Chapter 11: The Girl From City Market



Chapter XI: The Girl from City Market

Christmas Eve arrived and that meant my step-father’s family gathering would be taking place. I’ve been in acquaintance with these people for over 20 years now, but never grew particularly close to that side of the family. At first, I was too young to have any sort of meaningful conversation, and none of them were the same age as me. Then, I completely disappeared without a trace and did not see any of them for several years. In fact, the only time I ever see any of them is during this Christmas event about every few years. I have no interaction with any of them outside the holidays, and sometimes I’m not even positive of their real names.

Needless to say, I do not know any of their deepest darkest secrets, nor do they know anything about me other than the few basics… people at City Market probably know me better than these members of an extended family that I do not even know the exact definition of—my step-dad is 20 years older than my mother, had 5 kids from a previous marriage, and all of them are way older than me…some of their kids are close to my age I guess… they have kids now too and I don’t know a damn thing about any of them. It’s doubtful that they even know my last name, my date of birth, or my favorite bands; let alone the most essential details of my life such as my ultimate desire to build a time machine in order to film a pornographic version of Willy Wonka starring Rachael Ray, Grover Cleveland, and Yoda.

(Admit it… if you walked in on Yoda having anal sex with an Oompa Loompa, you would stop and watch.)

We were also joined by my favorite Aunt, one of my favorite people on Earth, and somebody I was most anticipating visiting. Plus, I’ve had minimal contact with life outside of this house for the past several days and welcomed any additional company. Normally I at least talk to people at City Market when I purchase coffee every morning and there are constantly people walking around on the sidewalks by my apartment in Milwaukee—so, I am fairly used to at least having moderate contact with the human race on an hourly basis. That could explain why City Market people know me better than my own family; people from City Market do not even know me.

City Market comes up quite a bit and has actually played a role in our path of trying to figure out where we truly belong. Being as I live essentially right next door, I frequent this place every morning. In fact, that is the very first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is go to City Market. I purchase the “bottomless” cup and return within a couple of hours for a refill—the 2nd trip does not require me to stand in line. Apparently somebody noticed this routine and confronted me on the sidewalk as to why I am stealing coffee. 

Regardless, each and every day, I am in there at least twice a day.

This began when I was still living with Jen. She used the coffee maker for her coffee; I did not like her coffee because I considered it the nasty hippy shit coffee and therefore opted to buy my own; she later took the coffee maker after we broke up and I never got around to buying one because I wasn’t sure if I was staying in Milwaukee or not. As a result, going to City Market became a daily habit.

I do not like being known at public establishments. It is my goal to be in and out of there without even being noticed. While I am in line, I do not create conversation with the other patrons, and I refuse to stand around and talk to the employees. However, I am extremely polite, and if they attempt to engage in conversation with me, I will not be rude. There are some occasions when I will say more than the casual placing of the order, but those have diminished over time and diminished entirely after Jen left.

For nearly one full year, I went into this place, and nobody knew my name. There were a few occasions where I did not even speak—a clerk had memorized my order, I entered, handed her my money and we both went about her business without even uttering a word. That was nice.

It should also be known that after Jen left, I vowed to never be in another relationship ever again. During this period, I was a little extreme in my resentment towards the world and rarely even made eye contact with anybody—I never spoke to people who I did not know personally. In all honesty, I had no interest whatsoever in dating or meeting anybody.

Then, City Market hired some girl… and she kinda became an obsession. This began when I saw her pour a cup less than a quarter of the way full with coffee and then fill the rest of it up with cream. The only other person I had ever known to do this was Jen. I found this a curious procedure, and when I asked Jen about it, she simply responded with, "That's just how I roll."

Therefore, before the girl from City Market became a total infatuation, she was but an experiment that I was conducting in my head to study any identifiable personality characteristics of those who fill their coffee ¾ of the way with cream. There were none—no similarities whatsoever and the experiment was quickly disbanded.

Nobody had any knowledge of this at the time, and I only conducted this study while at City Market—once I left, it was completely out of my head.

My whole life suddenly changed one unexpected morning while I was merely going through the motions of my daily routine. She was working the cash register that day and I happened to glance up at her as her current customer was digging through her purse for change. At that point, she looked me over from top to bottom, made the most unidentifiable look in The History of The Universe, appointed some sort of assessment regarding all of my personal characteristics, and seconds later, returned to her customer while concealing all the theories that she had just concluded.

I am generally considered excellent at reading people. However, I have no fucking clue what went through her mind at that moment; no idea whatsoever what determination she made about it me. The look was obviously there, but what its’ conclusive meaning was untraceable. And I could not help but wonder, “Hmm, I wonder what she thought just then… what determination did she just concoct.”

There are two extremes: If it was a look of utter disgust; then fine, I’m cool with that… I’ll know to take off running should I ever encounter her in an alley with a knife. If it was a look of sexual lust: fine, I’m cool with that… I’ll just try to take her home, give her a foot massage, and dress her up like an Oompa Loompa while I brush off the ol' Yoda costume. However, I was not cool with having no idea what the hell she had concluded. It could have been either… or a combination of both, but she definitely devised some sort of explicit evaluation.

With that, she became the subject of yet another experiment. Rather than compare and contrast the personality traits of people who put way too much fucking cream in their coffee, the new study was to officially resolve a moral dilemma. I had named it: “Operation What the Fuck Were You Thinking?”

Most noticeably, she was not friendly towards the other patrons. On one occasion, somebody asked her if a certain menu item was any good. “Is this sandwich any good?”

When I heard the woman ask this, I immediately became irritated. I hate it when people ask me this question. As if she was going to say, “No, bitch, this shit fucking sucks!” I have critiqued my own service towards customers because I feel I haven’t been overly pleasant when answering this frequently asked question. Therefore, and since she was part of an experiment anyway, I monitored her response closely to see how other people handle the situation.

