Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Coconuts. I can’t believe I worked at a store called Coconuts. The comedy of it hurts too much.

Before starting my online business, I needed money fast. A touristy clothing store right up the street from me was hiring. I figured it would be pretty mindless. (It’s called Coconuts after all. How mentally taxing could it be?)

The clothing was of the garish Jersey shore variety. Beach kitsch fashion at its absolute worst. Coral orange t-shirts with big seashells on them, sweatshirts that read stupid shit like “Gone fishing on Long Beach Island” or “I Left My Heart on LBI.” The kind of clothing worn when you’re interested in watercolor classes or making Rice Krispie treats.

As I stood behind the Coconut’s counter that first day, I wondered how long I’d last. Three weeks? Maybe a month? Knowing me, it wouldn’t be long but I had to stick it out to get one decent paycheck. So I’d keep my big mouth shut and let Clarissa train me.

Ah, sweet Clarissa. Well, okay…she wasn’t sweet at all. Cute as hell but wound up like a constipated nun. 20-something, bobbed black hair, ivory white skin, pursed crimson lips. Focused and almost entirely devoid of humor. She took Coconuts very seriously and felt a great need to impart its importance on me. Good luck, Clarissa, good luck. 

She showed me how to work the cash register, how to treat the customers, how to fold sweatshirts just so--the stuff done in Hell repeatedly, for eternity. But I endured. I can do it. I can do it. One paycheck.

At one point, Clarissa bent over in front of me to pick up some hangers off of the floor. Clarissa has one nice ass. Tight, round, just ripe enough. Ideas raced through my mind that probably never occurred to anyone in the history of Coconuts.

Someone ought to tap that shit, I thought. Somebody ought to grab it and slap it, bite it and kiss it. Someone ought to make that girl blush. Maybe I should be that person. I don’t swing in that direction, but for novelty’s sake, maybe today I would.

Maybe I’d follow Clarissa to the stock room and take one of those hangers and whack! She’d stand there in stunned silence and I would do it again and again until Clarissa realized the vast unimportance of a store called Coconuts.

Poor Clarissa. It seemed almost tragic that such an uptight girl should possess such a fine behind. If she’d just focus on her ass more, let it guide her in life, she’d be far better off. Her tight little derrière contained all of the sexuality that the rest of her probably would never possess.

When the phone rang, just for kick’s, I answered “I’m kookoo for Coconuts! How can I help you?” Clarissa didn’t think it amusing. “You say ‘Good morning, this is Coconuts. How can I be of service to you today?’” Bend over, Clarissa. Just one time. I’ll show you real service.

When Clarissa returned from lunch, she found me sitting on a stool, reading a surfing magazine. She folded her arms, pursed those ruby lips of hers and said firmly, “We don’t do that around here. When we have spare time, we stock and we fold.” Oh boy, the royal “we.”

Why did her parents name her Clarissa? They were asking for a prissy daughter. A friend of mine named her dog Bonkers. Bonkers ate bees and tried to chew its own tail off. You have to watch what you name your pets and people. Now had Clarissa been a Wendy or a Sandy, she wouldn’t be lecturing to me but smoking pot in the stockroom, looking over her freshly-inked tattoo.

“Clarissa, I know you mean well. But I’m not being paid enough to be constantly busy. I’m paid to show up and ring up an ugly sweatshirt or two, then leave.”

Silence. I felt my two weeks quickly shrinking to 4 hours.

“I’m going to have to talk to my manager about this. I don’t think she’s going to like it.” Clarissa muttered, reaching for the phone.

“Clarissa (using her name repeatedly made her so uncomfortable and so cute!), you don’t have to worry about it because I’m going surfing instead.”

I grabbed my bag and sweater.

“And you should never take a job at a place called Coconuts so seriously. It’s going to make you old before your time.”

She was practically shaking at this point. Her lips trembling, a darling vein on her head pulsing. I wanted to kiss her, I really did. She’d resist of course, but I’m stronger. On the floor of Coconuts, I would ram my tongue in her mouth and make it all better, like a bizarre lesbianic sexual exorcism. The Exorcism of Clarissa.

But I sighed and walked out the door instead. My first and final day at a store called Coconuts.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I don't tell you this enough but...I really, really love you.