Wednesday, January 4, 2012

“Double the bags, young man!”

Cotton Boy doesn’t know her name, nor does she want to reveal hers to me. I despised her the first time I met her; I dislike her the second time I served her; I reacted nonchalantly the third time when she snapped at me. Yesterday she came to the drugstore again with her guide dog, usually around the same time, 5 p.m. She repeatedly threw demands at me with a harsh and blunt coarse voice, “Double the bags, young man!” I gazed at her sympathetically this time and pondered, “Doesn’t she have any families or relatives to help her conduct some daily shopping errand?” Of course, I didn’t inquire, but hurried to place the merchandises into several bags. I, then, doubled each bag to assure that she wouldn’t drop any goods out of these frail plastic bags on the way home during this frigid gloomy night. I showed my concern, “It is slippery outside after the snow. Be careful. Have a good night.” As usual, she didn’t reply with the common phrase, “Thank you!”, or even give me a glance. She ambled out of the store entrance and continued her lonely walk. I don’t know where she lives. Yet, I know she will be back very soon!

I recalled her first appearance about a month ago. I was busy scanning the items, bagging the produce and collecting customers’ money. Then, she came in the store with a brownish Labrador guide dog sticking its tongue out as if he was exhausted or thirsty by walking too much. She has a big head, huge boots and a humongous butt, wearing a pair of fist-size thick-rimmed glasses with a confined sour look. I placed small items and a pack of potato chips nicely in a bag; I separated the half gallon milk into another sack. Before I claimed how much the total was, she slanted her eyes at me through the super-thick glasses and shouted, “Pack this and that together and double all the bags!” I was confused and withdrew all the items back to the counter. “I am sorry. Can you repeat how you like your things to be packed?” I discontented and continued, “You should have notified me before everything had been bagged.” She ignored me. I re-packed them into four separated bags which were doubled. She was grumpy and muttered some curse words which I couldn’t recognize the meaning, but I heard, “Double the bags, young man!” I handed her the merchandise. The dog led the way solemnly; they both disappeared admist the dark. I sighed, “People here misuse and overuse plastic bags. If she were in Hong Kong, she would have to pay almost 10 cents per plastic bag. If she were charged 80 cents, she definitely wouldn’t abuse using many bags.”

Several days later, she appeared at the cash register and was ready to check her produce out. I greeted her, but expectedly, she did not greet back or either her statue dog. She howled, “Double the bags, young man!” “Okay, okay! They are all double!” I made a sharp reply. She stared at me; I stared at her back. Through the thick lens of her glasses, her eye balls emerged blurry and fuzzy. Her mouth shivered, but she didn’t say a word, picked up her stuff and exited through the door.

A week ago, while she was wobbling her butt, she knocked off some goods from the shelf without placing them back. I followed her, gathered the fallen pieces and located them back to the right spots. I wondered if this was her intent to make a mess or in fact, she couldn’t focus or see things clearly. She collected what she wanted and reached the cash register area. Before she unclipped her mouth, I stated, “Okay, okay. I will double all bags.” She looked dismal and commented the following, “I can’t see well. I don’t want my goods falling out of the bags while walking home.” I nodded. She left.

Next time when I see her, I should ask her some caring questions. Perhaps, she will thaw her hardened heart and tell me where she lives and what her dog’s name is.

Cotton Boy wants to be her friend!

Monday, January 2, 2012

I almost "Strangle" an Amigo!

Yesterday was January 1, 2012 which I was lucky to have off from work. I slacked on the fluffy couch, ate chocolate macadamia nut cookies, drank champagne and daydreamed from dawn till dusk if I could avoid going to work at the drugstore the next day. As time was lapsing, at midnight, I suddenly awoke and realized I had better be in bed or I wouldn’t be able to report the next morning working shift at my “beloved” drugstore.

The alarm clock struck at 8 a.m. I struggled for a minute and crawled out of bed like a sea cucumber being washed ashore by the relentless wave. I slogged to the bathroom and gazed at the mirror with one eye. “It is my first day of work in 2012. God, please help me remove any obstacles in my life, eradicate any insane people around me and strengthen my determination to seek for a better job than loiter my life at the drugstore,” I prayed with a V-shape hand gesture in front of the mirror. I, then, winked at myself and said, “Time to attack the day!”

