapped in a position of submission. Submission and I have never really gotten along.
"You were thinking...?" he prompted, causing me to glance up in time to see a doubtful look cross his features.
And that was it. Yep, I'd reached my breaking point--that point of no return when you say to your conscience, "Caution, meet Wind. Bye bye now." If I were Kryptonian, this would have been a point at which I encountered red kryptonite, and said kryptonite would have probably been located somewhere on the guy. And then there would have been a major fall out, and I would have "showed my ass" as my grandmother would so eloquently put it, before trying to come to grips with whatever massive repercussions my transgressions had caused.
Luckily for me (and readers everywhere), I'm not Kryptonian, and thus, didn't have to worry about such...so long as my self-restraint kicked in at some point. Hopefully before I leapt over the counter and started strangling the guy.
Clickity click. Clickity click.
My attention was drawn downwards, where I saw the fingers of his right hand drumming against the upper panel of my scanner.
Ah, right. There was a point to all those Superman references. "I was just thinking," I repeated letting a dollop of sugar syrup seep into my voice. Grabbing for the hair gel that had been in reach for a few seconds now, thanks to that handy belt, I swiped it over my scanner, "that you remind me of someone." I moved the gel back and forth, trying to get the UPC to register to no avail.
"Is that right?" he asked, like he knew I was shitting him.
Which I was, sort of, considering I didn't really know who he reminded me of. I'd already dismissed the most arrogant of hotheaded superheroes, including Batman and the Green Arrow, and after the biggies of the Golden Age, the badasses of DC were kind of few and far between. But I thought maybe if you slid a mask over his eyes--something like Zorro's--and tossed on a body suit, maybe, just maybe...and there he was.
The hair gel banged loudly against the scanner panel, and, previous ownership of Caution by Wind still in effect, I slipped out with, "You're a Dick!" in an excited matter-of-fact tone that expressed the pleasure of my revelation.
His smirk fell for a second, momentarily replaced by a stunned expression that soon gave way to bemused--and perhaps impressed?--amusement.
Well, it was about this time that Caution managed to extract itself from Wind, and the fact that I'd just inadvertently insulted a customer slammed into me. I like to think it takes a lot to fluster me; most of the time I can keep my cool. And while this guy had ruffled my feathers a bit with his annoying backtalk the first time around, my blunder had me in a red-cheeked near-sputtering state. "I mean," my throat cleared, and I grabbed the gel from the panel with my left hand while snatching the scanning wand with my right to keep myself from fidgeting (or having to look at him), "Dick Grayson. You know, Nightwing. You-uhh look a lot like him." Great, now I was practically stammering and going on about Dick Grayson as though he was "this guy I went to high school with. You know, the crime-fighting acrobat!"
Oh yeah, I was really holding my cool.
He actually did look like a real-life incarnate of Nightwing though, sans the skin-tight outfit, mask, and brooding demeanor nearly rivaling that of Bruce Wayne. He even had the right build and slightly overlong short hair.
Clearing my throat again, I informed the hair gel as I angled my wand over it and pulled the trigger, "I was thinking Bruce Wayne at first, because of the eyes. Or maybe Clark Kent," I kept changing angle of the wand, trying to get the laser to scan the barcode, but the department store gods were having none of it, so I rambled on, "but I doubt anyone would mistake you for a boy scout, so then I was considering Oliver Queen, but you're not blonde, and well, anyone'd be hard-pressed to be as ornery as Ollie." Disgusted by the gel's lack of cooperation, I slung the wand back into its cradle and stepped over to the register itself so I could key in the code.
Four six two nine zero zero zero nine three sev--
"So I'm a superhero?" My inner recital of the UPC was interrupted as he stepped to the receiving counter, his watchful eyes causing me to key in a couple of extra sevens and anger the Register.
Clearing the screen, I looked up for the first time since embarrassing myself. He was grinning this time--not just a smirk, and before I had the chance to flounder for a reply, he commented, "Better than Billy Joe Armstrong," as though he had been weighing the worth of my observation.
Well, that wasn't so bad. And he was right, he did sort of favor Billy Joe Armstrong without all the eyeliner and preachiness.
I laughed lightly, hoping he'd just let me get through the rest of the transaction in peace. Turning to the Register again, I started rekeying the UPC. "Will you be paying credit or debit?" I asked after a moment, trying to move us both back into business mode.
He mumbled something about using debit and not wanting a "soul draining" store credit card, then slid his card into the machine as I finished ringing in the hair gel.
Once the afflicting gel was bagged, I scanned the toilet paper easily and uneventfully before slipping it in the bag as well. "Your total is eight forty-three," I announced in my pleasant cashier tone.
He made a face like he wanted to give me a hard time about the total and maybe attempt to swindle my employee discount again, but he held back as he approved the total on the card reader's LCD panel so the transaction could be completed.
Though slightly disappointed at his sudden change in character, I certainly didn't intend to complain. I was all but relieved that he was going to let the whole Dick thing go. After all, I doubted he often had insults flung at him by practical strangers who then turned beet red. And he hadn't really insulted me, just baited me really, so he was probably surprised at the turn of events...if a bit confused by the DC references. Well, that was his loss. Besides, he could always turn to Wikipedia like every other knowledge-seeking Net surfer.
So I was feeling pretty good about myself as I had, for the most part, been able to save face and keep my cool while at the same time throwing the guy for a loop, and I had even managed a quick transaction, keeping my good score. Plucking the bag from its holder and tossing it onto the counter as the receipt printed, I glanced at the time, pleased to see that it was almost eight which meant that Chip would be by soon to give me my break, which I seriously needed after the whole groove-upsetting situation. The printer finally sliced the receipt tape free, and I reached up to grab it.
The guy beat me to it, and as I watched him snatch it away, I found myself yet again drawn to those eyes of his that were again mirthful.
"Guess it's time for me to go home and learn a little more about this Nightwing guy. You know, find out how much of a Dick I really am." He grinned broadly, and I could hardly stop the slight unhinging of my jaw. "Unless maybe I can find someone with a superhero obsession around here." Still a bit thrown-off, I stood frozen, letting him take his bag from the counter. "Think I might get lucky?"