Friday, January 23, 2009

The Woman With No Voice

Another graveyard shift. No matter how clearly I lay my schedule out in front of my manager, (And it's not particularly complicated, unless you think 9-5 mon-fri is complicated), he just doesn't seem to understand what I ask of him.


An friend who doesn't seem to sleep swung by for the last four hours of the shift. He had the distinguished privilege of witnessing The Woman With No Voice and her daily routine of wandering into the plaid, demanding everyone's attention literally all the time, moving things around and waiting for someone else to take the clerks attention so she can steal as much as she can. She likes to bring us clerks presents, though she doesn't seem to understand that returning stolen matchbooks doesn't count.

I saw her walking up to the store this time and had a moment to prepare. I moved the key to the beer coolers out of reach and behind the counter, and moved to a spot where I could see all the mirrors in the store.

GUNG-GUNG-GUNG. She was rapping the window with the tattered remains of a small cardboard box, waved it at me as if to say "Hey I have this and I'm going to leave it here so you don't think I stole it," and set it down on top of a news stand.

Then she came in, talking the whole way. I swear to god, she didn't shut up for a single second the entire time she was there.

"hhhaannnhnhnnnhhhhnnnn-HA HA HA HA HA!" she would say.

"Cans to return? OK. I'll be right over, gimme just a sec," I said, moving over to keep a better eye on her. Another customer came in. A young lady, the kind of girl who eminates an aura of impatience.

"nnHHhHheeehhhrnrnkcchhhs," she growled in a wasted attempt to make words. Her voice sounds a little like rocks in a grinder with a leaking air hose. Without vocal cords there's no way to understand this woman, and she's too far gone to understand anyone asking her to slow down her speach. This is the same woman another homeless woman said she was glad wasn't there. The one who she wanted to make jealous by claiming she, with her whole four teeth, could eat pussy better than. Even the other bums around here regard her as insane. Honestly, I like the male bums around here more. At least they aren't quite as foul.

"I need to take care of someone at the register, I'll be just a second," I told her. The young lady came up to the counter and was already giving me the evil eye. She looked rich, like the kind of girl who's pissed that Bush is out of office. Ugh.

I got my friends attention, pointed with one hand at my eyes and then at The Woman With No Voice, hoping he would watch her and make sure she didn't shove something into any of her myriad pockets.

I imagine he thought I wanted him to watch for something funny, 'coz within five seconds he was checking out some jerky. Dammit, man. Yeah, I know you're reading this. Haven't you ever played paintball or anything like that?

The young lady left, and shortly after the woman with no voice came up to the register and got a whole quarter for bottles that we could accept. She was apparently deterred from theft this time, but she always comes back. I'm unsure as to whether she sleeps at all.

She left the half cardboard box. I walked outside and lit a cigarette.

I tossed the box in the trash.

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