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Phyllis Jean Green

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Books by Phyllis Jean Green
Scrawny Kid Clerked at Thrifty
By Phyllis Jean Green
Posted: Thursday, November 06, 2008
Last edited: Thursday, November 06, 2008
This short story is rated "PG13" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Phyllis Jean Green
· Euceless Laughs, Y O U Laugh {Capice?}
· This is Your Lucky Day by Euceless Liesalot
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· Courting Able
           >> View all 7
Redundant re poetry post, yes. Need feedback, and for the moment, I'm pretty attached to the tale. Hope it makes people want to read the {whacked-out} book that I hope to finish before the end of the year. Make that have to!! Thanks for being here. May you be blessed a million times over, Phyllis

           Scrawny Kid Clerked at Thrifty  
     {In Memoriam - from  Tell me I am Crazy,
           Entries by a Mad Woman {sic}
. . .woman who bought nine fly-swatters
because they were on sale.  Little sisters
tottered in every Friday night,  hatted,
veiled, gloved, and sweetly smiling,
to coo for pints of Fleischmann's gin
to slip into dark purses.  In the back
by the cooler I stood in one night
so I could stand my blistered feet --
different story -- a bellied cop knocked
back free Buds to wash down his Milky
Ways. Warm out, he'd shuffle out to
trade quips with a wino kept house between
trash cans and a busted ice machine.
Up front, Maude, snow finger-waves
scalloping her Coty-powdered face -- thick,
unplucked brows penciled brown above
browner eyes that were known to shock
by softening -- ran Cosmetics, and don't
forget it.. Coup de grace, Stoplight
lipstick bought on sale less her discount.
Maude raced to the air conditioner between
customers.  I raced  to turn it back up.  
Dutch.  Who could forget Dutch?  Five-four
stick figure, bald as the glass on the cigar case.  
Hopped, never walked.  All snappy come-backs
and snickering asides.  Asking for ice cream,
got,  "What color?"  Want a rat-tail comb or tube
of Brylcreem, or one of those, ahem,  red rubber
bags?   "What flavor?" he would say, elfish mug
puckered into the grin to beat all.  During lulls,
Dutch  rattled down a hole to order, count, phone,
and mortar and pestle pills. Some said sample.  
Stayed Dutch, who cared?    Wait for Dutch, men,
especially, demurred.  Where'd Dutch get off
to?    'Time did Dutch say he's coming back?
No one can make you laugh like Dutch can.
I confess.  I loved Dutch.  Like him, I loved
watching  people agonize between Bayer and
X.  Seeing who bought insulin, who got caught
by a radio ad for Carter's Little Liver Pills.
Who turned out double edged,  who single.
Why did that man buy those enormous boxes
of Kotex?  I loved to make up stories to go
with each one.  I loved feeling my fingers fly
over the keys of a big, racket making
register with National in curlicues, top and
bottom.  Watching the drawer pop open,
kaching!    All that money!   I loved adding
and multiplying in my head.   Being right!  
It was me dusted and rearranged the glass-
dividered bins.  Helped take inventory,  too.   
Hated, hated, to go home.   Warm salty cashews
and goobers revolved,  begging to be sneaked.
Slip onto that tall stool, if it was just Maude
and me.  Dutch wouldn't tell.  Now, Mr. Vic,
the manager.  Man acted like he  owned
the place.  Fresh Cadillacs and furred-to-
the-nines wife number three said he might.  
He was king of Beer and Spirits.  Saturday
nights, men sidled back to him to ssssssssss
for Trojans.  "I only yell at people I like,"  
he yelled when he saw I had shiny eyes.
"Haven't figured that out yet?"  That snake Jet
was a different story.  Part-time or no one
could have stood him.  Slithered to Tobacco
or across to Sundries to stare at my breasts.
Then his water-colored eyes sliiiiiiid down.
Moved so close, the starch in his pinching
smock sickened.   Breath like mint-and-
Camel-rolled sausage.   Except for Jet,
except for the times Maude snapped
because I sold a jar of cold cream, except
for getting caught taking too long a break
at the greasy spoon across the alley --   person
had to have a smoke, didn't she -- the little
drugstore  out on Central Ave was on a par
with alone in Washington Park in the rain
or spreadeagling on a towel on a friend's
rich-as-sin aunt's patio, yakking about every-
thing and everybody.  Like those nice regulars.
Most, anyway.  "Family."  Dutch said we were
"Family."   I had only been gone an hour
the night robbers scared Maude and Dutch
by making them lie face down by the cooler,
not move.  Didn't get hurt, but. . .place felt
different.  It was almost a relief to have to go
to that cheap work-study a counselor swore
was accredited.   Guess what?  Maude yelled
"Meet me downtown."  I was afraid she'd drag
me to church, but I went. . .and she bought
me a pair of loafers!    Real leather ones!
Maude was the one wrote.  Never forget.

(c) Phyllis Jean Green,  November, 2008

            A l .l .  R i g h t s  . R e s e r v e d

                         Thank you!


Reader Reviews for "Scrawny Kid Clerked at Thrifty"

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Reviewed by Debra Conklin 10/10/2009
The thing about retail (of which I've spent over 20 years of my life) is that your customers become as familiar to you as family. At times, more so b/c you sometimes see them more than your family. What a nice array of personalities you've written about here.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 11/6/2008
Great story, Pea; brava!

And yes, I want a copy of that book, and so does Karla!!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D X0X0X0

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