Author's Notes: Another month, another story. Plus I'm experiencing some writer's block with Take My Fucking Hand. So I hope this with tide you over for a while.
I smiled as I wrote my staff recommendation card. My very first staff recommendation card, to be exact. I had spent days thinking about which books and CDs were worth my recommendation. For CDs I had to make sure it was nothing to mainstream (I wasn't wasting a card on the new Fall Out Boy CD) but also nothing too out there. I settled on Transatlanticism, one of Death Cab for Cutie's older albums. It was the perfect medium. I tapped my chin thoughtfully with a pen.
Ben Gibbard's dulcet tones carry the band's album to top the charts. The perfect blend of poetic lyrics with a pop-ish harmonies all to a killer back beat. Overall a great album. I wrote.
My smile grew into a grin as I signed it with a flourish.
Franny Covert, Cashier
Now for books: nothing too clichéd. Catcher In the Rye was out, and with a name like mine unfortunately so was Franny and Zooey. It was probably best to have no JD Salinger at all. I ruled out all guilty pleasures like Shopaholic and the Princess Diaries. Anything too cutesy or teeny bopper. I smiled as my mind fell on the perfect book. Sloppy Firsts. Angsty but not too much. Funny, but the witty, politically and socially aware kind of humor. It was perfect.
Megan McCafferty writes of Jessica (Notso) Darling, a sixteen year old suffering the pains of going through high school. Hyperobservant and witty, Jessica Darling lets us into a world of crushes, The Clueless Crew and not so typical teen angst. My very favorite book.
I grabbed copies of the book and CD and taped my recommendation to them and set them neatly on the Staff Picks display table.
Humming to myself I shelved books. I looked up as the bells jingled on the door.
Jack walked in, his usual smirk accompanying his bed ragged look. His dark hair was tousled, his unusually bright green eyes were peering out of wire rimmed glasses, his green button up shirt was wrinkled and his jeans seemed to be ripping at every seam.
"Nice of you to show up." I said sarcastically.
"Yeah, I thought so too." He replied. He was looking at the staff picks. Why was he looking at the staff picks? "Well, lookee here. You've finally added yours, Franny."
I blushed, not really sure why I was. Who cared if he saw what my favorite CD and book were? "Yep. Listen, Frank ordered a huge shipment from Victory Records, could you shelve them for me?"
If he heard me, he paid no attention, "Ben Gibbard's dulcet tones carry the band's album to the top of the charts." He sing songed. "The perfect blend of poetic lyrics with a pop-ish harmonies all to a killer back beat."
I knew my face was bright red now. I realized how stupid and trite my words sounded. How silly they sounded when read out loud. Had I honestly written killer? I didn't even use stupid slang like that.
"Overall a great album." He concluded, in that soft, sarcastic tone. "Wow, I'm going to have to check that one out, huh, Franny?"
"If you want to." I huffed angrily. He always did this. Made me feel like an ignorant child. It was ridiculous, I was smarter than him. I was in more advanced classes, I was politically aware, up on pop culture. And yet, he always made me feel inferior.
What was so great about him? As far as I knew he was as opinion-less as John Kerry. He was consistently late to work (and only still had his job because he was the owner's son) and was down right rude to the customers. He mocked their CD and book choices, but so subltly that most of them hardly noticed. But had I ever seen him crack open a book? Or listen to a CD? No. On his break he would shoot rubber bands at a marker he placed on the top of the doorway.
Too cool, let me tell you.
He ran a hand through his hair (making it look even messier then ever, probably the desired effect), "What's wrong? I'm just listening to your recommendation. Let's put it over the PA system so the whole store can hear what Franny Covert thinks is cool enough to recommend."
I rolled my eyes, "Whatever you want. So are you going to shelve that shipment?"
He raised a dark eyebrow, "Want to play a little with lady luck?"
"Excuse me?" I asked bemused.
He pulled out a deck of cards. "What's your game? Texas Hold 'Em? Blackjack?"
"Jack! Put the cards away! We have a ton of work to do! I've been working alone all morning and now you've got to help out!" I exclaimed.
The corner's of his mouth turned up, "Wow, sorry to have left you alone on such a," He glanced around the totally empty store, "busy morning."
"It doesn't make a difference how busy it is! You sign up for hours you work them, that's just the way it is." I replied.
"So, blackjack it is then?" He said ignoring me and began to deal the cards.
"Put the cards away, god damnit! Just because you're the fucking boss's son you think you can do anything!" I yelled.
I stared at him waiting for a reaction. I didn't get one. He looked at me, his face unreadable, picked up his cards and walked out of the store.
Twenty minutes later he returned with a café latte from Starbucks for me. He bent down and helped me shelve for the rest of the day. We didn't talk the whole time.
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