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Ray's Big Day Out (pt. 1) by Ray Printer Friendly

“So what do you have planned for tomorrow?” I asked my princess on Friday night.

“Not much. You?”

“Well, it sort of depends…”

“On?”

“Do we have to do wedding stuff?”

“Not if you don’t want to.”

“I would really like to get some writing done. I might go get a new keyboard first thing in the morning, and we can check out that place for your dress alterations, but other than that, I really just want to spend the day writing.”

We’ve both been dedicating a lot of time to this wedding planning stuff, and although it’s not nearly as terrible as I always thought it would be, it’s not my favorite thing to do. My princess can spend hours upon hours searching through wedding stuff on the internet, and that shit drives me crazy, so I can’t help there. But, believe it or not, I’m actually kind of helpful in other ways. The past couple of weekends have been pretty much entirely devoted to getting things together.

“Okay,” she said.

I woke up at ten ‘till six this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I got out of bed at six, made some coffee, and started writing.

I woke her up at nine. By nine-oh-five, she was out standing behind me at my desk.

“We only have a matter of weeks before our wedding,” she said, and I was really glad that I had already had a chance to drink as much coffee as I wanted. “I know you want to spend the day doing your own thing, but we really need to take care of some stuff.”

So I spent the day petulantly whining as we took care of wedding business. Target was my first stop, but that was mostly for basics—soap, cleaner, stuff like that. This teacher supply place was having a big sale, so she had me drop her off while I went in to get the stuff from Target. Because Office Depot was close, I went over there right quick to check for a new computer keyboard. No good, because Office Depot is shameless in their markup. I’ve never noticed it before, and I’m wondering if maybe it’s just this one store, but damn. Keyboards that I had seen other places for $80 were $120. A pack of pens was three dollars higher than at Target. It was weird, and I started feeling a little guilty being in the store, like maybe my body language had somehow suggested that I wanted to pay entirely too much for the same product…like maybe they were right, and I had been asking for it.

I picked up my princess, and mentioned that Target had a large canopy tent on sale. We had been kicking around the idea of getting some sort of big tent to put food under so that seagulls don’t get to it (we’re getting married on a beach), but all the rentals around there seemed were really expensive, so we had sort of discounted the idea. “We should go check it out,” she said, so back we went.

While there, I saw this little kid being chased by what was probably his grandfather. The man wasn’t super old, but he was up there, and he for sure didn’t seem young enough to be engaged in chasing around a little kid through the aisles of a retail store. “Get back here!” He yelled, as he hobbled along with his cane. “You can’t run from me.” The child proved him a blatant liar as he tore-ass through the store, easily evading the old man.

Upon leaving Target, we formulated a plan. “I’m hungry,” I said, because that’s how most of my plans begin.

“Did you want to stop at Circuit City to check for a keyboard?”

“I could. Okay, how about this? We’ll hit Circuit City, then up to the wedding dress place, and then Taco Cabana. That way, if I don’t find anything at Circuit City, I can check at Best Buy and CompUSA while you talk to them about your dress.”

“Okay.”

I found my keyboard at Circuit City, so was extra impatient to get home after that. I didn’t whine about it, though, and even managed to hide my impatience and act like a reasonable adult. We went into the dress place, which was just fucking stupid.

Like, I don’t know, man. More screaming, spoiled-ass kids than a freakin’ Wal-Mart. I was amazed. Screaming, whining, beggin’-for-a-beatin’ kids running rampant, being noisy little shits and raising my hackles like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not exactly sure what hackles are, but I’m assuming they have something to do with suddenly believing that child abuse maybe isn’t such a bad thing. Have you ever seen a nature show, and they talk about how sometimes the head lion will get annoyed with a lion cub and just kill it? I suddenly understood.

I don’t know what any of these mothers were doing in a bridal store, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t the ones getting married—I can’t imagine that any man hates himself enough to marry someone with children like this. And then I started thinking that maybe the guys didn’t know. Like the women were just going to show up at the wedding, and when the guy’s like, “Who are those screaming little devils sitting on the front row?” they’ll be like, “Those are your new kids.”

