Futures and Frosting
Author:Tara Sivec

“There, there,” I say, patting her on the back again. I really think I should have been born a guy. I don’t know many women who get skeeved out by displays of emotion. If I see a woman crying, I usually run in the other direction. I am not one of those people that throws my arms around her and tells her everything will be okay—because it probably won’t. It will most likely suck just as much whether I hug you or not, so it’s probably best for everyone involved if I just stand off to the side and let someone else do the touching. I feel much more comfortable wallowing in anger and stewing about something privately until my head explodes. That's natural. Hugging and crying and snotting all over someone isn’t.

“Didn’t you just get a raise? Why in the hell would they fire you?” I ask as I worm my way out of her arms and try to subtly back away from her.

Don’t look at the snot on your shoulder, don’t look at the snot on your shoulder. I know you can feel it there, but for God’s sakes, DON’T LOOK AT IT!

Jenny finally releases her hold on me and uses the back of her hands to wipe the tear streaks off her face. If only she would have done that with the snot instead of using my shoulder.

“I don’t have any idea why they really fired me. They gave me some song and dinner about positive attitude.” she pouts.

“You mean dance?” I ask in confusion.

“Claire, focus! I got fired! This is no time for talk about dancing,” she yells.

I take a deep, calming breath and put my hands on my hips to keep from strangling her.

“Okay, so they fired you because they didn’t like your attitude?” I reiterate.

Jenny looks at me incredulously. “I know, right? I told them I was the most positive person in that dump.”

“Verbatim?” I ask her.

“I didn’t forbid them anything. What are you talking about? Are you even listening? Have you been drinking?”

The last is stated in a stage whisper as she looks over at the customer who came in earlier. I pinch the bridge of my nose and try not to stomp my foot and throw a temper tantrum like Gavin does when I tell him he is grounded from PlayStation.

“What am I going to do without a job?” she whines as she paces back and forth in front of me. “It’s mine and Drew’s three month anniversary and I was going to buy him something really special and now I’m not going to be able to afford it.”

I grab onto her elbow to stop her pacing and pulled her back behind the counter with me when I saw the customer was finally ready to order.

“I’m sure Drew will understand,” I tell her as I start filling a box with the woman’s request of a pound of white chocolate covered pretzels.

“No he won’t. He’s going to be so upset. I already told him what I was buying, and he was really looking forward to the vagina mold,” she says dejectedly.

I drop the metal candy scoop on the floor and look over at Jenny as she sighs miserably.

As I pick up the scoop and toss it into the sink before grabbing a clean one, all sorts of thoughts swirl through my mind that shouldn’t be when I am waiting on a customer—like who-ha’s covered in green fuzz and moldy cheese vaginas dancing around the Tupperware container in the back of my fridge with two-month old spaghetti in it.

Jenny looks over and sees the horror on my face as I try to block out the mental image of moldy cheese vaginas singing, “Mold, mold, baby,” in the voice of Vanilla Ice in my head.

“Claire, didn’t you see the new product Liz got in last week? It’s a mold you can make of your vagina. So your guy can…you know…”

Jenny uses the age old finger gesture of a penis going into a vagina by making a circle with her index finger and thumb and using the index finger of her other hand to move in and out of it.

“Eeeew, what? That’s disgusting,” I whisper, smacking her hands to get her to stop making that motion with her fingers as I hand the customer her chocolate.

“It’s not disgusting,” Jenny says. “It’s romantic. Drew wants a replica of my…” she glances at the customer and then lowers her voice “…love tunnel so he can be with me whenever we’re apart.”

I step away from her to ring up the customer, trying not to picture Drew holding on to some little floppy, silicone vagina-looking thing, talking to it in a baby voice like it's Jenny. “Oooooh, I wuv my wittle fake Jenny-vagina! Yes I do!”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just get him a blow-up doll and tape your picture over its face?” I ask as I watch the customer leave the store with her purchase and hope she didn’t hear enough of this conversation to prevent her from ever stepping foot in here again.

Jenny shakes her head at me in pity. “You have absolutely no sense of romance, Claire.”

I huff in indignation as I get busy filling a box with chocolate covered strawberries for an order that's being picked up after lunch. I am plenty romantic.

Just this morning while he slept, I had left Carter a box of his favorite candy next to his pillow–Globs: piles of white chocolate covered, crushed potato chips and pretzels drizzled with caramel. I figured it would soften him up to the note I placed next to the box telling him if he left the toilet seat up one more time and my ass got an involuntary bath at six in the morning, I would put super glue on the head of his penis while he slept. I had even signed the note with a couple of Xs and Os.

Who says romance is dead?

I close up the box of strawberries and finish it off with my signature pink bow and a sticker with the name and address of the store. Setting it aside, I turn to face Jenny and find her inhaling an entire pan of white chocolate covered Nutter Butter cookies that I had been experimenting with that morning.

“Jenny, put the chocolate down and step away from the tray slowly.” I speak to her in my best hostage negotiator voice. “I wanted to ask you if you’d be able to help out with a few things for me, but I knew you were busy with work,” I explain as I reach around her and take the tray from her hands before she harms herself or others with her unemployment gluttony.

“Work!” Jenny says with a whimper as her lip starts to quiver. She reaches out with both hands and grabs back onto the tray of half-empty chocolates.

“Oh Jesus, will you let me finish?!” I scold as I smack her hands.

She sighs and finally lets go of the tray of chocolates, spitting out a half-eaten Nutter Butter into the middle of the pile before she turns to face me.

“Those are delicious, but I feel kind of pukey right now,” she mumbles, putting a hand to her stomach.