Between the bucket’s mouth I squeezed water from a mop’s hair. I wrung it to the point of no tarry, soupy liquid being left to drip from it’s once white mane and I bent over deep, I scrubbed that floor.
I rinsed the dishes, I stacked them in the dishwasher. It would beep when it was ready and then I would have to take them out while they were burning hot and pretend like it didn’t hurt my fingers. The sunflowers on my dress wilted with the monotony of it, the skill-less monkey job. The guy training me had been doing it for a whole year. He was so energetic, he was a gun. I wondered if I would ever be a gun at it like him, whether I wanted to be.
At the end of the trial the owner told me I had a good attitude, I was perfect for the job. What kind of attitude does it take to be a dishpig I wondered? I drove home sad. I called no one to tell them. I put the music on loud. When I was home I went out to the balcony and lit a cigarette. I stared into the forest for a really long while.
My first shift started at 8am a few days later. I got stuck behind a Winnebago. I turned up with 5 minutes to spare. I said hello to the guy who had employed me, I was cheery, I had that good attitude. The guy ignored me. I put my bag down and hovered behind him, waiting for him. My hands went in my pockets and then came out again and then went back in. I wondered if I was standing too close to him so I stood back a bit and took my hands out of my pockets. He was all smiles to a lady he was serving at the counter, his laugh sounded like an old tap. She left and he turned to me.
‘What time is it?’ He asked.
I looked at his grey eyebrows and then at his top lip, it had a small brown smear above it, probably coffee but maybe poo. He pointed at the clock on the wall. I read the time out aloud to him, it was 7.57.
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘and what time should you have been here for your first shift?’
Another customer approached the counter, he didn’t notice her, quite unprofessional of him I thought. He answered his own question and then told me I should have been there at a quarter to. It wasn’t a good sign, he told me.
‘I’m really sorry,’ I said. I thought of telling him about the Winnebago but what was the point.
‘We are looking for the crème de la crème here, you understand? I think you should just go home.’
‘Ok,’ I said very politely.
By this point he’d noticed the customer waiting. She had been waiting at that counter without being acknowledged for a while, not a good sign I thought.
‘Be with you in a moment,’ he said over his shoulder with his cat smile and then he looked back at me. ‘I’m sorry, I’m not an arsehole.’
He walked over to the customer. ‘Good morning and how are you today?’
I went and picked up my bag. I put it over my shoulder nice and slow. I stepped forward over to him. He was in conversation with the lady. I stood right behind him, real close. I put my hand on his lower back and held it there for a moment. Then I rubbed it in a slow, circular motion.
‘Don’t worry, I don’t think you are an arsehole,’ I said. My voice was deep, sexy, provocative.
There was complete silence while I did it. Three whole seconds maybe.The customer looked confused. He looked like a creep. I glided out the doors like a dove.