Monday, October 5, 2015

Goodnight Honey

"Hey, honey."

"Hey, darlin'."

-- is how it starts. A quick check-in, over jogging pants.

"You alright?"


"No you ain't. You sound like shit. And you don't look good either."

One woman loads the check-out conveyor, the other is on the way out. The cashier smiles at the rest of us, waiting behind - with nothing to do, but read how Hilary has brain cancer & Trump has the model family. The one already done, finally draws the stretchy top of her pants up a bit, and saunters out - two white plastic bags swinging at her knees.

"You two best friends?" the cashier, obviously, has not had enough - or realizes small talk is customer service, but only to the one currently unloading 57 items, one at a time.

I have chips & salsa.

"No. Not no more. Maybe once."

She looks back at us, at the cashier, at us again, then whispers,"There was this one time -- I was on the porch with my kid and she pulls up. My boy goes running over, and she's like 'Uh, uh.' and I'm like 'What's up?' and she says 'I got no pants on.' I mean, what the heck?"

She takes a breath. The Cashier smiles, eyes wide. She swipes food items as fast as the little red eye will let her.

"So I go grab my boy before he can step up on the side rails and take him in the house. I come back out and go to the truck, and yeah, she got no pants on. She tells me she been making money. How are you making money with your pants off?"

This is a rhetorical question. The cashier realized this, hits the total button. The lady swipes a card, pushes a few buttons.

Finished she leads across and cups hands to her mouth, and goes even quieter. This time it really is a whisper. The cashiers jaw slackens. Her skin whitens a bit.

"Yeah, darlin'. So we ain't friends no more. I try to avoid her ass if I see it coming," she winks&wheels her cart out the automatic doors.

My chips& salsa ride the conveyor, sit for a moment at the end.

"You alright?" I ask.

"Yeah," she shakes her head, rings them up.

"There's just some things you can't un-know huh?"


"Have a good night."

"You too, sir. Come back again soon."

In the parking lot, sweat pants #2 loads 57 items into the trunk of her car, in 8 white bags.

"I'm sorry if you heard all that. Sometimes, you just got ---"

"I'm alright. Good night."

"Goodnight honey," she says through the window, as the engine starts.


  1. TMI... Brain Bleach. I wish I had Brain Bleach sometimes...

    1. LOL, I love it - someone should invent mental floss!

  2. There are some things you wish you didn't know, ha! Convers-ation...

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  4. There are certainly things you can't unhear/unknow and things that even having witnessed are too strange to believe!


  5. This is awesome! The way you captured the dialogue is really effective.

    I love what you did with the title, omitting the comma to give it a meaning-twist.

    So if I'm reading this right, the trickster chick gets paid for "starting engines," and she's very obvious about it, in that she ... doesn't wear pants. :) But, the one who is whispering about her in the grocery store, also starts the engine at the end of the poem/story. And since whichever words hang at the end are likely the most telling, I perceive that she is also "hooking it"; she just isn't as obvious about it. When you close with language like "through the window" and "the engine starts," I think you're implying that she was offering her services to you. You said no, and walked off. But she was definitely offering you "goodnight honey." This probably isn't what you were trying to write, but it's what I see.

    As for pants, I think they're overrated, literally and figuratively. 1) Panties are too cute to be covered up, and 2) It just feels better to have less on. I'm not just talking about actual clothes, either. I'm talking about being open and free. Being yourself, without restraints. People hate that, and if a girl "takes off her clothes" (sporting just her genuine personality), she isn't going to have any friends. But I for one have spent a lifetime struggling with that decision: Do I fake a likable personality and have a bunch of fake friends, or do I be completely real and be alone? I've spent almost my whole life doing the former, and it's made me miserable. Maybe the girl who's being honest about not having on any pants, maybe she's the real deal, the one people should "like." But no, everyone who reads this is just going to see you implying the one is a whore and the other talks too much. You and the cashier are the "good people," going about your daily lives behaving properly, not dancing naked or slinging around private business in grocery stores.

    But hey, who am I? Just a girl in sweat pants, who wishes she wasn't.

    1. are we good people?
      or are we just less free??

      it really is all about our comfort levels and maybe even the absence of connectedness . why tell all this to a perfect stranger? what were her motives? or was she just careless?

      I totally love thinking through social science. I am reading" bowling alone" right now which is all about social capital and our loss of connectedness.

    2. Sure, we do lots of things for shock value alone. And sometimes to push people away ... to protect ourselves. Or simply because we have big mouths.

      I don't talk to strangers ... in person, anyway. I don't do small talk. But I would be happy to talk about anything real, anything meaty or weird or philosophical. All this surface level fakery is a waste of time, though. It's not fun; it only leaves us all wanting, wishing for something substantial.

      I would have followed that woman out to her car and gotten in with her. If someone is will to talk to me about prostitution and panties rather than the weather and their kids, them I'm in, whole hog. I'd way rather hang with the "ugly people" than the fine and pretty community folk. That's just not my style.

      No. You are NOT good people. WE are not good people. People just pretend to be good, but they're all shitty asshole fuck-ups, in one way or another. They just don't want to talk about it. That's why I love it when we meet drug addicts and whores because they're freaking real people. I can't stand all these shenanigans of uprightness and better-than attitudes. There is no "right" way to live or be; we're all just doing our best, and screwing it up every other step of the way.