Shit.

I hung tough, though, until they escorted my princess “to the back.” I don’t go to the back. I started following once, but it’s just too weird. There are just a bunch of chicks standing around in wedding dresses, cackling and talking in that super high-pitch tone that they do when they get excited, and I find it very annoying. Plus, I feel like a pervert, because they’re all being very immodest, lifting things to look at things, and turning to expose things, and it’s just…uncomfortable. I followed my princess until I suddenly found myself surrounded by mirrors—the beginning of “in the back”—and then told her that I would be at the Best Buy next door.

I was looking for some printing paper, and Best Buy didn’t have anything except HP paper, which I thought was stupid. I decided to kill a little time by walking around and observing the groups of Best Buy employees all gathered around each other. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but hot girls make pretty great salespeople. When I worked at Circuit City, it was just ridiculous to watch it. I’m not saying that some of the attractive women weren’t good at selling stuff to begin with, because a few of them were amazing at it.

But there were also some that made record sales without even trying. There was this one girl, she knew absolutely nothing about the sound systems she sold, and she didn’t care to know. She stood around in the back all day reading a book, and she made it known that she was bothered by the customers. Most of the day she wouldn’t work, and then as her shift was nearing an end, she would check her numbers, see how much she needed to sell, and then sell that much.

“How do you do that?” I asked her once.

Like this,” she said, and her face brightened into a cheerleader-style smile, and she was suddenly frighteningly bubbly and air-headed as she said, “Your girlfriend lets you buy stuff like this? Oh, wow—what do you mean, you don’t have a girlfriend? I can’t even believe that! You like this one? Actually, this more expensive one’s better. Why? Because it just is, silly!” And then she leaned over the counter and let her shirt drop open a little.

“The key,” she said, speaking in her normal voice once again, “Is having a loose shirt and wearing a bra that’s a little too big.”

“You flash your tits to make a sale?”

“Of course not—I’m not going to whore myself for this place. Look.”

“Absolutely not.”

“Just look—you can’t see anything, I swear.” And sure enough, she was right—you couldn’t see anything. But it looked like you could.

That’s how you make your numbers?”

“Beats working for ‘em,” she said, and went back to read.

The downside to having attractive saleswomen is that your salesmen are just as easily taken in. Before I get too high up on my horse, I should mention that I met my princess at work. But I didn’t catch her because I fell over myself flirting with her. In fact, I generally hate working with attractive people, because it seems like they don’t pull their share of the weight. Because they’re used to having other people do it for them.

“What was the first thing you thought when you saw me?” my princess asked me once. “Do you remember?”

“Yeah. I thought, ‘Shit, I’m going to have to do all of this girl’s work.’ And then I hoped that maybe you wouldn’t last long.”

“Why would you think that?”

“Because I’ve found that the more attractive a person is, the less work they have to do. I figured you would be one of those people that had never done a day’s work in your life.”

I was proven wrong, of course. That’s the problem with broad generalizations (no pun intended), is that they’re so easily proven wrong.

Anyways, so while I was in Best Buy, I entertained myself by watching all the dorky guy employees flirt with all the hot girl employees. Also, since reading that book Evasion, I’ve really been wanting to steal shit, so I thought about scams.

Other than a brief period when I was in high school, I’ve never stolen stuff. I think it’s wrong to steal, and I find it really hard to trust people who steal. But I’m easily influenced, I guess, and after reading one book that romanticized shoplifting, I’ve really had to fight the urge. Plus, they make it so easy.

I actually mentioned this to my princess as we were walking into Target today.

“Don’t steal stuff—you’d end up in jail.” She’s right, I would.

“Because I’m not good enough?”

“No, because people who steal go to jail. I think you’d be good at it, but the odds won’t play out—you’ll eventually get caught, and it would be stupid to go to jail for that.”

“Maybe. I’m beginning to think that crime pays.”

“Be quiet—there are kids around.”

“It’s good to steal, children,” I said to the group of kids walking into the store beside us. “It’s cheaper than paying, and you’ll get away with it almost all of the time.”

They ignored me, which was probably for the best.


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