Monday, May 27, 2013

Re-tail: Tales in A Retail Pet Store: Jane.

The past few months have been consumed with so many different projects, but something huge I'm working on is my third book. It's all about retail in a pet store setting, har har, and this is one of the pieces I've written about Jane. I hope you enjoy it. Feedback is always welcomed. :D Once again, thanks for your patience. Have a great night! The Bachelorette is on!

Jane is by far my favorite character. I think "character" is an accurate depiction of Jane, because not only did she provide me with an unlimited source of material, but as a coping mechanism, I've started viewing my job as a sitcom. Much like, The Office. I feel like when something outrageous happens, I'm always looking towards the proverbial camera to make a face into.

Jane is a mousy, wonderfully odd doll. She's kind, with a neurotic demeanor, and grey hair cut into a bob. She's a heavyset woman, with a gentle heart and panicked eyes. She's matronly, and lovely, and has a very detailed, precise way of speaking. She is also either 30, or 80. I literally have no idea.

My first meeting with Jane started off quite normal. She came in, and asked me to help her find a cat toy. After asking her a few questions about what I assumed was her cat, she told me, "It's not for myself; it's for my neighbour. She's a recluse. Every time I go over, she tries to climb my slacks; the cat, not Irene. So, do you have any toys that resemble slacks?”

This is when I fell in love. I thought this was the most incredible, hilarious thing that I had ever heard. I still do.

I suggested going to The Bay, and actually getting slacks, which she didn't think was funny or practical. So to make small talk, since Christmas had just passed, I asked Jane how her holiday was. Jane didn't have much family, and the family that she did have lived in the States. So Jane threw her massive purse on table, and produced a Ziploc bag full of smashed pre-made Pillsbury cookies. The ones with Christmas trees and Santa on them. She told me she was sending them to her mother in Florida. She wasn't able to "touch the sugars, because of the diabetes", but insisted I had a couple, and I knew that our friendship had been solidified for life.

"So what'd you do on Christmas?"

"I watched The Home Shopping Network for most of the day. They finally featured the fleece capelet I had my eye on. I got it in cappuccino, but it didn't have enough arm room so I'm exchanging it for the eggplant.”


“I got a magnificent picture of a tiger. I love tigers. He had snow on his head, and his tongue was sticking out. It was a winter scene. And a beautiful butterfly ring, with my birthstone. But I can't wear it because my fingers swell. Do you want to know what else I got?”


“A bladder infection.”

It takes a lot to shock me. I couldn't believe my luck with running into my very own Soulmate. I told Jane she should drink cranberry juice, and she told me she had a fridge full of it, but couldn't touch the stuff; "too tart."
One would think to ask why someone would fill a fridge full of something that they had no intention of consuming, but I was just delighted at everything that came out of her mouth.

The next day, as I was slumped over the cash desk, trying to figure out how to fashion a noose out of receipt rolls, I looked up and found myself with a lineup of customers. As I started ringing them through, Jane sauntered into the store, produced a mini tape recorder from her gigantic purse, pressed play, and reached over a frantic Asian family to put the tape recorder onto the counter.

*screaming over music*

“Do you like Donnie and Marie?” *music is blaring*

“I can't stand Donnie. But I adore Marie. This is a song she did on the Grammys years ago. I recorded it sitting next to the television. The quality isn't very good, but she can really carry a tune.”

*music plays for about 7- 10 seconds*

“Yep, yea, I know that song.”

“It's about a Bugle. Or something. Dancing. Who do you like better? Donnie or Marie?”

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. It's a cover version. Jane...”

“Boogie something. Is Donnie dead?”

There were daily visits, and then weekly visits. I got to hear about new Home Shopping Network coat (faux fur, on sale from $250 to $135),  and new leopard print cane (lighter than the wooden one). I got to learn about Marbles one day, as she was thoughtfully gazing at the kittens in the window.

“That tiny cat is so cute. So peaceful, sleeping so soundly. Not a care in the world.  Reminds me of when I found Marbles, stiff as a board, behind my bed.”

I listened to all of her shitty stories about Reba MacIntyre; the concerts, all of the pictures she decoupaged of her. I ate it all up. I got to hear all of the Reba ringtones. When I told her I was a writer, she bought me a beautiful Swarovsky pen with blue crystals in it.

There was a span of about two months where I didn't see Jane; I always looked for her though. Then one day, like kismet, she came ambling into the store one day to say hello, and to explain her mysterious absence. 

She had been in the hospital due to fall, and ended up finding the love of her life. Although they had never actually met, she was hoping that eventually "he'll shoot his arrow straight through her heart". I thought this was the most absurdly romantic thing I've ever heard, and definitely terrifying. I was immediately obsessed with finding this beautiful stranger, nursing him back to health, and bringing them together in a large scale, talk show setting.

When she said that she had to go, I instinctively hugged her, although I had never before. When we parted, the look on her face was so strange, I immediately flushed.

"What. Is. That. Sexy. Scent."

"Oh. Thank you..."

"What is it." (I'm putting periods instead of question marks because that is the tone in which the phrase was uttered.)

"I'm not a lesbian, but can you please write the name of that sexy perfume down, and tell me where you got it?"

"Japanese Cherry Blossom. And in my stocking from Santa."

We then established it was Bath and Body Works, and there was a store upstairs. Jane gave me a lingering, tight unreasonable hug, and came back fifteen minutes later with a pretty, wrapped package.

It was a sterling silver butterfly necklace. She said it was a gift because of my scent assistance, and that she had the same necklace and hopes that I enjoy it as much as she does. She also told me that she has a thank you card for me that was at home. I didn't call her out on being a blatant liar since her gesture was so lovely and generous.

"Another hug? Again, I'm not a lesbian."

We embraced, and I tried to ignore the obvious lesbian spark.

Jane thanked me for the chat, spritzed on some sexy perfume, and left the store. I haven't seen her since then, but I did a sketch comedy show called, Fifty Shades of Gay, and my contribution was a sketch about her. 

I normally like to over analyze everything until it ruins the entire experience for me. So, if I never see Jane again, I'll hold on to the only cliche lesson I can deduce Retail Jesus wanted me to learn: to appreciate everything, and make sure you know the people that you do appreciate, are aware of it. In the immortal words of my dear Jane: 

"Hurry up and open your present- someone's holding my coat on a bench in the mall, and they're impatient."

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