I was paid eight dollars an hour. Time and a half on the twenty after forty. Good money, exponentially lower than my boss or her boss or his boss. I was the bottom. And I was picking up a seventeen thousand dollar engagement ring.
Suits everywhere. Ties, broaches, hair perfect or balding. Millions of dollars of inventory. Sparkling madness. I stood in the store hunched. Desert camouflage pants, a shirt with KoRn in large green letters, tattered white sneakers and a black hat with a two headed eagle barely hiding my growing grunge hair.
They sent me here. Its was my job.
The store had a greeter. A short brunette, cute, too professional looking. Dark blue suit dress, the one that looks like a pants suit until you can get a good look behind the podium. Very sweet greeting. Its her job.
“We’ve been expecting you,” she said, her voice full of charm.
“Alright,” I said awkwardly.
I was told to take a seat in the waiting area, only a dozen feet from the first display case of necklaces, rings, frames and everything else encrusted with diamonds.
“One moment,” she announced.
My leg bounced up and down. The camouflage pattern moving like ocean waves. Nervousness unlikely. Soda, lots of it, and coffee. The day began nearly twelve hours ago, awoken by a phone call. Jonathan on the other end announcing another tape error and my need to rush the fixed copy over to CBS. Can do, I told him, barely awake. Several hours were left until my shift officially ended.
A fat man in a tight three piece suit came over and held out his hand. I stood quickly and shook it. He silently led me to one of the dozens of sales rooms. Another suit sitting behind the desk in a plush leather chair reached out his hand. How many dicks did I touched by proxy? I was very glad they didn’t kiss.
I sat and they began their ritual. I was given a laminated sheet with a small baggy stapled to it. On the sheet was all the details of the single diamond that rolled around in the plastic case. Karat, shape, shine, flaws; everything a connoisseur or shallow woman would want. In front of me, on the deep brown desk of the sales suit, was some kind of microscope-style machine. After telling me I would have to confirm in the information on the sheet, he opened the baggy and used a pair of tweezers to grab the rock, placing it above the light on the machine.
I looked at the precious little thing. So expensive. So rare, if one ignored that millions of them resided in vaults. This single object was worth more than half my yearly pay. For some reason, I took the confirmation seriously. I was hoping for it to be fake. That I was the unwitting pawn in some sting of the blood diamond black market. Something other than what I knew was really going on. I looked at it several times, confirming the flaws, the shape and everything else they asked. They had done this a thousand thousand times before. It was boring to them. It was work. It made them the money they wanted. Money, theirs, others and mine, was the reason for these rocks and the millions of lives and billions of dollars invested in their discovery and protection.
The first suit, the fat one without a tailor, led me away from the sales room. The legal obligations had been met. Back in my seat, waiting, my leg went off again. Time went slowly. I waited in my half-hazard style surrounded by suits and dresses and smiles selling dirt. Shiny dirt.
When it was all over, they handed me a white plastic bag with the newly constructed ring inside. No hand shakes. I say thank you, giving a wry downward nod, and turn to leave.
“Come again,” said the gleaming brunette.
All that money for what?
All that work? Lost. Divorces. Money. Hate.
I was a blip. A bad blip.
It’s a crime
Share it fairly
But don’t take a slice of my pie
I wish I had been more of an oddity.
It’s a hit
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit
I’m in the high-fidelity first class travelling set
I think I need a Lear jet
Smashing the glass. Maybe
But then I wouldn’t get paid.
All might dollar. Currency. Labor wealth.
I hold their greatest possessions.
And I work for their approval.
Disdain is currency.
So is love.