Friday, November 26, 2004

'Tis the Season to get drunk and threaten Security with a knife

I've been thinking about Thanksgiving and that makes me think about my first "real" job at the Kotton Kandy Shoppe (fake name but believe me when I tell you it is a "super cute" name, just like Kotton Kandy) and how my boss got drunk.

Consider the tracks of Dana's mind.

I've been thinking about giving thanks and Thanksgiving.
That makes me think about Christmas because it's the next major holiday.
That makes me think of "Hmm, what am I going to buy my family (both real & Sheepsheadian) for Christmas?"
That makes me think about how much I absolutely hate shopping (well, I love to shop. I just hate crowds. And MALLS (Blech. Sense the shuddering. Invented by the Devil, malls were. Well, that's my theory anyway)).
That makes me think of why I hate shopping and why I'm really glad that I answer the phone instead of working in a branch and having to deal with customers face to face.
That makes me think of when this all started, this love/hate relationship between customers and myself.
That makes me think about the Kotton Kandy Shoppe and the drunken boss.

Yeah. I get a little scared as well. Probably more than you because I have to live with this mind and you just get the occasional glimpse into it.

Anyway, my first "real" job (in other words, not babysitting and not just a summer job) was working for the Kotton Kandy Shoppe in Maplewood Mall. It was great. Yes, that is sarcasm. The owner of the company was a crabby, evil man named Darrin (again, fake name. All of the remaining names are fake names. Mainly because I don't remember most of the real names) but fortunately I didn't have to deal with him that much.

I got this job right around Christmas time. My friend Anya worked there as the assistant manager. The manager's name was Laurie or Sue or Carmelita. I don't remember. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Carmelita but for the fun of it, let's call her that.

Kotton Kandy was located in the food court, along with all of the other restaurants. On our left side was Taco Shoppe (where I later ended up working at) and on the right side was Pretzel Shoppe (could you imagine if I ever owned a mall? All the stores would be named like this. There would be Underwear Shoppe & Book Shoppe & Toy Shoppe. Short and simple and to the point). Also located in the same area was the Hamburger Shoppe (and they would let us steal pickle slices from them so I could eat ice cream and pickles (and yet, I've never been pregnant. Also, not so yummy sounding now) and the Hot Dog Shoppe and the Chinese Shoppe.

Carmelita had a feud going on with the manager of the Hot Dog Shoppe. I do not remember what the reason was but it had something to do with Johan (the manager. Male. Very short) and the assistant manager of the Hot Dog Shoppe (Don't remember her name but she was tall, had this perpetual "I Am A Bitch" look. Carmelita hated her. With a fiery passion. So we'll call her Meredith after Meredith Brooks and the "I'm a Bitch" song). According to Carmelita, Johan & Meredith were having an affair. This filled Carmelita with a loathing that was as deep and wide as the ocean. Other than the fact that Johan was married, I'm not sure what the problem was. Carmelita didn't seem to have a problem with anyone else having an affair, just Johan & Meredith.

The reasons for her hatred would vary in the few short days that I worked with Carmelita. One day it would be because of the alleged affair. Another day it was because Johan & Meredith allegedly asked her to join in a threesome. But then we came to the worst day of all, when Carmelita's rage boiled over & splashed over all in her path.

Signs leading to the Volcanic Eruption of Mount Carmelita:

Leaving for about an hour and bring back several large bottles of liquor. Informing all of the employees "We're going to have a party." Mixing alcohol with soft serve ice cream in an attempt to make Brandy Alexander’s without a blender. Drinking several mock Brandy Alexander’s.

Threatening an employee (me) who states, "I'm really not comfortable about drinking at work" with "Do it or don't come back to work tomorrow." Now, this was in 1985 & I was 18 so legal to drink (The law changed to 21 six months after my birthday) but there were some younger employees. She told me to make them drinks as well. If I remember correctly, Anya and I just mixed the ice cream with Coke so it looked like they were drinking mock Brandy Alexander’s.

Sending me on a mission to casually walk around to the Hot Dog Shoppe & see if Johan and/or Meredith were working up front. Leaving after I said that they were.

Slamming the door as she came running fifteen minutes later and starting on a vant about how Johan & Meredith cornered her in the back hallways and tried to push her down the elevator shaft. (Which was not true because Hello? I just saw them on my second walk-by. Ooh, how James Bondian I was with my casual "I'm just picking up some trays. For the 2nd time in ten minutes" stroll).

Vowing her revenge with a heated cry. Grabbing a knife from the back shelf when we weren't looking. Heading out into the parking lot with eyes stained red with rage.

Am I scaring you? Good. We were a little freaked out as well.

