Friday, April 01, 2005

Pretend To Be An Employee

I got home later than usual last night from a nice afternoon of playing something I like to call, "Pretend to be an employee."

This week I've been wearing a blue vest with various smiley face buttons clipped on it - including my favorite "Ask me! I can help!" button that I came across in a parking lot months ago - and loitering around the gardening/flower display outside the store proper. Kinda like a shark slowly swimming around waiting for a hapless victim to venture in too close. So today, I'm poking around the cheap die-in-a-couple-of-weeks potted flowers section and here comes today's helping of mid-60's tuna.

I turn to face her, yet keep my attention on something to the side (this I find allows the person to fully view my official looking uniform as they walk toward me, giving them ample time to talk themselves out of asking the dreaded "do you work here" question).

"Excuse me," she says.

"Yes, may I help you?" That greeting usually zaps any lingering doubts about my employment.

"How much are the blue and white arrangements," she asks. It's show time!

"Hmm, yes. Those are beautiful, aren't they? And so popular. Let's see...what time do you have?" Now, this usually throws them into an automatic response mode that involves looking at their wristwatch and giving the current time. Luckily, she was wearing a watch. I hate it when this is not the case, as I have to improvise phase two.

"Um, I have...4:02," she reports precisely.

"Ah, it's past 4... Well, that means those are free for the rest of the day."

"Free?"

"Yes. In fact, if you select a blue and white arrangement, you're allowed another free selection..." Now, at this point, it's important to keep them thinking and not reasoning. "...but the second one can NOT be another blue and white one."

"I can have two for...for free?"

"I thought you said it was past 4?"

"Well, yes, but..."

"You said it's past 4 and if it's past 4, then they are. It's past 4, right?"

At this point, I could have spun her around and gently pushed her into on-coming traffic without resistance. This is the moment I work for, the crescendo, the moment of climax.

She does a quick re-check of the time and looks at the flowers. She begins to look for the best ones.

"Well, okay, if you say so."

I'm tingly all over as she snatches up one arrangement and heads off to find her second free arrangement. I stand there, happily smiling at her, then waving as she walks away to her car.

My job here is done. I head for home feeling fulfilled but hungry for dinner.

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About Me, Not You

I was christened Wannahockaloogy by our tribal leader. He was a bitter old man with throat cancer who believed that, to truly hock a loogie, one must not retrieve the phlegm from the throat, but from the soul. His weakened, delirious state made it easy for me to overthrow him and seize control. Now, I am the chief and I have internet access. Beware, delirious smoking populace. Beware.