Mannequins

When she got to work all she saw was a nightmare of people and clothes in an endless stretch that had her looking obsessively at the time. Even the good business from the upcoming fourth of July sales and the new merchandise hadn’t boosted her numbers. Lately she'd been thinking about Maurice's first tour with the Army, how great it was; he was getting paid well and her life had been in order. He had been thinking of going back and possibly getting a career with the military and the idea pleased her. In Afghanistan one of his friends that she had known died right in front of him the second day he got there. Maybe he shouldn't go back. Right when she needed the distraction, Alfonso walked by her department wanting to flirt. Good enough for now, she thought.

“Hey Alfonso,” she said quickly and smelled his excess of cologne before he reached her.

"Tayyylor," he said and leaned his head towards her. His voice was very deliberately sweet, melodic in a way that sought gain and smelled faintly of garlic buttered steak.

"Hey," she said folding some clothes.

He had taken hold of her hip to kiss her hello but she pushed away the self-entitled welcome. He fought back and tried to ease himself again, then she looked at him threateningly and he flinched, then gathered himself for a quick second. Six feet tall, nice brown skin, dark hair, clean cut fade, almond shaped green eyes. That beard and jaw were to die for. They almost hid the fact that his mouth was a girl's. That whiny pout and the way he did his eyebrows annoyed her every time she caught them. The light showed a smooth patch of hair over the wrinkles of his black shirt where he left it unbuttoned between the lapels of his blazer. Though his broadness sizzled her, she hid it and threw him a cold scrutinizing stare until his discomfort was visible, closing this moment. Proud that the part of her that really wanted to fuck him was resisted, she could be motherly now and her gaze invited him to explain himself.

"Hard morning," he said disappointed.

"Yeah, things haven't been so smooth lately," she answered.

"I should go back, I've been away for too long. Don't want Lisette catching me here."

"Of course," she said absolving him. "Now go."

She caught him mumbling something to himself before he walked away. Men are always looking for a mother or a whore. The slightest sign of discomfort and they run. The thought made her proud that her husband was a capable man and her body swayed in relief of this tension being over. To think the world yours because of your dick, this instrument that pricks. Only men. The only straight guy in the women's perfume section and making twenty dollars an hour at that. Just handing out perfume samples and being a “brand ambassador,” the professional label for pretty boys and girls. She actually has to work for her money, convincing people to buy shit they don’t need. Keeping her gaze at him one more time as he walked away unaware, she sealed her dominance then caught some dandruff on the epaulettes of her blazer and brushed it with indignation. Her peeling red nails annoyed her as she considered a time to get them done, foreseeing a boring evening at home and maybe even dreaming about work. She hated this place enough, and then to have to see it in her sleep. Her husband later too would probably be in a bad mood.

The sight of a tall blonde in a black suit interrupted her thoughts. The figure looked both ways before her frame moved towards her, above the racks of bright summer clothing, dresses, blouses, light shirts, tanks and skirts, amidst a few perfectly still mannequins that seemed to be protecting her eyes from this person. It was eleven thirty-five on her watch.

"Taylor, we need to talk about your report," the blonde woman said with a haughty look.

"My husband's thinking about going back on tour and it's shaking up the house," Taylor answered dryly. It embarrassed her to say this. "You should see improvements, I'm doing better this week."

"By next report you have to be up at least twenty points. I know I can count on you, and sales are going to pick up," Lisette said, wide eyed and unable to look at Taylor straight in the face.

Lisette was five years Taylor's junior, twenty-two, with a sharp way of turning herself after she stared at you with her wide blue eyes, a calculated sway in her hips that was emphasized by her tight skirts, that she discreetly adjusted from time to time. She walked like somebody had fucked her in the ass.

"I'm very fair, ok," she continued slowly, leveraging her tall body against Taylor's and pausing at intervals, balancing between heel and hip. "But we can't. Let you. slip away. I scheduled you for a 'Wow!' class today at two O’clock. They have new videos on how to interact with the customer and push for more Wow! Cards. We have to educate the customer about the rewards and benefits. I believe in you and that this is a slight step back and we're going to get you back on your toes!" She said with an ambivalent pitch as if to remind Taylor that her pity had limits.

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Darryl Wawa

Darryl Wawa is a Port-au-Prince born Haitian-American who studied Photography and Creative writing. He enjoys chocolate and good books. That said, maybe a movie is a good book. He loves to work with images and words and their pairing.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, October 28, 2018 - 10:40