I punched in and was assigned to stock the shelves. I was so glad that I was not a cashier greeting customers robotically with the blessing, “Happy New Year!” I could take my time to re-stock many products which were looted during the holiday season. I hummed, “Ooooh, you can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life. Ooooh, see that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen …”

Suddenly, there was a voice coming from behind my back. “Hey, Amigo. I need help! My wife birthday is today. I want to buy her a gift. Do you still have any singing Christmas Monkeys left? When you press on the monkey's heart; it will sing,” asked a Hispanic guy. I turned around and replied, “Let me check!” I looked around the store, but couldn’t find any. I informed him, “Sir, I am sorry. They seem to be sold out.”

“Damn, never mind! Amigo, do you sell diaper?” he continued. “Yes, follow me. Let me show you the location.” We walked towards the aisle; I said, “Here they are!” Before I turned around, he raised another question, “Amigo, it is for my wife.” “Sir, there are many different sizes of adult diapers from which you can choose. I believe your wife may require X-large or XX-large; they are adjustable” I answered.

I was ready to retreat to my work; he groaned and moaned, “No, Amigo, it is for ladies. You know, ladies!” “Are you referring “TAMPON”?” I confirmed. He grinned and I said, “They are located at the next aisle. Let me show you where they are,” I thought our conversation should reach the end.

“Amigo! Amigo! Amigo!” he sputtered. “Do you know what are the differences of these brands? Which one is better?” I cried out loudly, “What the heck? How do I know! I am a male, AMIGO! Call your wife and ask for details.”

Fortunately, he quit asking; otherwise, I would throttle his throat and put a duct tape on his big mouth! No more Amigo! 

I silently walked away.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cow Mama and her three girls!

What is more important than to laugh and be delightful as the earth is rolling up the curtain and welcoming the year of 2012. May Cotton Boy wish everyone to reach the realm of Cotton World in which we are allowed to dream, to float and to be free!

Last October, I wrote a humorous story about a Cow Mama and her three little girls. If you have read it, please laugh again. If this is your first time to experience Cotton Boy’s humor, please be nice and laugh. If you are numb and think you have many better ones, why don’t you send me one and I will disseminate it to my fans.

Here is the story …  

One sunny morning, a Cow Mama and her three baby cows were out grazing in the green pasture. The first baby cow asked Cow Mama, "Mama, why is my name “Daisy”?"

Cow Mama replied, "Well sweetie, when you were born, a daisy fell on your head."

The first baby cow was satisfied, bounced back and continued relishing the grass.

A moment later, the second baby cow came up to Cow Mama and questioned "Mama, why is my name "Pansy"?

Cow Mama happily chimed "Well, honey, when you were born; you were surrounded by many colorful pansies."

The baby cow reveled and was very invigorated, “Thank you, Cow Mama”. She continued gazing.

Then, there came the third baby cow. She was confused and inquired Cow Mama, “Mama, why didn’t you name me as some sorts of flowers? Why do I have the name, “Shitty”?”

Cow Mama gulped down an enormous air and said, “Sweet heart, I thought I was going to the bathroom, but you came out!”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What the heck is "Bake a Cake"? (Part II)

The story continues …

Cotton Boy: Willie, you didn’t bake a cake, did you? I mean a real cake! This jargon or idiom must mean something else.

Willie: (weeping…) God kill me please! I was so confused and so eager to be employed. Working for the financial industry is definitely a dream job for me. Now, everything has been ruined; everything was destroyed because of my stupidity.

Cotton Boy: Willie, we, Chinese, in general, don’t know how to bake cakes or cookies. We don’t grow up with this tradition. Who taught you? And what sort of cake did you make by the way?

Willie: I called friends to help, watched Youtube videos and searched for on-line recipes of how to make a blackforest cake with cherry icing on top. I spent hours to learn, to mix all the ingredients and to bake it. Though the bottom of the cake was burnt a bit, it is still delicious. Cotton Boy, I am eating the cake now.

