Sunday, August 9, 2009

Boys will be Boys

I heard their skate boards clicking twice over each sidewalk panel before they were even in front of the shop. Over top of the traffic and the indistinguishable gibberish mixed with laughter that the two young boys were shouting at each other en route. They Came in with skate boards under their arms and remarked at the sheer about of "shit" that we carried at the store. They were both short and looked like they might have been in the fifth or sixth grade. They wore the uniform of skate boarder youth consisting of jeans, ZERO t-shirts and toques. Both were covered in nicks and cuts assumeably from skating and the long haired blonde one had what looked like a black eye. He was kind of chubby and spoke loudly where as his counter part was slim and dark haired with a more nazel tone of voice. The blonde one walked through the store with large strides and the confidence of a bulldozer while with friend slunk around befhind him like an erractic wild ferret. I real dynamic duo to say the least. They walked through the store and began eyeballing the replica ninja swords as they read alloud the sign posted beneath them that the swords would not be sold to any one under the age of 18. They gazed over at me glassy eyed like hidden children seeing their stumbling dranken father placing gifts beneath a silver christmas tree. As I was handing each of them a sword I hesitated for just an instant but proceeded when their excitment come to a boiling as they both exclaimed "AWESOME." in perfect unisin. They grabbed the swords and begean what looked like a practiced swordfighting routine complete with severed limbs hidden inside their t-shirts and grusome slashing sound effects. I took a couple of photos for them with their cell phones at which point the blonde kid asked me if a wanted to see a photo of his AK-47. I told him that I did. There were photos of him and his friend both wearing balaclavas and holding AK-47's. They had a friend of theirs tied up on the grown and they we holding him down by stepping on his back and pointing the guns at him. They told me they wanted it to look like a taliban exicution. I took the swords back from them. They explained how their parents ordered them parts from china that were in fact real AK-47 parts modified put on paint ball guns. Before they left they invited me out to play with them some time and said that they would even let me use one of their guns. I graciously declined but I couldn't help but think that they were really nice guys for having even asked.

Friday, May 1, 2009

suicide premonitions and paranoia

My brother told me that while he was at work yesterday a man shot himself in the head with a shot gun. He works in construction and while working in the backyard of a customers house he said that a man came outside in a neighboring yard stood on the porch and then walked out of site behind the dividing fence. A loud bang was heard and a few moments later a woman's scream and crying and then a few moments later, sirens. My brother said the the man had been outside earlier in the morning and even exchanged pleasantries with his boss a few hours prior to his suicide. This left me with an uneasy feeling. I know that our jobs are quite different but for some reason every costumer that has visited the store has left me feeling vulnerable and suspicious. I pictured every person walking around the store seemingly content and then pulling out a gun and blowing their brains out all over the World of War craft Cards. A casual woman walks in. BANG. Hair and skull and blood all over the magna and Japanese candy. This dude walks in looking at magic cards, and asks me to see a deck. BANG. Parts of his face and teeth and blood splattered all over the War hammer 40 K. A man and his son walk in and browse the back issues. BANG. His eye balls explode and blood and brains smack against paper and soak through an old issue of the black panther. Any one can do it. And you can do it any where you want to. Then i realized this is a pretty morbid thought process to being going through while at work. So i read some Scooby-Do to even my shit out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

looking for nothing

The phone rings and I put down my book on the counter and answer it. I say "Hello." and "How can I help you?". A man replies. He sounds as if he is in his early thirties or perhaps forties and is speaking with a mousy tone of voice. Quiet and soft, all most like the voice of a mother trying not to wake up her child but I could tell that it was in fact a man. He told me that his name was Paul and he was wondering if there was anything in the store for him. We have what we call comic pull files for frequent customers. They give us a list of what they collect and each time i new issue of those particular series come out, we put it aside for them. I assumed this is what he was talking about. I asked him his last name and he stuttered as he told me. I flipped through the name cards not finding his. Puzzled I asked him if he perhaps ordered something (we have a separate section for customer orders) and he didn't quite understand. He stumbled on his words and generally seemed like he lacked both confidence and basic conversational telephone skills, sounding like he felt he was being a big inconvenience even by calling me.
"um...i dunno...uhh, maybe. I'm really not to sure." he said and then laughed uncomfortably. I am picturing him sweating and tugging on his collier with a hooked pointer finger while pushing up on the center of his glasses. I could sense he was nervous so I asked him as calmly as I could what it was that he ordered, because I didn't see anything with the name Paul on it. He seemed to get frightened and he quickly said "uh, um...never mind, I'm really really sorry for wasting your time." in a tone so sincere and apologetic that I actually felt sorry for him even though i had no reason to. I tried to ask him again in a calming tone, almost like trying to coax a pigeon to your hand with a piece of bread but he hangs up and I hear a dial tone. I wonder what it was he was looking for. I wonder why he sounded so pensive and uneasy. I wonder why he called a store asking for something that he himself didn't know that he was looking for. And I wonder why I care, and how this man was able to make me feel sympathetic in a situation where normally I wouldn't give a shit just by his tone of voice. For some reason I look through the order section and the pull files again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


