Modern Day Prologue

May 2, 2011
High above the black top
And teal colored tin roof,
The summer sun shone down,
Its blazing heat exploding through
The cross-beamed ceiling,
Seeping into the skins of the individuals
Scouring the shelves at the local Wal-Mart.
As their baskets and carts fill up,
They make their way to the check-out stands,
Waiting besides another stranger to ring up their packages.
I was merely a spectator, swiping price tags
And taking money while wearing a vinyl vest.
Seven fifty an hour wasn’t really worth it
But the customers I waited on made the job interesting…

First in line was Beth,
A single mother with 2 year old twins,
Hayley and Harley, neither of whom was
All too excited to wait for Mommy
To pay for their afternoon snacks.
Beth hurriedly pulled crumpled bills from her wallet,
Pushing her frizzy, red hair back from her face.
Her gray-green eyes seemed to hold all life’s secrets
Yet she was in too big of a hurry to share them.
Her babies were all she had on her mind.
Next there was Hank.
A mountain of a man with chocolate eyes,
He worked the early morning shift
Down at the local fire station.
He may look like a beast but inside
Beat a gentle heart, a caring heart.
Like a mama bear, he watched out
For the younger guys on the squad,
Buying their coffee and checking their oxygen tanks.
He always paid with a smile and a “Have a nice day!”

The rustle of a bag of dried plums
Next greeted my ears as I can came
Chin to face with Gerald.
Nearly bent in half, what was left of his hair
Colored snow white, he came in
Once a week to buy the same item
With the same attitude…bossy.
Waving his cane in the air, he insisted
On being checked out faster before he
Fell over, dead. Wouldn’t that be a wish come true?

A super-model skinny woman
Dressed in a stretched out crimson tube top
And a jean skirt that could’ve been a belt
Slapped a pack of bubble gum and a wad of dollar bills
On the speckled counter top. One hand on her hip,
The other fanning her face, she scowled at me
Like the heat wave was my fault.
As soon as I passed her change back to her,
She wobbled off on five inch stilettos.
One could only guess where to…

With his steel gray eyes following the last customer,
A man sauntered up to my register,
A box of power bars and a newspaper in his hands.
The suit he wore must have been ironed that morning
But due to the humidity hovering in the air,
The freshly pressed creases melted and
The usually damp underarms were soaking
Through the expensive cloth. Paying me nothing but
The four dollars and change necessary, he swaggered
Out the front doors and back to his high dollar life.

One last customer before my shift is over
And it’s darling little Daisy, who I can’t call “little” anymore.
Now at the fun age of fourteen, she’s liable to get
Whiplash from searching for all the guys, hot or not,
In the general area. Sliding the last fashion mag and
Some hot pink glittery nail polish across the counter top,
She grins a metal-mouthed grin as her eyes find a new target.
Her baby blues widen, her long lashes flutter and
She whips her shoulder length platinum waves over her shoulder.
Snatching her purchases, she flies off to conquer without even a word.





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