I had been hired, tentatively, to work the Classical section. One week earlier, however, The Boss had hired someone else. Jeri Jo. To me, she had seniority, and was in charge.
The Boss thought we would complement each other.
Jeri Jo approached classical music from a performing standpoint. She was a musician. I, on the other hand, was a collector. For years, I had gabbed and shopped classical from the Mike's. For rock music, I sought out Linda. Linda was dreamy ... spacey, actually ... but I liked her.
Linda was gone, however. My Classical colleague was Jeri.
After a week, I realized Jeri Jo had the personality of a constipated rock. Social skills, such as they were, had been pureed through a food blender. She didn't like customers, didn't like coworkers, didn't like retail. She didn't LIKE anything. She whined often and loudly.
Great agony derived from cassettes. Jeri fussed for hours over cassettes. Classical cassettes. Dust magnets that no one bought. Classical customers were affluent, and early adopters. They were among the first to hop onto the Compact Disc steamship. Most weren't remotely interested in tape.
I mentioned this to Jeri. She rolled her eyes at me, made a fist in front of her and stroked to and fro. "Why don't you go someplace and distract yourself for the next hour," she suggested.
She could be, ahem, crude. Like Herr Beethoven. Most likely, she preferred the floor, sitting on her ass for two hours every day. Rearranging. Busywork? Or a trap? Kid-trap.
Cassettes were all within reach of young children. Many were born redecorators. I'd arrive mornings, tapes stacked neatly off to one side, or piled into houses, castles, rocket ships. Or they'd been resorted by color. Reds here, yellows there.
Jeri Jo kicked cassettes across the floor, swore, complained, then eased down to the floor like a basking sea lion.
Whenever a family strolled into Classical, she swooped over.
"Don't - even - touch - the - cassettes."
This was addressed to an infant in a stroller. Cheap thug in a baby blanket.
I needed to share.
I walked over to Pepe, told her about this headcase.
"Ha!" she retorted. "That is nothing. Nothing! I was in the back office earlier, on that ratty brown sofa, trying to enjoy lunch."
"What'd you have?" I interrupted.
"Jeri Jo waltzes her big ole ass in, and announces she just got back from the doctor's."
"Psychiatrist type of doctor?" I asked, hopefully.
"Nooooo, grasshopper. The gynecologist type of doctor."
"I don't think I wanna go there."
"Too late! I had a forkful of food heading towards my mouth when Jeri Jo says, 'Now I'm all pink and clean on the inside.'"
"What the fuck? Excuse me."
"I about threw up then and there. Then she starts describing the boyfriend's sausage. Mentions baby oil and rubber sheet in the same damn sentence. You wanna hear the Kama Sutra position she likes best? I can tell you. Cause she told me."
"Stop! Stop!" My lurid imagination was on fire.
"First ... picture her with none of them baggy tops and droopy shorts she wears here. Jeri Jo, buck ass naked, pink and clean, open for business."
I fled, actually.
Couldn't eat anything for lunch.