Friday, August 12, 2016

Retail Fairytale

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: clumsy, sticky, soft, water, retreat, stump. And they were submitted by the lovely Karen at

It's been a hell of a week at my part time job, and I suppose this story is an accurate description of my current feelings. haha. I'm kidding. Sort of. 


Once upon a time in a land quite like the one we live in now, there lived a not-so-young-anymore maiden who had a penchant for sass and wearing all black. She had soft, pink lips that punctuated her near-perfect RBF (resting bitch face for those who don’t know), brownish hair that longed to be vibrant, and super pale skin that she tried 98% of the time to keep out of all sunlight. She was a loner, ya’ll, a rebel, and she was pretty determined to live life on her own terms.

More than anything she wanted to save up money for solar panels and new tattoos and baby goats, so even though she didn’t really NEED to get a part time job since she and her hetero-life-mate could live comfortably on one salary and odds and ends, she did it anyway hoping that the extra income would make her life a little more comfortable. I mean, someone had to play for Pokemon Go purchases, right?

She found herself working at a small market near her thatched roof shanty of a house. The market itself was situated between two very small villages of mostly peasants like herself who made their livings by working hard and living cheaply. Those were the people she saw that she often got along with best because she understood and had felt the quiet modesty of knowing you worked hard to pay your bills. Sometimes lords and ladies or even royalty came in to pick up a much needed item or two, but for the most part, they were nightmarish brutes who expected a level of perfection in service that was absolutely unobtainable especially with everything she had to get done and with the management of the market completely out of her hands anyway. She worked for wages, poor ones, and that was all. Most decisions on the day to day stuff were at the hands of the owners and managers.

One day after a particularly long shift filled to bursting with the clumsy attempts at flirtations from would-be suitors, she was confronted by a sticky troll of a man who compared her to a popular weightloss guru with a similar name and insisted that she come to dinner at his house one night so he could give her some tips and then play just the tip. At the time, she took the high road in order to keep her job and laughed it off, but she just couldn’t get over it. Every day at work was something new with some other asshole, but that one thing kept eating away at her.

No woman, she had thought, deserves to have her body graded by men everyday while she was simply trying to earn a paycheck.

Women’s bodies are not on this planet for men’s piggish entertainment!
No one should have to be told their body doesn’t meet some random man’s standards as if by existing she has invited his gaze, opinions, and advances.

So she decided to take matters in her own hands. At first, figuring out her next course of action stumped her a bit. She wasn’t sure if she should simply walk out of the market with two birds held high or perhaps she could set the building on fire as one of her favorite theatrical characters, Milton Waddums, had done in one of her all time favorite comedies. Or maybe she should play an extremely mean-spirited but ultimately harmless prank on the man in question.

It was too hard of a choice, so she settled on all three—she would prank the troll, flip the whole place off, set it ablaze, then retreat her very round ass right back home to enjoy her new-found freedom with a box of teal hair dye and a bottle of whiskey.

And she had thought of the most perfectly devious plan to do so without really getting caught.

First, she waited on the troll to return to the market. Every time he came in, he bought soap to wash his ratty, tattered garments with, so as soon as she saw him walking towards the market from his village (not the one she lived in luckily), she went back to the area with the soap, found the clearest stuff on the shelf, and dripped it here and there over the entire aisle. She didn’t want too big of a puddle. Nothing obvious or noticeable, of course, but she definitely wanted it to be a bit slippery. With that part finished, she waited until he was almost to the mess she had made, rounded the corner feigning surprise at seeing him there, and called out to him, “hey, I’ve been hoping you would come by!”

“Why is that?” he asked.

“I’ve been thinking that I rejected your dinner invitation and fitness tips a little too hastily and wanted to know if your offer still stands?”

“I knew you would see things my way,” he smirked. As soon as that sickening half grin plastered across his face, he started sliding across the floor. It was in no way elegant or graceful. His arms flapped at his sides like he was a bird desperately attempting to take off. His feet moved like he was just learning to walk, and he reconstructed everything she ever thought she knew about swear words in just a couple seconds.

When he fell, he fell hard. In fact, he dropped to the ground with such a crash that she almost didn’t laugh out of genuine concern for his well-being. For just a split second, she thought maaaayyybe she took things too far. But then she saw the look on his face—the way that one slip had wiped the entitlement and ego right off him—and she laughed so hard, so loud, and so long that she felt faint by the time her giggles subsided.

She was alone with him in the back of the store so no one actually heard their conversation or knew what happened, but she could see him getting angrier by the second, and she planned this part betting on him being a shouter.

She was right. Of course.

As soon as her laugher died down and his embarrassment really started to settle into every pore on his body, his gaze darkened, his brows furrowed, and he started huffing. Before he could even get himself off the ground, he was screaming at her.

“You think this is funny, you fat bitch! I will make you pay for this. I know you had something to do with it, you oversensitive psycho. I will burn this whole shit heap to the ground!”

That was all it took. She had a patsy. She couldn’t have planned a reply that good if her life had depended on it.

