All you need is shopping – Chapter two

All you need

 

All you need

Preview

 

All you need

The new digital clock casts on the ceiling the time: half past three in the morning. I observe my toes and then the blanket on the floor that feel off while I looked for a comfortable position. I get up with my torso, yawn, throw my legs off of bed and look for my slippers in the dark tapping the floor with the point of my feet. I stretch and get up, take my bottle of water and sip some of it. I slowly walk towards the closet; I open it.

The closet my soul’s extension; I protect the things I accumulate. In front of my eyes lies my watch’s empty box. To surprise your friends and for your own pleasure, was written as the caption.

The silence of the night amplifies everything. Turning on my lighter echoes in the courtyard while I open the curtains, and the cigarette buts shine to the windows as if they were stars in a cemented sky. Everyone either has an alarm clock with a laser projector that doesn’t let them rest or has thousands of existential problems that run inside their minds.

Some continuous whispering resonates like rain. My neighbor from stairs B greets me, and I reply by showing him my cigarette. We communicate through gestures, with no apparent reason, as if we were about to commit a crime. At this time, we should be sleeping, but I look out the window almost hoping that something would take me away; but that’s impossible, and this courtyard is too narrow.

I wander around the house in a state of half-awareness. I drink a glass of water and make some coffee, steal the potassium from a banana and go to the bathroom. I get dressed and head down the stairs.

It’s cold. Old Lanos’ thermometer says it’s zero degrees outside. I heat up the engine and leave. There’s no traffic and the traffic lights don’t rest, even though they’re flashing orange. The traffic lights, silent arbitrators of modern chaos, have the language of colors in their souls, like a dog that barks, a cat that meows and a human that speaks. Sometimes, I stare at them, daydreaming that I’m penetrating into the universe of their chromatic language. I have a tendency of thinking that they want to share a secret. Often, I see them crying.

It’s still dark when I arrive at the shopping center. I walk along the area’s perimeter, but I don’t find a parking spot in the passageway 3A. I give up. I access the square and park my raft, even if I don’t have the right to leave it there.

I get in via the magazine; my colleagues are unloading the perishable products. The truck has the luggage door up and I have to bend so I can pass through, while the workers verify the packages that have been turned in. While they’re working, for self-mockery, I greet them indicating the cross. Castellazzi, the window dresser, follows me without me realizing it. Faithful as he is, he gets on his knees while staring at me and indicates it as well.

I am in the water department. I divide the laic water from the one that brings the saints’ names with it. It’s a plastic department: while cleaning the shelves, I fill entire carts with plastic wrap. Then, it all finishes with the act of pressing the cardboard. The trash just an urban legend.

Mechanic silence reigns around me. I go to the restroom. On the wooden door, I can read the same taunting words as always written by us as proof that our era existed. Among them, Vacca’s name stands out. Often, and more often, I speak with my memory of him; not only when I visit him at the cemetery.

 

Dear Vacca, your absence is becoming a presence. Sometimes, it’s almost like an obsession. I’ve always been the dumbest out of us three – Manolo used to say that – do you remember? Perhaps, I still am as of today. I’m sure that you’re laughing: I do too, it’s just a way for you to keep us company.

 

Two hours already went by. The secretary and official sales representative of BellaGente supermarkets from the Virtue Group, Alberta, makes an opening announcement that takes us by surprise. I run to the electric fence and turn the key; the engine slowly starts up with its defining metallic noise. The shoes of the director and the new staff manager, Dr. Gagliardo Guidozzi, appear. It all ends for me right here. He got in a few months ago, but this is the first time I actually see him in person.

– Good morning, Canapone – greets my director. I answer with a nod, hiding myself behind preventive muteness. – Do you already know Dr. Guidozzi? – she asks. I shake my head.

– Greetings, Canapone – exclaims the staff manager, – I finally get to meet you. I’ve heard a lot of things about you, not always positive. I am here to get to know you better.

