Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Tales From the People Aquarium

Tonight, while I was at work, when it was getting late and business was winding down, a couple of kids to whom I had already sold tickets came back up to the window. "Hey, can I get your number?" One of them asked. His friends started to crack up. I was taken aback.

"My number?" I confirmed.

"Yeah," he said. "They don't think I got swag." Those were his words. I swear.

"Uh, no, sorry," I said. His friends laughed at him, and they retreated around the corner, embarrassed. They stayed there for a long time, and every once in a while one or two heads would poke around the corner, only to catch me watching them. Finally, another scout (who looked to be the youngest of the group) was sent up to the window.

"Hey," he said. "I'm supposed to ask for your number. Just write down something fake." That was exactly what I did. Scribbling a 555 number on a blank ticket, I handed it to him, told him to give it to his friend, that I'd changed my mind. That kid was so happy when he thought he'd gotten my number, I almost felt bad. It didn't help that all his friends were in on it. But, I thought, he was happy, so what difference did it make?

A few minutes later, we closed, and I collected my things and clocked out. As I was headed to my car, I heard, "Yo, this number is fake!" behind me. I was surprised by how vulnerable I felt, without the protection of the big wacko-proof window between me and these kids. They were all younger than me, and none of them was particularly threatening, but I was nervous. I was halfway to my car when the smallest sprang from the curb and intercepted me.

"I know they're all over there acting like a bunch of idiots," he said quietly, standing a little too close to me. "When I'm over here tryin' to actually get your number."

Towering over him, I raised my eyebrows, amused. He was probably a foot shorter than me. "How old are you?" I asked, trying to keep the incredulity from my voice.

"Thirteen," he said.

"I am too old for you," I said with finality, and left. But I waved to them as I drove by.

1 comment:

  1. That was one cool story! Tales from the wacko-proof window! Love it.