Once he stormed away, she went to find the managers and relayed what had happened (omitting the part about deliberately making the mess) and what the man had said afterwards. They seemed unconcerned and didn’t even plan on calling the sheriff hoping that ignoring the threat would prevent them from having to get anyone else involved in the matter. Their main worry was not being liable for the fall as she knew it would be as it is in every retail hell hole that exists in all the world. Things are designed to create this line of thinking in management much to the scorn of the employees who bare the weight of it. Now, had he been stealing, that would have been a completely different story.

She didn’t actually think his threat put her or anyone else in imminent danger, but for her 3 part plan to work, she needed the managers to think she was A) scared for her life and B) pretty fucking pissed that they refused to stand behind her on this. Once they finished telling her that they really didn’t want to have to get the authorities involved in case it made the man want to take them to court over the fall and have them pay for any potential injuries and damages, she summoned her best Liv Tyler from Empire Records impression and flipped right the fuck out. “FINE?!?! I’LL SHOW YOU FINE!” then she gave her two weeks notice and said, quite clearly, “Fuck this place.” She knew it was risky to lose it knowing full well the managers could make her leave the place right then, but that also meant they would have to do her job and theirs, and she made a calculated yet risky bet that they would at least want her to finish out her shift before finding a replacement. That gamble paid off well, and she was pretty much left alone to do what she needed to do for the rest of her shift.

That night when she was doing her nightly clean up routine before closing, she made sure that the near-rusted-out water pipes out back were completely broken effectively cutting off all water to the store. She also turned on the furnace in back to full blast and sat a box full of flammable torch fluid nearby. Once that was done, she locked the doors, set the alarm like always, and skipped all the way back home.

And she lived in peace away from retail work happily ever after.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Southern Belle Charm

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

On the Border

Confessions of a part time working mom

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Friday, August 5, 2016

That One Track

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My subject is: How would you rewrite one chapter of your childhood? Not your whole childhood - just one chapter.

It was submitted by:


I’ve never really thought of my life in divided chapters. I’m more the kind of person who has a chronological life soundtrack—a list of songs meant to be played back to back preferably on vinyl or cassette tape that tell, at least to me, my life story. Said soundtrack would mostly certainly be the score to a film about my life and definitely has a few songs I am completely embarrassed to admit ever listening to. What life would be complete without a few *ahem* or maybe a multitude of embarrassments, guilty pleasures, bad choices, and lessons learned?

After so long thinking about life in the songs that accompany the times, it’s really rather difficult to consider my childhood or my life at all as chapters in a larger story, and it becomes more difficult still to divide my childhood up at all. It’s a blur of mostly negative flashbacks, fuzzy images that really fail to tell the entire story because, for complex reasons, my brain felt it best to forget most of it. Can that sort of memory-blur be divided into distinctive patches that combine to make the whole quilt? It seems impossible.

But can I pick out a moment, a song perhaps, to cut away, to delete, or rewrite without disrupting the flow of the soundtrack itself? Can I remove a moment, an event, or make a change without altering who I am? For the longest time, I would have said it’s impossible to take away anything I’ve gone through and still end up with the me that I know today as the final product, and as someone who is pretty fucking ecstatic about who I am, the idea that I wouldn’t be me at all anymore has always given me pause about making a change. I realize we aren’t defined by what has happened to us, but those events alter how we see the world, how we cope, our reactions and politics. So much of who we are depends on how we perceive and deal with what we have gone through and how we eventually cope or don’t with those things.


In the last few years, I have really started to wonder when posed this sort of question how I might fare without ever having been raped at 13. I have written about my thoughts on rape and rape culture extensively, and I know that, for the most part, I have dealt with the whole of it really well, but who would I be if I could just take that one thing back? My virginity was literally stolen from me by someone I called a friend. I lost my innocence on the dingy carpet in my own house. My own fucking house. The person I would have been without that betrayal died that night, and I can’t help wondering who that girl would have been. Could she have been better at relationships? Could she trust people? Let the walls down? Could she be anxiety free? Would she be able to answer the door when she’s home alone without having a panic attack? Would she be more social and able to leave home without feeling overwhelmed, clammy, and on edge?

I have never been able to know what it’s like to love innocently, to be able to be with another human being without the shadow of knowing what it’s like to have my own body stolen from me. For all of my teens and entire adulthood, I’ve lived with the weight of guilt and shame, with the anger and anxiety that comes from being a rape victim. So much of my time and energy has been spent on battling those demons, on coping and dealing and overcoming. Such a huge part of who I am has been molded by that one night, by just a few unforgettable, life-changing moments.

So, yeah, I love the person I am now even with the baggage, the scars, and the anxiety, but if I could reach into the past and just rip that night right out like so much garbage, like a bonus track that never really fit into the soundtrack anyway, I think I might like to know the woman who would have lived without it, the version of me that wasn’t killed that night. I’m sure she’d be pretty damn rad.  


Here are the links to the other contributions this month:

Baking In A Tornado

The Bergham Chronicles
Spatulas on Parade

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Southern Belle Charm

Confessions of a part time working mom
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

The Lieber Family Blog

Never Ever Give Up Hope

When I Grow Up

Evil Joy Speaks