F 1 D 0 - 2004 10 08 at 0540

Brother.

Tonight's essay is being started far too late.

I felt like television, I felt like carbo
food, I felt like meat food.

But now I want to write to you before I entirely
forget the images.

Our security guard at the store has a name he
figures is too hard for us. Also, maybe he has
a lot of trouble with names. 

So he calls us Brother, and expects us to call 
him Brother too.

At first I thought this some kind of avuncular 
reference, or perhaps the kind of religious 
title of Brother and Sister I'd heard before.

No; he does this just for humour and simplicity.

He's a big man, maybe six feet tall, strong Greek
accent and Friendly. He's got eagle eyes when it
comes to watching and catching the people who
come into our store looking to shoplift.

Our Dominion wasn't always a corporate store.

Brother used to manage it, perhaps own it too.
He gave it up when he had enough of the bologna
that comes from head office. So he sold out.

Now he works for a security firm, and has a 
lot of seniority. Enough so that he could get
a young guard (Alex) who *truly loved* working at our
store out of that assignment. 

Alex was alright, but Brother is better.

If you recall, I was threatened. It was shortly
after that event when the store stopped bringing
in tired worn out security guards like the one
we had that night.

It's not too much to ask. A guard has to be fresh,
listening and watching for trouble. We know they
don't make much, but that doesn't diminish their
need to be vigilant.

Tonight's work was **INSANE**. 

Oh, I'm happy, life is good, the customers were
friendly. It was still insane.

I got there just 4 mins late (after a short workout).
and each of the cashiers had 20 customers in
their queue. Once I arrived, two people left.
Their shifts were over, and were just staying
behind until they were certain I was actually
there. 

I took over Cash Desk 1, the express lane. I really
hate it, because it has a strange rhythm: it has lots of
tiny orders. The people who get into that lane are
in a hurry, and believe by choosing express, the
service will be faster. 

It's a good concept, but I'm not fast for my first
30 minutes. It takes a while for me to warm up to 
all of the codes, how to get the bags open with the
fingers of one hand, and so on. But the cashier 
who works Express has to handle some specific
customer service jobs. We are the representative 
our customers get to see on arrival, and get to
ask the minor questions (such as Do you sell eye
drops? Is Dwayne working tonight? Do you have enough
to cash a 500.00 cheque?). On a busy night, when
courtesy desk's Two Clerks are tied up completely,
the express desk isn't very fast.

But I digress. It was Insane; that is, far too many
customers for us. It was like there had been some
kind of federal announcement of stores closing. 

The long lines for each cashier continued for hours.
9pm! 10pm! (That's normally break time for me) 11pm!
I got a break at 1115pm, but needed to coax seven people
to get into cash line 4. They were happy enough, as
they all knew me.  So half of them changed lines, I
served the others.

When I got back upstairs, I took my place at the
cash desk. I could smell cooking.

Our deli department doesn't cook this late!

It was Brother. He was preparing something distinctly
Greek. Beef and Pork with Rice. Simple enough, but
the pork reminded me of something I'd had at Astoria.
The spices, the tenderness, the presentation, it was
all so perfect, so Greek.

He made sample plates up for a lot of us. Yes, me too!

I had the last of it on the subway home.

Brother is an interesting security guard to have around.

He's one of the people in my universe.


That's all I know.

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