The deli girl at the grocery store up the road from my house has a tattoo on her forearm that reads, “Sucka Free.”
I once asked her about it when she was making me a veggie sub.
I said, “What’s with the tat?”
And she said, “I got so sicka takin’ shit from suckas, I figured I’d make it clear.”
“That you’re sucker free?”
“That I’m sucka free.”
And that was the end of the conversation. She returned to my sub, returned to slicing cheese and we never spoke about the tattoo again.
That was a year ago.
She’s since been promoted to deli manager. I see her head shot framed above the double doors behind the counter. This sucker-free thing must be working pretty good for her.
She’s my favorite deli girl. She’s quick. She’s got a big-city attitude. She uses the perfect amount of mayonnaise and the perfect amount of pickles. She doesn’t waste time with frivolous small talk. She has little patience for indecisiveness. She’s got a thick hide and long, painted fingernails. When she’s not working I wonder what she’s up to, with whom she lives.
If she has a significant other, I imagine he or she is fairly browbeaten.
Or maybe not.
Maybe she comes home, removes her hair net, slips into a cotton nightgown, curls up like a cat next to her lover and falls asleep watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.
PS. Illustration by Philip Bond