sweater

I had to drive to Palos Verdes to do some business at the
savings and loan,
there wasn’t much of a line
which was good because   there were only two tellers
young ladies
and I got one of them
but she couldn’t seem to work
the computer.
sometimes the computer was down.
I waited and watched her struggle.
8 minutes went by.
my lady came back to the window and told me
that the computer wouldn’t do something for
her.
“I’m new here,” she told
me.
then turning to the other girl
she asked,
“could you help me with this transaction?”
the other girl didn’t answer.
my lady tried again:   “Louise, would you
please help me with this
transaction?”
“I’ll be right back,” Louise answered and
closed her window.
she then walked to one of the
tables
where an older woman was talking to a young man
wearing glasses.
Louise stopped about four feet from the
young man
folded her arms and began
listening.
then the young man spoke.
he had on a yellow sweater
only he didn’t have it on,
he had it thrown about his shoulders
and the two empty arms hung down over his
chest.
they continued to converse as I
watched.
the young man   did most of the
talking
and as he did so he swayed
back and forth
ever so slightly
and the arms of his sweater swung
back and forth
back and forth
and he continued to talk and
sway
as I watched the empty arms
of his sweater swing
back and forth
back and forth.

I don’t like people who wear
loose sweaters over their backs
with arms dangling
and these types usually wear
sun   glasses pushed back
into their hair
and I could sense
that what he was talking about was
utterly drab
useless
and probably
untrue
and
he had the bland unworried face
of somebody
to whom nothing had happened
yet
and as I watched him sway and
talk
his sweater arms continuing to
swing
Louise stood there
four feet away
arms folded
listening.
and I thought,
this fellow has less
sense
than the common housefly,
and this Louise…
likewise.
she knew I was waiting.

I began walking toward
them,
I had to make the   first post
at the racetrack
and these three were
being rude, dumb, as if it was a
natural order of business.

I had no idea what I was going to
say
but it was going to be
good.
they stopped talking as I
approached.
then I heard the   voice
behind me:
“Mr. Chinaski!”
I stopped,
turned.
“I got the computer to
function!”

I wasn’t too happy to
hear that.
I went back to the counter
and we completed the
bookwork.
the girl apologized but
I told her it was
all right.

as I walked toward the
door
I needed to pass the
other three.
they were in the
same
positions
and the young man was
still talking
but he no longer
swayed
and the arms of his
yellow sweater
no longer
swung
about.

we’d spoiled each other’s
fucking
day.

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