Cotton Boy: Are you alright? Didn’t they take your cake? What is going on? What is the true meaning behind of “Bake a Cake”? Tell me the entire story, please stop eating your cake while talking to me and quit whimpering! Be a MAN!

Willie: Yes! Yes! Yes! In financial world, “Bake a Cake” means as follows:

“This term is mostly used on public companies which have a particular stock index in the market. Before any companies release a quarter or an annual financial report to the public whether it is a surplus or deficit, the companies will try to minimize any sudden fluctuation affecting the price of a stock. They will be seeping the news to the market bit by bit. This act is called “Bake a Cake”. For example, if a company's earnings are large for a particular quarter, the company or its financial consulting firm may leak the information so that investors bake it into the cake, reducing the pressure for an unsustainable jump in price when the earnings are actually announced. This allows the markets to gradually adjust before the announcement. It is more formally called discounting the news.”

Willie: The secretary, the manager and the VP were speechless when they saw the cake. I even carried a plastic knife and some paper plates to serve them. The VP said he was impressed and claimed that I was very nice and authentic. They laughed; I laughed. All became mocking. The VP hurriedly wrapped up the interview and walked me out to the meeting room with a statement, “We will contact you after the decision is made.” I was holding the half uncut cake disappointedly, entered the elevator and punched the “G” button. Fortunately enough, there was not an open window. If I had found one at that moment, I would have surely jumped out of it to kill myself.”

Cotton Boy: What the heck? I am so sorry to hear that, Willie. It is their loss not to hire you. Forget everything and be prepared for the next one. At least, you know how to bake a cake now.

Willie: COTTON BOY!!! (yelling, screaming and shouting … blah, blah, blah)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What the heck is “Bake a Cake”? (Part I)

My mobile phone rang at 3:30 p.m. as the snow began falling. A few of snowflakes were descending at first; then millions followed. From the size of sesame, snowflakes gradually enlarged their cubic feet to become multi-petal white roses hailing down to the ground. An instant later, naked trees, the sleeping lawn and the steeples of chimneys were shrouded by a thin layer of white scarf.

I picked up the phone; the caller ID displayed, “Willie” who has been a friend of mine, Cotton Boy, for more than two decades and coincidentally he has migrated and rooted in the soil of America in the era of Bill Clinton. Since the financial tsunami paralyzed the U.S. economy in 2008, Willie’s working hours had been slashed. He became a part-time worker and lived under the umbrella of unemployment benefits. He searches for jobs, and has been sending out hundreds of resumes to various companies. He was invited to attend some interviews, but the outcomes were mostly the same, “We are still in the process of interviewing candidates. We will contact you once the decision is made,” he was told. Willie is a smart, organized and diligent man; he never expected he would be spun and spiraled downward in the employment world. He patiently waited and waited, they never called back. Instead, emails stating his background of knowledge was extensive and impressive, but someone with better qualification had filled the position. One after the other came of these similar responses from prospective employers, Willie was upset, then pent-up with anger and resentment. I consoled him, “Just keep trying and be resilient. Tomorrow will be better!” He sounded grumpier each time on the phone.

The mobile phone continued ringing and vibrating. I hesitated to answer it as I was planning to have my late lunch and I know Willie too well that he wouldn’t call me during the day time unless very shitty things happened. A song, “That’s What Friends Are For,” by Dionne Warwick emerged. I blatantly chimed, “Cotton Boy is here always for friends no matter if it is a good time or bad time. That’s what friends are for.”

The following are the dialogues between Cotton Boy and Willie on December 27, 2011:

Cotton Boy: Hey Shot Gun Willie, what’s up? (That’s the nickname I address him since middle-school)
Willie: Cotton Boy, they tricked me. It is the third interview that I had with this financial consulting company within this month. I thought I would be hired. I was so close but the interviewer gave me a same reply, “Will contact you once the decision is made.” I am exhausted!
Cotton Boy: What had happened? Perhaps, they will call you shortly. Don’t be disappointed too soon! Think positively.
Willie: I totally screwed up. A few days ago, a secretary notified me the VP of the firm would like to schedule another interview with me right after Christmas. At the end of the phone call, she said I should prepare and “Bake a Cake”. I was exhilarated and overjoyed to receive this invitation and didn’t pay much attention to the true meaning of this idiom, “Bake a Cake”.
Cotton Boy: What is it? Bake a Cake? Not a “Piece of Cake”? What does it mean? Oh…..No! No! No! Willie, you didn’t bake a cake and bring it to the interviewer. Did you?”

