to the beat of the Supreme’s

January 21, 2012

At our local drug store, the ladies in the cosmetic department are dressed in black. Like they were in mourning. Some of them are pretty. Some are overweight. But they are all waiting to give advice. And it must be a huge industry. Because there are always 2, 3, or 4 of them. I can’t imagine anything more boring. But they are mysterious. What goes on in their minds. This little piece is what I imagine. To the beat. Of the Supreme’s.




“All we do is talk. Walk and talk. Walk in place. When you come right down to it. That’s our job. To keep the customer happy. By talking. And smiling. And listening. And walking. In place.”

“It’s very important to listen. The customer must feel… comfortable. As if she is the centre. Of your world. Like the sun. Listens all the time. Didn’t know that? That big ball. I call it Big Mike. And it sends back out laments. Plaints. And all that alimony. Back to God. Everyone loves to bath. In the ear of Big Mike.”

“You could fall asleep. Listening. It is so hard to focus. I like to rub my tongue along. My teeth. Feel those ridges. Like elastics across a comb. Customers can go on. About their sorrows. Dry hair. Or dry skin. Or dry eyes. Can be heart breaking. Everyone needs to be held. And your eyes. Like arms. Sometimes I wish I could rhyme.

“Dry is a common refrain. One lady. Drove up in a Lamborghini. Black leather upholstery. Cried. About her nether regions. Those private parts. Being dry. She should talk to a doctor about that. Right? Does she? No. A friend. No. She talks to a cosmetician.”

“We live on the surface. Beauty is skin deep. You don’t make an impression at work and you don’t get that promotion. Even if you look like. A hag. No reason to dress like one. Everyone just wants to see. That you’re trying. Everyone will give you a break. If you take. The time to try. Oh that terrible feeling. Of saying, wait until. I put on my make-up.”

“Most women’s looks leave them pretty early. In the day. And once you lose. Once the bloom is off the rose. What are you left with? Photographs. The look that used to sell. You. In bottles. In tubes. In sprays. That women on the covers of magazines. The look that younger women wear. On commercials. Will bring you happiness. But then.”

“Younger women want to look. Everyone wants to be liked. To own their own lives. Always talking about romance. Like it existed. Outside this industry. You know the morons. They’ve been making themselves up. Since grade seven. They keep looking in the mirror thinking that they’ll find something new. It’s terrible to say. A lot of them become cosmeticians. But they don’t last. No discipline. No ambition. Think they’re in show business. Think they’re going to be a starlet someday. You can’t afford to get caught up in the illusion. A dealer shouldn’t get hooked on his own merchandise.”

“And what about men? Well, in our world, they don’t get a vote.”

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