Nine Quagmires You Can Only Understand If You Are a Teenage Worker Working at Edible Arrangements the Week Prior to Valentine’s Day
1) You have been tasked with dipping all the strawberries into the hot cauldron of molten milk chocolate to make chocolate covered strawberries and the and the orders for the Red Velvet Berry Bouquet and Box Deluxe Bundles keep rolling in and the strawberries keep coming and coming and coming and you keep dipping and dipping and dipping crates of strawberries keep coming and coming and your arm is getting tired and you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome or coronavirus.
2) You have had about 18 Red Bulls on this double shift which it is a medical fact Red Bulls have caffeine and which it is also a medical fact caffeine triggers your central nervous system and makes you sweat so yeah you’re a little bit jittery and perspirey and just overall like musty feeling to begin with and feeling musty is feeling gross.
3) You realize that all these chocolate covered strawberries will be consumed by people making sweet chocolate suburban Valentine’s Day love in their bedrooms and backseats of cars all over your town so you’re all “you’re welcome neighborhood people” and the citizens of this community better think of you as they make sweet chocolate covered strawberry valentine’s day love because you are the one who’s making sure all these strawberries get adequately laminated with this rich creamy chocolate which will facilitate their love making and you don’t have a Valentine because Devin dumped you last week.
4) While you were listening to Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” – and yeah you’re listening to Lizzoon repeat because Devin broke your heart last week and you literally need Lizzo to get over it and it’s like the third time of when Lizzo sings that part where she’s all “If he don’t love you any more then walk your fine ass out the door” and she holds the singing of “door” for a hella long time so she’s all like “doooooooooooooooooooooooooooor” and it’s so awesome but then – then! – she starts another “And do your hair toss check my nails” while she’s still holding the “doooooooooooooor” note and it might just be the most perfectest moment in all of music history so yeah bitches – of course you are going to vigorously shake your head all about and up and down and to and fro because Lizzo is singing right to you and yes you can shake your head and dip strawberries at the same time which is basically multitasking at its hella finest and yes you happen to be sweating because of the standing over a vat of molten chocolate for the last sixteen hours but then because of your sweaty ear area along with the standard residue and wax and detritus of your ear canal makes your AirPod fly into the vat of chocolate and oh fuck!
5) You look to see if Julie the manager saw the AirPod fall into the vat of chocolate and she didn’t because she is in the walk-in cooler reprimanding Devin and Maura Kate for fooling around on top of the cantaloupes and you remember when you and Devin used to fool around on top of the cantaloupes.
6) You instinctively dip your hand into the vat of hot milk chocolate to retrieve the AirPod and you burn your fingers.
7) You decide the AirPod is probably hella busted anyway and so you calculate how much overtime hours you have to work to replace the AirPods and it’s hella hours and you were going to spend your double overtime money on weed.
8) You listen to Lizzowith one AirPod for the rest of the shift and you wonder what the opposite of stereo is – Monotone? Monorail? Monolithic? Mononucleosis? And then you wonder if you can get mononucleosis from ear detritus and if all the people who eat the chocolate covered strawberries from the Red Velvet Berry Bouquet and Box Deluxe Bundles will get mononucleosis and then decide that you don’t get mononucleosis from ear detritus because you get it from a virus or amoeba or something but then you remember the coronavirus is going around.
9) You wonder why you keep saying detritus and when you learned that word and you only have four more Red Bulls and why did you take this extra shift anyway but hey, like Lizzosays, “you know you a star you can touch the sky I know that’s hard but you have to try” and That. Is. What. You. Are. Going. To. Do. The whole village is counting on you!!
Gary M. Almeter is an attorney who lives in a quaint and cozy neighborhood in Baltimore, MD with his wife, three children and beagle. His short stories, essays and humor pieces have appeared in McSweeney’s, Writer’s Bone, the Good Men Project, 1966, and Splitsider. He is the recipient of the Maryland Writer’s Association’s 2015 Creative Nonfiction Award. His first book “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” will be published in March 2019.