***Did Willie bake a real cake and present it during the interview? What is the true meaning of “Bake a Cake” behind? How did the interview end up? Come back to by December 30th to reveal the rest of the story.***

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I can't wait the year of 2012 to begin!

Cotton Boy is getting lazy and is slacking in his snowflake dream. Before the beginning of 2012 is knocking at our doors, I would love to take this wonderful holiday times to deliver my warmest regards to my dearest Cotton Boy's fans, "Happy New Year!"

**A new story of Cotton Boy will be released by the end of Dec. 28, 2011. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

“I care and Santa cares, Cinderella!”

Cotton Boy doesn’t live amid the clouds nor in a castle; Cotton Boy lives in one of the buildings clustering on the edge of Lake Erie, Ohio. Half of my apartment directly faces toward the sapphire lake. I usually love standing by the windows, sliding them open, laying my hands on the sills and leaning forward to catch the fresh crisp breeze in the morning to revitalize and reenergize every moving cell in my body. I, instantly, feel like I was buoying and floating in the air and awaiting my Merry-Go-Round castle to transfer me to a gigantic piece of cotton cloud. Angels hymn in the mid-air; humming birds hover in the sky, sun rays shine and glitter everything. I do nothing but am solely eating giant cherry cotton candies and polishing my crown. This is my favorable daydream of my last summer and autumn since I settled here in the U.S.

When the winter arrives, “Oh, no! Everything is becoming naked. Plants and caterpillars perish. Rodents are hibernating; sparrows submerge close to the bottom of the scrubs and cloak themselves underneath the fallen leaves. All the interactions of our universe seem to be gradually frozen,” I aspirated.

I intentionally pushed through the window, but heard the wind was howling outside. “It is a blustery cold day. I should find something else to do at home besides daydreaming,” I murmured. I pelted a quick glance to the laundry basket by the door. It was forming a little mountain; clothes were spewing out of the basket and carpeting the floor. I collected and pinched them back to the basket. I whistled “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle All The Way …”; I gripped the handles, lifted it up and waddled down to the laundry room which was at the ground floor of the building.

“Hey, Cinderella! How are you? Merry Christmas!” She glanced at me and muttered, “Fine … No one care! No one care!” “Are you alright, Cinderella? Tell me who is being mean to you? I will kick their butts for you!”

Cinderella is employed as a cleaner of the property. She told me her name one time, yet I did not catch it exactly. I only remember the first letter of her name is, “C”. Since then, I called her “Cinderella. She never opposes how I address her; perhaps she likes this fairy tale name. Cinderella is Romanian and is in her mid 50’s, short and plump, but she moves agilely and works diligently. She informed me that she doesn’t have any relatives here. She got married with an American 20 years ago; then divorced and now she is by herself. I questioned if she ever wanted to move back and be close to her family. She screeched and shouted out words heavily accented from the region of Eastern Europe in hopes of explaining me in details. I was attentive, but honestly, I didn’t understand. Her face turned red and became impatient. She kept blowing words out of which I couldn’t recognize. I hurriedly said, “Slow down. You can tell me next time.” After that, I never ask her again. That’s what we call, “language barrier”. I admire her and find she is so brave to live alone in a foreign land with limited language skill. She is fighting against all the uncertainties to accomplish her American dream(s).

Back to the “Scene”:

“See, see, see! Very dirty. I clean every~day and every~day dirty,” she protested and showed me the rag a few inches away from my nose of which she just finished wiping the top of all the washing machines. I fell back a bit and I proclaimed, “It is not me! I am a good tenant.” She mocked and said, “Whatever! No one care! No one care!”

I spoke with a heroic voice, “I care and Santa cares, Cinderella. Merry Christmas!”