Saturday, May 10, 2008

Human Feces: Cool, Cigarette Butts: Not

We have some pretty odd regulars at work and there is a pair that is almost certifuckingfiably crazy. This is a story about them. The woman we call Danielle Steele cause every time she comes into the store (which is multiple times a week) she asks if the shitball author has any new books out. She's an older lady with a fondness for bright, pastel-colored stretch pants and funky floral pattern shirts. Ms. Steele is a little overweight and dumpy as well and if you're the unlucky employee whom she selects to badger for half hour blocks, your day quickly turns to shit.
Danielle Steele is married to a short, scrawny rat looking motherfucker who we have no clever name for yet. He's just referred to as Danielle Steele's husband. And he has the same habit of annoying the shit out of you as his wife. One time I was telling some of my friends on the job about how I just helped some reformed hippie rocking Brooks Brothers gear and finished the thought with, "Those assholes are probably gonna vote for Clinton. The irony is that when they were younger and hadn't sold out their beliefs Barak would've been their boy." Mr. Steele overheard this and, I shit you not, for 20 minutes gushed over Obama. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get away and eventually a manager saw the spectacle and paged me over the PA just to get me the fuck outta there.
They never buy anything but, like so many others, treat the store as their own personal fucking library slowly creeping through whatever the latest dumbass mass market trash novel by the latest dumbass mass market trash author has shat out and published. Oh, and they frequently like to bitch about stupid shit like magazine subscription cards littering the cafe or even the fact that there is nowhere for them to sit. Which brings us to our story.
One night, around the holidays, my buddy Anthony and I were just trying to kill time before we close, jawing about music when the manager on duty, Jabbar, let's out the most pathetic fucking sigh imaginable before saying, "All right, guys. I'm going up on the list for a while with this one." We have a list in the back office that you get to sign when you have executed a rather disgusting task. 9 times out of 10 it involves something in the bathroom.
Anthony and I looked at each other puzzled. We've both have had to clean up some nasty business in the store but never thought that any of the chores would bring the epic ammount of immunity Jabbar had just claimed. So, I asked.
"Jabbar, what could be so revolting that you get to pull yourself off bathroom duty?"
"Jay, just trust me on this one. I'm really taking one for the team here." Now, I had moved from a state of slight curiosity an almost obsessive need to know just what the hell was going on. So, I prodded him for more information and he dropped the bomb.
"I'm about to clean up a huge pile of mushy shit that someone left next to the toilet, okay? So, I hope nobody needs me for the next 20 minutes."
20 minutes! Whoah, this had to be an epic deuce. Anthony and I decided that we had to check this out (hey, I used to clean the bathrooms at Fitz so nothing shocks me) and felt we should help Jabbar out.
Upon entering the bathroom, we find Jabbar with the look of a man who is teetering on the brink of giving up all hope in humanity. Imagine William S. Burroughs with a frown and you've got a good idea. Then we see the...well...shit.
It was in the handicapped stall (why does everyone feel the need to do the most horrendous stuff in the handy-stall? I guess I can understand because, you know, you've got plenty of room but think about the intended users of the facility and ask yourself if you could defile it as well) and there was a pretty sizable mound. And Jabbar was right about the mushy part. You could just tell. The deuce looked like a pile of baby food that had solidified in the fridge and was in between a discarded containter of Chinese food and a stomped out Newport.
After gloving up and taking a couple of the to be discarded display posters from the back we get to work on shoveling the pile onto the posters and into the toilet. As we're standing above the john, ready to deposit what should have been left in there in the first place, Danielle Steele's husband comes in.
His eyes laser in on an object on the floor. His iron steel gaze soon gives way to shock, then horror and then outrage. He is shaking he is so furious. We got the dookie hovering above the bowl, a second shy of dumping it in, when he explodes.
"THAT'S A CIGARETTE BUTT! YOU CAN'T SMOKE IN A BOOKSTORE. THAT CAN'T BE THERE. THAT IS A CIGARETTE BUTT!" The three of us give each other a "what the fuck" look and Jabbar nods down to the floor. We ease the posters filled with fecal matter down to the floor and he delicately grabs the Newport butt, gently tosses it in the toilet, flushes and flashes one of the most brilliant "fuck you" smiles I have ever seen. Mr. Steele unleashes a heavy sigh of relief, wipes his brow and says thanks while throwing his hands up in the air before storming out. We complete our task silently before heading to wash our hands and then back onto the sales floor.
We felt beaten, robbed of any sort of sunny outlook on the world for a few minutes. It's not like anyone ever cleaned up a pile of shit and felt good about themselves or their station in life afterward. It's an an occurance that makes you really say, "Is this really the best that I can do or the best that's out there for me?" Then, of course, Jabbar saw the silver lining in the whole ordeal for the rest of us and brought our spirits back to life.
"'That's a cigarette butt?' What the fuck is wrong with that man. Yeah, a Newport is the problem. Not the steaming pile of shit sitting next to it."
Smiles quickly crept across our faces and suddenly things didn't seem so bad.

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