Anyway, some time goes by. We talk amongst ourselves about the oddness that is Carmelita and continue to work. We have no idea what she is actually doing as we slave over hot pans of caramel corn and make cotton candy (Cotton candy is the most evil thing in the world. I don’t get the whole point to it. It’s sugar. That’s it. With some food coloring. And if you make it, it flies up and gets into your hair and then cute boys you like ask you why your hair is gray and it’s not gray, it’s blue and pink and brown (I had yet to discover hair dye)).

Meanwhile, the camera cuts away to the parking lot. Your eyes follow the camera as it zooms down an aisle of parked cars. It stops suddenly. What was that? What was that hunched over figure between those two cars? Is that a person? The camera moves back slightly and there you see her. Carmelita. Respected Kotton Kandy manager. Gleefully stabbing and twisting the knife, ignoring the blood that runs down her hands. And she laughs. Hahaha. That’ll show Johan. That’ll show Meredith. Gouge and poke, twist and stab.

Apparently Carmelita stumbled her way up to Johan’s car and decided to slice his tires. But she wasn’t content with just poking a hole or two. No, she wanted to actually saw the tire apart so it couldn’t be fixed. Which is why she had blood all over her hands (hers) and why she only managed to damage one tire before security showed up.

Security wasn’t known for their brilliance. I know this because I, on several occasions, managed to avoid security and do two things verboten (Smoke in the back hallway. Get stoned with the cleaning crew (in case you’re wondering, it really wasn’t the cleaning crew that was the problem. I’m pretty sure that it was the getting stoned part they didn’t like). But even Dudley Do-Right and Barney Fife would be hard-pressed not to notice the crazy woman in the middle of a tire massacre.

Something tipped Carmelita off. She looked up and saw the two security officers and did what comes naturally to the crazy. She ran like the wind. If the wind was extremely drunk and bleeding and pissed off at the world. There was stumbling and cursing involved.

I sometimes like to imagine this in my mind. Picture it, if you will. A very slight woman in a bulky coat and blood dripping from her hands. She is running through hordes of Christmas shoppers, shoving people out of her way, as she tries to out-run the security guards. Who have walkie-talkies and know how to use them. They are chasing her, past the Shoe Shoppe, down the stairs and into the food court.

And here’s where Anya and I get to see the glorious conclusion to Blood on the Snow – The Kotton Kandy Story.

Carmelita tries to come over the counter where I am ringing up purchases but there are too many customers in the way. She runs down to the end of the store and flings herself over the counter, pushing the girl making cotton candy out of the way. We all stare at her dumbfounded. “Anya,” she snaps. “If Security shows up, you haven’t seen me.”

She runs into the back storage room. Anya looks up into the eyes of the head Security Guard. Who was within five steps of Carmelita when she made her dramatic announcement. Anya motions to the back. He nods. We all share a look of “Who the hell does she think she’s kidding?” Carmelita, meanwhile, flings open the door to the back hallway, ready to make her escape. She runs straight into the arms of Security Guard #2.

Later that evening, as Anya and I are leaving, after we’ve cleaned up and polished the store especially nice, she is freaking out about how she is going to lose her job. “Why would you lose your job?” I ask. She is worried that Darrin will fire her because Carmelita got drunk. I remind her that she is the assistant manager and not God. She is still freaked out and, when we reach the Security Desk to sign out, can’t find her keys.

“Where the hell did I put my keys?” she mutters, searching through her purse.
“Maybe Carmelita drank them,” the cute Security Guard says (friend of my first boyfriend. Sweet guy. I slept with him).

“That’s not funny, Gunn (Security. Gun. It works)!” Anya shrieks. For a moment, I think she will punch him. She doesn’t. She finds her keys and we leave. For the record, I thought it was kind of funny. Also, she didn’t get fired, she got promoted to manager. Because Carmelita was so fired. Anya finally came to her senses and quit. She eventually started working for the Hot Dog Shoppe. Johan was her manager. Nice guy. Really short.

Gunn and I went to the same college. One day, between classes, on the bench nearest the library, we were talking and fell asleep. So we would joke about how we slept together until his girlfriend told him to knock it off. She broke up with him in an evil, cruel way. I didn't like the girlfriend much.


At 2:09 PM, Matt said...

Father,You so need to write a book, this was hysterical. I oloved it! Loved it! Remind me to ask you for names when I decide to write a book, the names that you chose were priceless. Priceless! Please continue to write more, I beg you, I implore you to conitnue, continue! That is all that I have to say. Your son (that you do not love),


P.S. For the record, Scott did backhand the back of my shoulder in your defense about the whole Jesus dealing the cards comment.

At 2:25 PM, brooksba said...


This was terrific! Really wonderfully written. You are amazing. Thanks for sharing.


At 11:31 PM, DeAnn said...

Sometimes I think, "This woman has such funny stories that they MUST be made up." But then I remember that you are the queen of everything and you don't need to lie: Your life is that fabulous.

Oh, and about the train of thought? I am exactly the same way.