Cast and customers – chapter two

cast and customers




The contact with the public was intriguing and perverse. Clients were obsessed with the gift stamps: the more they bought, the more points they collected. Paradoxically, they knew that those discounts were only presumptuous. They asked the amount of their grocery shopping, so that if they didn’t get to the right amount, they would have bought something else to reach it. It was fundamental to let them become addicted, sealed by a shopping card.

The idea of loyalty had its pleasant aspects. A young woman, married with two kids, came to shop every early morning. She came in and greeted everyone. She stopped in front of the mirror in the underwear sector and looked at herself, she unhooked the fourth button of her blouse, showing a generous decolletage. Despite this, she seemed annoyed if you greeted her when she came with her husband.

All of us would have awarded her very pleasantly. Mr. About took a fancy to her; the director, instead, thought she stole perfumes and makeup. She made love with her husband – maybe – and weighed the already priced meat on the scales of the fruit and vegetable sector, under the headline escarole. I saw her and called her Miss Escarole. She knew I wouldn’t have betrayed her, and smiled at me maliciously, showing me some centimeters of her tits.

It was a sort of game. It was a stage. We created pastimes for the clients, and occasionally, they did something in return.

Sometimes one is an anvil; some other times, a hammer. One day, who would know, the lady would have hammed me, instead of Mr. About.

I accompanied clients to the escalator with my eyes. From the window, I saw a man walking his dog; doctor Carloni was heading back to his office, the secretaries who worked in the insurance office were coming out from the bar, having fun.

Everything was fine for the communal agency of transportation, because the means of transports were full. Everything was alright.

During my lunch break, I was going around without a prefixed destination. My colleagues were heading back home to have lunch, while I usually came to the bar and stared at the Pirelli calendars, noticing that a year was actually made of twelve months.

Miss Big Bottle, the whiniest among our clients, was complaining with the bartender, like every single day after lunch, because her expresso was too hot. Knowing her, I sympathized with the poor man, giving him looks of understanding.

Words were useless as my actions were; I had the impression of losing time. Everyone was in a rush. Suddenly, something grabbed me… yes! It was her: the girl with the dimples on her cheeks!

She was walking fast towards the bus stop. I couldn’t follow her zigzag among the cars that were stopped because of the traffic light. When I decided to tail her, the green light suddenly appeared. I could have seen it as a sign of destiny, but I didn’t want to force anything, because she was going to work, and that was her daily path. I walked away, thinking about her. She looked like Belinda Carlisle, the Californian singer. I decided to wait for her the next morning. I didn’t use to listen to Carlisle’s music, but I wanted to follow the Carlisle in her.

I got back to work. I was waiting for Belinda, but the Cat came in. She greeted me without even moving her lips, pronouncing an H-L-O instead of an opened and solar hello.

The Cat kept on repeating that she didn’t want to consider herself a colleague of a retarded like me. One time she attacked me together with the Baron, her CISL trade unionist, because I mocked her.



Read chapter four




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