I was at work yesterday (yes another work story), and Boris the Soviet Love Hammer was there again, buying his 40s of Bud Light and a handful of scratch-off tickets and lotto tickets. It’s difficult to communicate with a person with a thick accent. It’s doubly difficult to do it when he’s drunk all the time. It’s quadruply difficult to do it when he also has a wicked stutter. I went back and forth trying to figure out what he wanted and helped him use the debit card swiping machine (for the 20th time).
When he shuffled out the door, I was helping another customer. When that transaction was finished, I looked over and noticed that one of the lotto tickets that Boris had purchased was still on the counter. I didn’t want him to get screwed over, especially if this one was the Big Winner. So I grabbed the ticket, sprinted out the door, and caught up with him about a block away. “Hey, hey you forgot something!” I said.
He turned around slowly, saw me holding his lotto ticket, and his eyes grew huge. He opened his arms and encircled his paws around me, embracing me tightly. He gave me a rough, stubbly kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, my brother!” he said to me while we embraced. Actually, he was the one squeezing the life out of me. I just tried my damndest to keep balance for both of us.
A Pizza Hut delivery driver that comes into the store often was complaining about how he gets paid next to nothing and then is expected to pay for gas and everything for his car, and how when the store says the shift is only till 11PM, it always lasts until at least 1AM. I talked to him about my days as a Pizza Hut delivery driver, sharing stories about how we basically work to get screwed over, and that one of our few perks is that our cars constantly smell like pizza.
Then he said that he would be quitting his job in a couple of months. Instead of asking him why, I just said, “That’s good. You at least have a light at the end of the tunnel, right?”
Then he told me, “No, not really. I get deployed to Afghanistan in two months.”
There was a beat of silence
Then I said, “Well, good luck then.”
I’m so damned eloquent.