Saturday, August 23, 2008

Coworkers: Part 16 - Skinny Witch

   I thought she had it in for me early on. Many expected me to slot in with the older staff. The Boss, Dan, James. Liberal, neo folkies, sensitive, 60's holdouts. A month on, everyone realized I was a throwback to the hedonistic, Me Generation, like I care, worst of the 70's.
   Diana lurked in that lair of hers, the Money Room, crunching payroll and bank deposits. All the while, quietly nibbling on the lettuce sandwich. Sliced bread, leaves of lettuce, hold the mayo. Carbs were not the vice of the Skinny Witch. That title was established long before I worked there.
   After morning accounting, she manned Video during lunch hours, then clocked out. In between, she was quiet, and she was mischievous.
   Repeatedly, she informed me, "You are the most materialistic person I have ever met."
   I countered. "Nonsense. I don't care about things. I don't care, period."
   "That's it exactly!"
   I had been hired for the Classical section, but I was knowledgeable about 60's and 70's music, AM and FM. I was also an old school head banger, though I preferred heavy metal or catchy, hooky metal, rather than thrash or speed. I also hid a guilty taste for girl pop. Songbirds, canaries, girl groups, divas and prima donnas. I didn't tell anyone, however.
   Sabbath carried more credibility than Streisand.
   Within two months Skinny Witch deduced my less than stellar expertise and ratted me out. Customers walked in, singing Lesley Gore, Shelley Fabares, Donna Summer, The Bangles, Pointer Sisters, Swing Out Sister. Increasingly, they were steered my way, and I nailed the tune. First the Skinny Witch pointed me out, soon everyone.
   At the time, Four Non Blondes enjoyed their five minutes of fame, Todd or Stacey asked if I'd rather listen to The Carpenters. Or Rob would hold up a CD and ask, "I was getting ready to play God Bullies, unless you're going to have a meltdown and sob for Abba?" The more hard core rockers booted me from the metal club and pigeonholed me into "gay music." Thank you. Yeah, Skinny Witch (and Dan) apprised the staff I not only knew Disco, but I once habituated those clubs.
   During the Cartoon War between Dan and João, the Skinny Witch added sketches she'd made of me to the lineup. Some were fairly accurate renderings, though she invariably made sure my expression was baffled, and that I wore trendy (materialistic) threads. Since I could only draw stick figures, I didn't retaliate.
   Then there was Van.
   The Skinny Witch brought in a vintage Van Morrison poster and stapled it high over the Classical section. The poster was an immediate distraction. Customers studied the image and asked if I knew that I resembled the Irish singer. Was I a Van Morrison impersonator? Did I own a gold lame suit? (I couldnt' tell them that was Elvis, they wouldn't have known the difference.) Why else had I hung that up there? Was Van my father? My brother? Could I sing Brown Eyed Girl? Or Moondance?
   Skinny Witch giggled the whole time, and I never quite figured how to get even. She did count the money, after all.

   Besides, I didn't remotely look like Van.


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