As i walk towards the front door to unlock it i hear the sound of plastic scraping across the concrete beneath the soul of my shoe. I fiddle with my keys and notice a broken cell phone and fragments of its shattered screen and keys littered all around it. I nudge it with my toe a bit and then give it a slight kick before i unlock the door and enter the shop. During the day every once and a while i glace out the window and look at the broken phone laying in the sunlight. It's being kicked ever so slightly inch by inch as customers trample it before coming into the store in a pattern not unlike the illustrated diagrams found in dance step theory books. This guy comes in wearing a grey, white and black Columbia jacket, a Montreal Canadians hat and really thin framed glasses. He is a semi-regular customer, but not regular enough for us to know each others names and we say hello. He is tall and thin and has large dark circles under his eyes. Judging by his facial hair in comparison to his previous visits it looks as if he hasn't slept in a few days. He is your typical super hero reader, X-men, spider-man and green lantern but today he looks unsatisfied. With a grimace he examines the shelves and actually sighs when he is through. He asks me if i could recommend any alternative comic books. Something that doesn't necessarily include super heroes. Something maybe a bit more reality based. I offer many suggestions and eventually land on a personal favorite about a young man in relationship crisis upon returning to his home town. I describe the plot loosely to him and he replies saying that it sounds good but maybe too close to a personal dilemma he is currently going through. I ask . He tells me that he had been dumped by his long time girl friend a few days ago. I ask. He tells me that she had problems concerning their inability to function as a successful couple unless in a public situation. They never talk. When they do he never listens. The broken record that plays for seemingly all males at one point or another in their lives. He decides that maybe its time for a change and on second thought he will give the book a try.
He attempts to pay for the book with debit but after an uncharacteristically long "processing..." period the screen flashes at me and reads " BAD COMMUNICATION."
The guy says "I'll just pay in cash."
Out of the corner of my eye I see a pedestrian kick the broken cell phone out of view.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Industry has Changed

Just opened the store and this dude comes in the door before Ive even hung up my coat. I say "Hey." and he says; "Hockey Cards." He is wearing a blue wind breaker and matching pants, some really new looking Nike's and a tattered earth toned baseball cap that said "Copenhagen." The H in hagen was an evergreen tree. His face was slightley wrinkily and his moustache was white and spars. I showed the man where the cards were and he proceeded to barrage me with questions on specifics about the cards that I must admit was a little embaressed to not have the awnsers. What the defference in the series were, why some of the packs were more expensive than others, where they were manufactured. I just didnt know and eventully got tired of tip toeing around it and just began saying "Dunno." immeadiatly after each question. He finally decided on the packs that he wanted to buy saying that they were for his nephew and he would most likely be happy with anything. As I'm ringing him through and he is punching in his debit code into the hand held he decides to leave me with this comment; " Yeah i used to collect hockey cards back when i was a kid. But the industry has changed way too much...too many niggers." The printer spews out his receit. I tear it and hand it to him and he walks out the door.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


A mother and her two children walked into the store. She was tall and blond, very pretty and had a really friendly demeanor. Her son (who looked about six years old) knew exactly what he came for and started eye balling the pokemon cards with both plams placed firmly on the glass case smearing tiny hand prints from side to side as he browsed. Her duaghter (who looked about five) walked around with a somewhat confussed look on her face. Perhaps she had never been in a comic store before, but it was obvious that all of her preconcived notions of what would be sold in a store like this were wrong. She was looking for soemthing and clearly not finding it. The boy selected the cards he wanted and the mother took out her wallet to pay when her daughter pulled on her coat and whispered "puppet" to her mother. The mother looked confussed and then said "What do you mean?" The daughter said that she had been looking for a puppet for years and it was about time that she got one. After explaining this she looked at me and then said "Puppet" as casual as an adult ordering a drink. I told her we didnt sell them and she reacted as if it was absurd that we did not carry a wide variety. She looked at her mother and then at me and more sternly this time said "Puppet."
The mother paid for her sons cards and took both her childrens hands and proceeded towards the door when her daughter broke away from her grasp and screamed at the top of her lungs "PUPPET! PUPPET! PUPPET! IF TIM GETS CARDS I WANT PUPPET!"
Perhaps she wanted to control something? Maybe she required a personal escape from day to day life and could find such in a puppet? Whatever her reason she started running around the store, the whole time screaming for a puppet while her mother chased her down, threw her over her shoulder and said thanks to me as she left.
I could still hear her screaming about getting a puppet from the parking lot.