      What IS connectedness? Spending time together? Talking? Understanding? Sharing space? Define it.

      Freedom is just as binding as slavery. Nothing is going to satisfy, this side of heaven. And sweet Jesus, I don't even know if I can get in anymore. I'm such a dick. There's no way He wants me, unless you believe the Bible. In which case, He's coming after me something fierce. I'm such a mess, dude. It would be such a relief to finally be sent to the asylum. Seriously, other than missing my kids like crazy, that would be bliss. Medicate the fuck out of me, and just let me play some damn checkers and dance all day.

      P.S. She told you about the other chick being a whore because she wanted to make herself feel better about who she is. Everyone alive needs whores and losers to exist so that they can feel "good enough." But good enough for what?!

      What does the opening of the Tao say? It's something like, only when we assign beauty to one thing do we bring into existence "ugliness." I'm way paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Until we start comparing, these labels don't exist. Just let people be whatever they are, and you be what you are.

      But no, we can't really do this. It's not good for "society." We must all try our hardest to be upstanding citizens, labeling those who will not "get in line" as "nonconformists" and "bad." People are so stupid. Would that we could all just be animals ...

    3. "it only leaves us all wanting, wishing for something substantial." Oh how true that is - on so many levels.

      I definitely think that people crave authenticity. I also think this is why you see people join groups like ISIS. THey would much rather be a part of something that not only has passion, but has direction - and people that do what they say they are going to do. THough it can be a negative trust, there is a trust there.

      "Freedom is just as binding as slavery" Yes, I agree there as well. Freedom is as much a drug as anything. It also depends on freedom for, freedom to or freedom from. Very different concepts there.

      Connectedness - its more than talking, it is a commitment and a trust. Really I could go on this forever but - it is not a "come if you have time" mentality, it is an I am going to be there and not just to focus on myself in community mentality. Its more than a connection on issues, but a willingness to express and hear all different sides whether we agree with each other or not. It is taking a meal to your neighbor when they are sick, or visiting them when nothing is wrong, because you want to and they need it.

      I would totally love to play checkers.

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  6. You sure happen upon some amazing stories, my friend. I smiled all the way through this one. The dialogue is so right on.

  7. Just another day at the Wally Mart-tay. Smiled all through this. Hope you are not caught in the floods down there--or if you are, everyone has pants on.

  8. What a fabulous, vivid slice of life here, "X" well and truly pulled me into this complex scene.
    Yes, there are things you can never un-hear or matter how much you will yourself to.
    Absolutely awesome! ;))

  9. Well.. i love this one X.. so much in fact.. and theory
    that it inspires a prophecy.. prediction.. hypothesis
    or what they call.. i think.. an educated
    guess these days..
    and THAT iS.. if the real dude
    Jesus comes back today..
    he'll enjoy the large
    metro fancy malls for
    all the freedom
    of the new
    ways of
    stuff.. but most of
    all he'll love Super
    Walmart.. but hell NO
    not for 'everyday low
    prices' buTT for the
    common human
    who is no longer
    conformist and
    will let IT ALL
    HANG OUT..
    any conformist
    thinks or FEELs
    about THAT.. the
    place and time is
    finally correct..
    build it
    comes and..
    WeLL.. whatever
    comes.. neXtasFREE!..:)

  10. What a story X.. somehow a supermarket is a place where you sometimes wish you didn't hear anything.. Actually nowadays I self-scan every thing, but it was really a long time since i met a cashier small-talking.. and yes that end really made me smile...

  11. It has been a few years since I was propositioned in a parking lot. Your dialogue really does sparkle, framing the absurdity of it with realistic tones & phrases.
    Paying for sex, when you are under 30 is not such a bad thing, once you get past the guilt & worry about an STD. Some how this piece reminds me of Salinger.

  12. Well what a scenario, and sometimes I wish I don't want to know more about someone else lives because I want to know all about the details ~ But I have learned not to judge people quickly if I don't know the whole story, even if they are missing pants :-) I like that the cashier was friendly but there are limits specially on a busy check out counter ~

  13. Some things should be kept private....and, ha, the word 'honey' makes me cringe!

  14. A wonderful sketch-- the protagonist perhaps the cashier, or the gossip-- but so ibteresting how lives intersect through thick and thin. K.

  15. Sometimes you get to hear things in everyday life.

  16. I guess some things aren't as private as it should be.
    The tone and word 'honey' gets one smiling at the thought of

    This poem is awesome! and yeah, I love it. :)

  17. Oh, but the things that can't be unseen, unheard, unknown, those make the very best stories. I love the way you wrote this... Just exactly enoug detail to paint the picture, tell the story, and nothing more. All conclusions drawn are my own.

  18. in a way, what you describe (and your dialog with Hedera) is why I find it difficult to write anymore - the rising tides of insincerity and plain bullshi!t, the denial, the know-nothings who revel in their willful, malevolent ignorance - and I am them, too. ~

  19. I know it's an accurate slice of life because there are lots of people without any verbal editing ability and I appreciate your story writing talent. But to me it's pretty bad when people think they need to shock others to keep them at bay or for whatever other reason they may profess. I am not amused.

  20. Intriguing sketch, scene and 'must have' customer service small talk...

  21. You always hear it should be, never blush, never flush just honey X holy sh.....ock

  22. The comments compete with the post sometimes! Of course, l'm curious. You make me miss writing more than l already do.

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