My mom went into a mattress store once and got to talking to the woman who worked there. She was very nice.
About a week later my mom read in the newspaper that the woman had been murdered in the store. She called the store to say how nice the woman was. They asked her if she would like the job, they had to hire someone. She said “okay” and started right away.
She said she felt weird sitting at the desk, just a couple feet from where the woman was killed. She said she felt a presence.
She had a bunch of balloons she tied outside the store everyday. And everyday at the same time a bunch of 14-year-old boys would run by on their way home from school and throw rocks at them till they all popped.
Her co-worker, an Italian guy she hired to help her out with lifting and stocking, would run outside every time and yell at the kids as they ran away.
“You’re just making them want to do it again,” she told him. “What those kids need is a job.”
The next day when the kids ran by she yelled out to them that she needed someone to work Saturdays for her.
The kids came back and gave her their contact information. The job she had for them was one they could all take turns with, since they were all about the same size.
The next Saturday the first kid came in to work. She helped him get into the giant mattress costume and walked him out to the medial strip so he could wave at cars.
She told him it was okay for him to wear his ipod but watching him now from the store she didn’t think it was such a good idea. The costume only had a narrow rectangle to look out of and with oncoming traffic coming from every which way maybe blocking sound was a safety issue. But kids love listening to music, don’t they?
A while later the kid came back in. “It’s really hot in this thing,” he said.
“Take a break. Sit down,” she said.
And then offered him some tiramisu.
“People I’ve casually met once will relate a small anecdote in conversation and years later when I run into them I will say “Oh, yeah, Heather D’Amito, you have an Uncle Tony who used to complain about itchy pants!” This usually makes the other person recoil by what they correctly perceive as a lonely person who springs toward social interaction with desperate over familiarity and, as a result of developing no employable skills, has enough brain space for archival storage of stranger’s fleeting recollections. Stung by the person’s indifference to my flair for detail, I will compose a follow- up sketch on their manners and overall character to add to their file. Afterward, I will attend a dinner party in my head where the other guests delightfully remark on the robustness of my memory and the talent I have for blurting it into the flow of conversation.”
For more of her awesomeness, follow Juliet Hope Wayne on Twitter.