The most distinct memory I have of that Photomat was that it was there I realized I had a scent that was distinctly my own. The place was so damn tiny that I'd fill it with this strange mix of cigarettes, coffee and me within seconds. I was 17 or so and spent my days teaching myself harmonica and writing. Self-digestion in a very small box, stewing in my own scent, windows everywhere. Funny. It was the first time I was paid to be creative.
My boss, Anita, was an overweight, badly complexed, almost middle aged woman who was kind and good natured. She had a demeanour though that spoke of a dissatisfaction with life that was complete but repressed. When she wasn't smiling she looked tortured. Her husband Matt, oddly, was psychotically jealous and possessive of her. He'd do things like call up on various people's shifts to see if she was there. He'd drop by on his lunch hour to sit in the parking lot and spy on her. Now, I'm not meaning any disrespect by this, but man you're woman weighs 260 and has a face full of acne- CALM DOWN!
It made my stomach CHURN with pity. When Anita would talk about it she would either laugh or scowl. Made my stomach churn with pity.
One day I get this call from him, goes like this:
"Fotomat, this is Sean how can I help you?" "YOUMOTHERFUCKINGPIECEOFSHIT! IM GONNA FUCKIN KILL YOU!" "What?" "I know you've been fucking her you bastard- I found the note you wrote her in the trash!" "I have no idea-" "DON'T try to fuckin' lie to me!!" "Uh- WHO the FUCK are you?!" "LIKE YOU DON'T KNOW! It's MATT, YOUR GIRLFRIEND'S HUSBAND!!" "WHOA MAN! I don't know what the hell you found, but I sure as hell didn't-" "IT'S TOO LATE FOR THAT SHIT MAN! I'm coming over there right now and I'M GONNA FUCKIN KILL YOU!! DO YOU HEAR ME?!? I am gonna fucking KILL YOU!" [click]
I hold the phone in my hand for like 20 seconds with one long "What the fuck?" resounding through my skull. I hang up and call the police who say that they'll keep a car in the area. MmmHmm, thanks. Next I call my regional manager and that goes like so:
"Hello this is Debbie." gravely semi-masculine voice. "Hi Debbie, this is Sean from 209." "Yeah?" "Yeah, I just got a death threat from Anita's husband and I'm gonna close up shop and get out of here." "...Close-up, huh? ...Did he sound serious?" "Yes Debbie, he sounded serious." I mean, really, I suppose it could have been one of those light-hearted death-threats that one might get from a manager's spouse. "Did you call the police?" "Before I called you." "What did they say?" I swear, there is this pestery tone in her voice that's like a crow's caw and it gets under my skin. "THEY said they'd keep a car in the area, which doesn't make me feel either protected or served." "Well, that should be enough. Besides, it's only 11, if you close now it'll be a whole day of lost revenue." "What?" "Could you at least stay open until after the lunch hour?" "Uhh sure..." I was stunned. "Okay good, call me if anything happens, okay?" "O...kay...." "Bye" "B-" [click]
Funny. Right there I cemented my hatred of people who choose the corporate path. One long "What the fuck?" rang through me. I felt more offence at her than the guy who wanted to kill me. Funny.
Anyway, I sat there and decided that I'd write a will out in my journal and if he got there before it was done, well, then that was just meant to happen. I finished the will, locked up shop and left.
About a week later a restraining order was put down on him in regard to Anita and I, damning in his eyes I'm sure. Needless to say, they were getting a divorce. I never saw Matt after that but I did run into Anita about 6 years later in a bar.
She'd become svelt and strangely beautiful, her face had cleared up and she smiled honestly. There were like three guys viewing for her attention. Odd. I suppose, in the end, the only one who really lost out was Matt. My stomach churns in pity still.
REVSCRJ is a writer/musician living in Monterey, California. Constantly on the verge of homelessness, he hopes that you enjoy his work or else his life has been in vain. Contact REVSCRJ at email@example.com to lodge complaints, notify of lawsuits, or receive spiritual advice.