The 20-Stone Destroyer

Chapter One

They call me Sol Goldmer. At least I think they do. I haven’t been called much of anything since I started working at Mick’s Cigarettes and Concessions two months ago. Of course, this does not count those stupid frat kids who think it’s so funny to holler “Thank you, come again!” every time they leave with their six-pack and nothing to do. Because I’m white, get it? Yawn.
That said, whiteness is all I have going for me. They also told me I’m Jewish, but I’m not even sure if that’s a good or bad thing anymore, what with Israel and all. I don’t know shit about Israel to be honest, there’s no way I’d even be able to go there with my lack of funds (“A poor Jew? Does not compute,” they said). I heard Germany’s actually paying Jews to live there. Great. Now if they’d only pay me to board a plane across the pond too.
Now that I’m off that tangent, I suppose you wanted to know why I’m so deprived and have nothing going for me. So now I’ll tell you why. Remember that movie Marty with Ernest Borgnine? That’s me, except I could make another figure of salary as a butcher and Ernie was always a couple stones slimmer than me. Oh yeah, and I somehow doubt Ernie’s character was supposed to be on parole. And if he was, he probably had a good reason for being in jail in the first place. He wasn’t framed or anything, not like me. You see, I never even knew anyone named Tabitha, but then I got this court summons on my doormat one Wednesday evening after returning from the pawn shop, and wouldn’t you believe it? Sued by one Tabitha Harrigan on the other side of town for “Gross Sexual Imposition.” Sexual? I was a 33-year old virgin then for crying out loud, not that I was willing to tell the court that. Maybe if I had, I would have won, but I don’t like to spend my time thinking about parallel universes. Even if there were parallel universes, there’s no chance in hell the government would allow some minimum wage slave at Mick’s to access them. They’d save them for the one percent.
My manager isn’t exactly the one percent either, which gives me comfort, I guess. Truth be told, it’s hard to get comfort out of a guy who claims to own over two hundred guns and threatens to let off any or all of them if I slip up. I don’t own any guns myself, what with being paroled and all. I don’t know if I’m a pacifist or not, but even if I am, I’d probably keep one or two, if only for protection’s sake. I may weigh 20 stone, but even my slimmest customers can intimidate me on a bad day, which is every day, come to think of it.
Today, this woman walks into the store. Women rarely visit the store due to its musky atmosphere. Anyway, she says her name is Kristina Jaskinovic. I say, what are you telling me for? She tells me her photograph is on the wall in the backroom, and she wants me to take it down. I’ve worked here for two months now, but I never noticed any photographs in the backroom. I tell her I’ll be back to speak with my manager, so I head over to the backroom where, conveniently, he also spends most of his time.
“Goldman,” he says. “Get back to the counter this instant.”
“Call me Goldmer,” I remind him. “This woman came into the store, you see. She said her photograph is on the wall in the backroom, and she wanted me to take it down.”
“Tell Kristina Jaskinovic to piss off,” replies the manager. “She comes in every few months and does the same thing. She needs to realize that once she is banned from the store, she is banned for life. But she will never realize this, so from now on, it will be your responsibility to keep Kristina’s photograph up and keep Kristina herself out of the store. Got it?”
“Why was she banned?” I ask, but the manager is too irate to answer. He slams his fists on the backroom’s table, threatening to shoot me for the umpteenth time, and I waddle back to the counter. Kristina Jaskinovic is nowhere in sight. How inconvenient!


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