- The Fat Kid
Nicky clipped on his nametag and shrugged into his red and green Food Fair vest. “They called me Fat Kid again today. Fat Kid and Faggot, seems to be the extent of their repertoire.”
Marge frowned. “Don’t swear. An count your change bank. You gotta open your register, lookit the line.”
“I know. But Marge. I wish I could get rid of some of this fat. I eat myself into oblivion whenever my parents fight. Which is pretty much every night. I wish I was skinny like Tori.”
“That little sister a yours is so skinny cuz she runs the streets like a dizzy bumble bee, playin kickball an all. You’re not so bad. Lemme see.” She adjusted his gaudy vest. “You have nice green eyes, beautiful eyes. Nice even white teeth, lovely wavy brown hair. Hair’s a little too long, but. . . “Marge squinted. “You could lose some-a that there baby fat. I ken give you some-a my diet pills. Lose weight, you’d look like a movie star.”
“Oh God, no, my mother takes those things. She’s skinny and pops diet pills for energy. Calls em her vitamins.”
A pregnant lady with wild black hair, a cart filled with food and kids, banged on the counter. “Youse open here or WHAT?”
“Alright already, Sofia Loren, I’m open. I’m open.”
She piled cartons of food and bottles of soda on the rubber matted counter, which slowly began to move. A little girl sitting in the shopping cart kid’s seat grabbed a box of Devil Dogs and tore it open with her sticky hands. “Stop that Maria!” The wild haired woman slapped her. The girl ignored her and started eating a Devil Dog, smearing chocolate over her face. Two small boys climbed out of the cart and ran over to a gigantic basket piled with brightly colored balls. They pulled several balls out and bounced them up and down the aisles. A skinny grouchy-looking older lady in a faded flowered dress stood unsteadily behind the wild haired woman. She shook her head, waved a box of cornflakes in one hand and a bag of prunes in the other, and grumbled. “Was here first. Was here first.”
The wild haired woman turned around. “What’s your hurry? House on fire? I got kids ta feed.”
“No, my house ain’t on fire, but I got Bingo tonight at St. Charles. Gonna miss the first card.” She looked disapprovingly at the pregnant woman’s stomach. “Looks like you got plenny enough kids to feed.”
“Plenty kids? Go tell the Pope, why-dontcha? Ya know Birth Control’s illegal in the State of Connecticut. We could go to jail for just talkin about it.” She raised a black eyebrow. “Jail’d be OK with me, it’d be like a God Damned Vacation. ANT-NY, ANGELO! Get back here now, fore I whip your BE-hinds.”
“Another day at the Salt Mines.” Nicky rolled his eyes.
“Those kids at school, they’re just jealous. You with the Honest Society, singin in the choir, an all that. And a job, lookit you, you made good with a job already. A cashier’s job at sixteen! You’re making as much as me, a Divorced Woman with kids. You’re makin as much as your own mother down there at Leavitt’s, and here you are just a junior at Harding High. “
“MARGE NEEDED AT AISLE THREE. MARGE NEEDED AT AISLE THREE.” Mr. Bloomer’s high-pitched voice blared over the creaky intercom.
“It’s Honor Society, Marge.”
“What hon?” she yelled as she ran in the direction of Aisle Three as fast as her white lady’s sneakers could take her.
“Nothing. Thanks Marge. Thanks for listening.” His nimble fingers rang up the order and cleaned up the chocolate mess made by little Maria. The bag boy was out back sneaking a smoke, so Nicky bagged the groceries too. He hoped to make Cashier of the Month again. It came with a five dollar bonus and a free gallon of milk.
© Copyright 2016 by Sara Jacobelli
Photo Credit: “1960s Shopping Cart” http://tinyurl.com/jeb3dmb