I follow the director and the staff manager into the lecturing room, called sacristy by us, a hole inside of the basement. They even make me sit down. They get out and go buy some coffee from the vending machine. They start with a break, but it’s only a strategy. I know their ways. They leave in order to organize a plan and leave me alone to fry up in the holy oil. The staff manager comes back, followed by the director. They indirectly start a conversation. It’s him who’s talking:   – Very well, Canapone, I see that for a normal reproach like this one, you did not take advantage of the federation of the union.

The director answers for me, – He doesn’t have a federation anymore. They got rid of him.

He goes on, – Canapone, don’t you think that twenty-one complaining calls to the toll-free number are a bit too much? I am led to believe that you, who has gotten rid of from the union, just want to draw attention? Canapone, nobody even ‘follow’ you anymore.

The director once again answers for me, – Canapone claims that it was him who decided to leave the federation, because it got involved with us.

– Canapone, I beg you, keep me from giving you a long speech – replies the manager while looking at me. Then, he was interrupted by a phone call and excuses his way out.

I give a slight grin about the manager’s preparations that doesn’t escape the director’s watchful eye: – Canapone, what is there to laugh about? You can also say ‘follow.’ Both ways are correct. Plus, can’t a staff manager take permits?

I raise my arms in sign of defeat, saying that in come cases amnesties are more useful than permits. She tries to keep herself together, contracting her jaws and uselessly putting a hand over her mouth.

The staff manager comes back, – Why is he laughing?

– No reason, doctor. Canapone is the usual slacker, we were talking about conjugations – responds the director.

– Why, are you going to get married?

This time it was her who burst with obnoxious laughter, daughter of the one she kept to herself last time.

– What did I say?

Guidozzi was perplexed. I assume it’s the most undeserved expression possible.

– Please, director, not you, too!

– Pardon, doctor.

– Pardon my butt! Let’s speak clearly, misses, I have just arrived and don’t want to be misunderstood: any carelessness or defect, on any level, will not be tolerated anymore. The first ones to show integrity, but at the same time inflexibility towards the workers, have to be you directors, okay? I won’t do anything to those in charge of marketing, those who are department supervisors, sectors managers or directors, if you remember! I won’t have any mercy, misses!

– Did you hear that, Canapone? – she said looking at me – Be a serious person!

– Canapone, let’s go back to the problem at hand – he resumes. – Twenty-one calls, are you serious? Plus, who knows how many more customers they skipped. Do you find it fun to torment people?

– Dr. Guidozzi – she continues, – Canapone has an artistic soul. He lives out of our time, the usual melancholic and miserable good-for-nothing. Just to think that he wants to battle against Nix…

She was touching some sensible topics. I remain calm. I move on the chair and stare at her with an indifferent look. She tries to deliver the fatal blow, – That’s right, doctor. He wants to prove that Nix does not exist!

– Oh, really? So, Canapone, you actually think that Nix doesn’t exist?

– Exactly – she answered.

– The Nix is the image of our company, it’s our vision!

I continue to look at them silently, seraphically and indifferently. Guidozzi smacks his lips; he stares at me while fidgeting with his thumbs. His look is concerned. He’s thinking: – Perfect, silence gives admission…

– Canapone – said the director, – I beg you, it’s embarrassing. You are out of place. You come here to work; we are in a supermarket. – Then, she directs to the manager, – Do you see what I’ve been telling you? I think that Canapone has some problems, Dr. Guidozzi.

– I think so too. Canapone, you are being disloyal to the company, and trustworthiness is a fundamental concept. I feel the weight of your families on my shoulders. Do not bother the customers, Canapone, don’t forget that: they are giving us work. They’re the ones who allow us to have a salary. Above all, don’t ever doubt the existence of Nix ever again. Nix is all of us, Nix is everywhere; Nix is even you who believes that he doesn’t believe in him. This is for your own good. You can go now.

I head to the restoration room and take out a common cigarette. Everyone leaves one for the others so that we don’t get hit with abstinence. The addiction unifies more people than solidarity. After the cigarette, I get up and order the carts left around by the customers. There’s a boy who’s about eight years old that pulls on my shirt.

 

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All you need

 

All you need

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