She rolled her eyes at the lady and emotionlessly declared, “I don’t know. I don’t like mushrooms.” Offered no other suggestions.   (** see below)

I don’t like mushrooms either. I can’t stand it when people ask me for recommendations. After this display of sheer bitchiness, I immediately thought she was incredibly sexy and she soared to #1 on my list of hottest women on the planet.

On the other hand, I was afraid of her. Plus, I knew she had given an unknown look, and for all I knew, she was plotting to kill me. I’m not going to lie; I was downright obsessed with her. For the first time in ages, I had the desire to meet somebody. And, I thought about her constantly… to the extreme that I visualized us in a meaningful relationship.

Then came the day I ate there for lunch and decided to take it to go. She asked me what my name was (which had been asked before by people no longer employed), I told her, and she repeated it as if she had found an answer she had been seeking for years. Mysteriously after that, everybody knew my name, and called me on a first name basis every morning. That was the beginning of yet another experiment, this one titled “Operation How the Fuck Did This Happen?”

Not long after that, I made my purchase, poured my drink, and when I turned around, she was standing directly behind me, watching my every move, and again I had no idea what she was doing. Perhaps she was studying me for a personal experiment of her own. She greeted me awkwardly, I responded, and she just stood there until I left—not saying anything. I didn’t say anything to her, it’s not my job to; plus, I don’t talk to anybody until AFTER I’ve had coffee—never before. However, I went home and rehearsed all of the things that I should have said but could not.

Either she had a mutual interest in me, or she was monitoring me closely because she had heard rumors that I had been stealing coffee. But, there was a lot at risk with these two extremes.

There were several incidents like this, and they became almost daily occurrences. Next thing I knew, I was madly in love with her, and it was true love too. She was rated a 10, and all other women on Earth were allotted a ZERO. Even when she wasn’t present, I was still thinking about her. On days she worked, I ate there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I was lying in bed at night, I imagined she was lying next to me. I held meaningful conversations with her in my head. I was even going to devote an entire section of my blog about her. She did become a recurring character, and one particular story was based on my obsession with her (although I would never dare go these extremes; further proof that writing fiction is more entertaining than my actual personal life.) In fact, I was too scared to even talk to her, let alone follow her home and steal a pair of socks out of her drawer.

It went to the extreme that all of my co-workers were sick of hearing about her. However, I do not believe that it was the frequency of me mentioning her that was so perturbing; it was the fact that I never even remotely attempted to pursue anything with her. This whole thing was kept secret and it’s doubtful that anybody outside the small circle that I shared the details with had any idea that I secretly had a massive crush on a cashier from City Market.

One of my friends constantly pestered me as to whether or not I actually grew the balls to approach her. She called me a pussy and offered all sorts of advice as how I should approach her. Instead, I attempted to encourage her to go to City Market for me and just at least find out some minimum information—she refused and claimed my bitch ass needed to do that on my own. I actually contemplated entering one day wearing a suit while carrying a bouquet of flowers and a heart shaped box of candy.

However, there was a still a major possibility that all the while I was secretly in love with her, she downright despised me. There were numerous indications that supported that scenario and for all l knew, her day was immediately ruined the moment I walked through the door. I could picture her thinking, “Oh great, this dumb fucker is here now. I am sick and tired of having to deal with this douche every single day.” This possible outcome did boost my level of attraction for her though. If she would have murdered me in the most brutal of fashions, why, I would have considered that the greatest day of my life!

Despite this level of obsession, I did not know her name, her age, or one single thing about her. I remained too scared to talk to her. She eventually left City Market and found a new job working with captioning telephone conversations for the hearing impaired (perhaps this is why I’ve developed some sort of damage to my ears after seeing Swans in concert twice.) Even after she told me that she was leaving in two weeks, I still never approached her with anything other than casual chit chat. Something was there though, and I’ll never know what.

The only thing that was officially concluded was the fact that I am obviously attracted to women who prefer puzzling creamer to coffee proportions, albeit for different reasons. If only I had the finances to develop the innovative world-changing invention I devised, things might have been different. I wanted to open a café that featured pots of creamer equipped with small individual serving packets of heated coffee to pour into the creamer (see image to the left, those things). With this marvelous business idea, surely I could win the love of my life.

Index: Chapter List

Chapter 11 Soundtrack Listing:

1. Ramones
"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" 2:17


2. The Temptations
"Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" 3:53

Sky's the Limit

3. Big Star
"Dream Lover" 3:35

Third/Sister Lovers

4. The Modern Lovers
"Girl Friend" 3:55

The Modern Lovers

5. Kelley Stoltz
"To Speak To The Girl" 3:00

Circular Sounds

6. Primal Scream
"Damaged" 5:39


7. Radiohead
"Fake Plastic Trees" 4:51

The Bends

8. Climax Blues Band
"I Love You" 4:05

Flying the Flag

9. Yes
"Yesterday and Today" 2:52


10. The Smiths
"Death Of A Disco Dancer" 5:26

Strangeways, Here We Come

All Sections Written, Designed, and Music Compiled by Tony J. Neal

Top Left: Oompa Loompas, created by Roald Dahl, shared from The Telegraph
Top Right: Yoda, from Stars, created by George Lucas, shared by In My World.... (Funny blog, you should check it out.)

** I don't give a flying fuck what Webster, The Oxford Dictionary or any asshole says, emotionlessly is a word.
 Emotionlessly [ih-moh-shuh n lis lee]

1. to convey a potentially controversial message without expressing any concern whatsoever

Doug emotionlessly explained to Hilda all of the details about how he had been gang raped in prison.

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