After I am done blowing, I take a cursory look into the towel. I see the cloth now has pale red stains of what I will assume to be blood. I try not to think too much about that. There is no need to rev up the hypochondria so early in the morning.
I sit up and slide my feet off the bed. My computer sits not 6 inches from the edge of my bed, and if I am not careful I stub my toe on the dinner tray that doubles as my computer desk.
A stubbed toe hurts, but a stubbed ingrown toe nail sends the kind of pained shock waves down your body that leaves you doubled over, cursing, and regretting how you choose the convenience of locating the computer right next to your bed (for easy access to e-mail at any time of the day or night) over placing the table at the proper ingrown toe nail distance needed for safely exiting the bed without worry.
I'm awake at 4:55 in the morning staring at the piles of laundry that decorate my bedroom floor.
After the pain stops I reflect on the day I had yesterday.
Yesterday I got called into the office again at the grocery store I work at. After counting my cash the pudgy Philippino said, "Don't turn your register light on. I am going to need to see you in the office again."
"Again?" I asked myself. "What could it be this time?"
I was sure I had not forgotten to get my customers to sign their checks. I had been told that "one more missed signature on a check" would mean my job. And even though I hated the job, I needed it bad.
"Not another WIC check?" I asked tentatively.
"No. Not that." He replied.
What I never could have expected to be told (in the side office that management keeps strictly for yelling at its employees) was that I was a rapist.
"I'm not calling you a rapist."
The manager's face was beginning to build a bit of sweat right above his upper lip. Like he was one of the villains in the 1940's black & white movies that I rented from Netflix all the time.
I was being written up for some kind of "inappropriate conduct" between myself and a fellow cashier.
"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" I asked.
And then I was told (off the record) that someone witnessed me and a female cashier take a picture together. The picture was taken at the behest of one of the photographers from the supermarket's weekly employee magazine.
"Are you kidding me?" I asked. Dumbfounded.
"No. Some one saw it and said you may have touched Jesse in the breasts or something."
"That's ridiculous." The ideas was so preposterous I could not think of a better reply.
The last few days of my life seem more like a Kafkaesque soap opera than the dull working class life it should be.
I am being sued by the government for repayment on student loans that are at least 20 years old. I was having trouble coming up with rent money. I was worried that a rise in monthly bus fare tickets would mean I would soon be walking to work. I am also one mistake away from getting fired. In addition to all of that my union was about to go on strike.
"And now you want to make me the Roman Polanski of Grocery Store Clerks?" I asked.
"I can't believe this. Unlike that dirty bastard I have never drugged a 13 year old girl, or snapped naked photos of one in a hot tub."
The more I thought about his accusation, the angrier I got.
"I've never had the audacity to stick my penis in a 13 year old girl. I've never pulled out and asked if I could "stick it in her rear" and when she says "no" place the penis back inside her and rupture the inside of the anus until I was done cumming."
"I am pretty sure...that's... not..." The assistant manager stuttered. "No one is saying that." He tried to emphasize how he was sure that the investigation would lead to nothing.
"At most a counseling or a suspension." He added. Like that was supposed to make me feel better.
"Has anyone spoken to the girl in question?" I asked.
"If you had I am sure she would clear up any misunderstanding." I reasoned.
"She is going to have to write her own statement. Just like you. Then the investigation will decide what course of action should be followed." Came the weak response from the manager.
I felt like his use of the word "investigation" and "salacious pictures" made me into one of the bumbling, hard boiled detectives in one of Roman Polanski's early movies.
I invented his use of the word "salacious" to describe the digital photo of two cashiers standing next to one another with their arms around each other, because I know big words like that, and assistant managers of the stores that "investigate" these kinds of "crimes" do not.
I just thought somebody ought to build a case for them, since the case they have against me and Jesse is so pathetic.*
*It turns out even though I "raped" Jesse in those pictures she may get suspended too.