Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Write - Joe Gensle

Jenna's Mortadella

Jenna leaned heavily into the glass display front of the grocery’s busy delicatessen, jostled by elbows of the people on each side of her. Despite the crowd, the three deli workers seemed like slow drones, working steadily without a sense of commitment to serve patrons quickly.

Jenna looked at the pink stub of paper in her hand, noticed “18” in bold letters determining her turn in the order of those to be served at the deli counter.

“For the love of Jesus,” Jenna muttered, then looked down the counter toward the workers and shouted, “Hey! . C’MON!! I gotta get going!” Two of the workers ignored her. The third, a sixty-ish black woman with grey-streaked hair, paused and gave Jenna a glare that raised the light blonde hair, and goosebumps, on Jenna’s arms.

“God-DAMN!,” thought Jenna. “Where do they find these people,” she wondered.

Serving another customer off to the right, the black woman's duties brought her side-stepping within six feet of Jenna and ducked half her body into the case fetch a half-round of cheese. As the woman emerged, Jenna shot her a look.

“All’s I need is a half pound of mortadella.”

The woman locked eyes with Jenna, “Wha’s your number, honey!”

“Eighteen!” Jenna replied with a sharp snap in her voice.

“You gonna be waitin’ awhile.”

“What’s awhile! I’ve been here forever! How many are in front of me!??”

“Right! And they’s 266 billion trillion people in front of you, and you jus’ gonna have to wait,” the clerk fired back with another momentary, as unsettling, glare.

“The HELL you say. Where’s the manager?”

“Right! You lookin’ at her. Now, what!”

“NOW, you slice my eight ounces of mortadella or…or I’m leaving and calling your headquarters!”

“You ain’t leavin’ and you ain’t callin’ nobody. Know why?”

Jenna roiled in furious silence and contrived a facial expression of angered disinterest, almost of boredom.

Nose to nose save for eighteen or so inches of deli countertop between them, the black woman cocked her head slightly as she said in a mockingly, sing-songy tone, “I don’t care if you a lilly-white little paralegal who don’t like black folks none too much.. Who doesn’t got a lick o’ patience. And who don’t like nobody who doesn’t speak like YOU THINK they should.”

Jenna gasped and above the deli’s din, barked, ”YOU DON”T KNOW ME! I don’t know or remember YOU…hell, I don’t even SHOP here very often. How do you know I’m a paralegal?!”

Only a wide, tooth-gapped grin answered Jenna. After a pause intended to further annoy Jenna, the black woman continued.

“You always been an impatient, spoilt little cuss.”

“HOW DARE you speak to me like that!”

“I dare cuz you ain’t goin’ nowheres. You cain’t leave without yo’ mortadella. Know why?”

“I need for my recipe--but other stores carry it! I’ve been waiting an eternity, you bitch! And I’m leaving!”

“You will wait an eternity. They’s 266 billion trillion people ahead of you and when your number 18 come up? You ain’t gonna hear it and the wait gonna start all over again.”

Jenna was never madder, more frustrated, but couldn‘t move or speak.

The black woman grinned and continued. “This is hell. Yo custom made hell right here in my deli, outta all yo littlest pet peeves and weaknesses in life. You got no recipe. You don’t need mortadella, Mortadella is I-talian for “she’s dead,” and you is. Kilt this mornin', too impatient to use a crosswalk and that car run you down an' TOOK your legs. You bled to death through ‘em.“

Jenna looked down, screamed and screamed, now knowing why the lean against the deli case felt so heavy. It wasn’t a lean. She’d been clinging to it with her arms. Her plaid skirt was caked in dried blood, as was the lower part of her blazer. Until then, she hadn't noticed the crystal on her watch was broken, and the sweep-second hand wasn't moving. Screams diminished into sobs.

The black woman’s eyes now shone, and Jenna’s whimpering form had no escape, nor did Jenna’s eyes, again locked with the old woman’s.

“You died on the street and when God didn’t grab you up?? I sho’s hell did! HA-HA! You like that pun?? No, I knows you hate puns! I snatched you up! Well...down! Hah! Another pun! You’s mine and as soon as I turn to walk off , you ain’t gonna remember a shred of this conversation! It never happened.”

The black woman shifted the heavy, half-round of cheese into her other hand and walked down the counter with her back to Jenna.

Jenna looked at the pink stub of paper in her hand, noticed “18” in bold letters determining her turn in the order of those to be served at the deli counter.

“For the love of Jesus,” Jenna muttered, then looked down the counter toward the workers and shouted, “Hey! C’MON!! I gotta get going!”

The three deli workers ignored her. Jenna could swear that one of them, a sixty-ish black woman with grey-streaked hair, paused and seemed to snort with the slightest perceptible puff of vapor or mist…smoke(?) coming from her nostrils, never looking up or away from the back and forth rhythm of the slicer she operated.

The black woman returned the roast beef to the case and butcher-wrapped a package of sliced beef, setting it atop the counter. She glanced right, along the countertop, right at Jenna.

“Wha’s your number, honey?”

“Eighteen!” Jenna replied with a sharp snap in her voice.

The black woman looked to her coworkers and quipped, “She got EIGHTEEN! Hell, tha’s 6 + 6 + 6, iddn’t it??,” and the three women emitted a loud laugh.

“God-DAMN!,” thought Jenna. “Where do they find these people,” she wondered.


Joe Gensle's Kentucky-born and lives in the Desert Southwest with his Chihuahua, “Coconut.” He loves international travel and ridin' his motorcycle, 'The Groovinator.' In his ‘other’ spare time, he enjoys “wondering why if not how, polishing my collection of lug nuts, and feeding sea lions (to sharks).” Gensle describes himself as ‘”obligingly obese, Conservative, left-handed, and Roman Catholic without hesitance” and claims he never apologizes for same. He occasionally makes written deposits at sixsentences.ning.com and mudspots.wordpress.com. He‘s been featured on other sites, and the repository of his writing may be found at his blog, http://headseeds.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Frank Sinatra Challenge

So, I wrote this piece based on a Frank Sinatra challenge for another blog, then received an email last minute that said, never mind don't submit your second piece, so here it is. My prompt was based on Frank Sinatra's song, "I See Your Face Before Me" from his album In The Wee Small Hours... So without further adu, I hope you'll enjoy it.

I See Your Face Before Me

I claim insomnia
you know I do.
I've practically screamed
it at you.
I don't have insomnia,
not medically at least.
What I have
is self induced-
when I close my eyes
whether in dreams
of dark or light
I see your face before me.
You stand beside me-
sometimes in front,
always hand in hand
a strength to me you lend.
In my dreams
I see you laugh,
I see you cry,
I see you just fine,
but no matter which dream
I always see you mine.
If forward, I came
And told you-
Even knowing you're
unreachable,
would that my love
haunt you so-
knowing I want you so?
But alas, no,
for I can't, I won't
destroy you
by telling you.
Because even if
You understood it- me-
all of my love
for you, its magic-
would seem nothing
short of tragic.
And knowing I can't
erase your beautiful face
before me,
I'll instead
feign insomnia-
For no dreams
are better
in my mind
than dreams that haunt
us both.

Friday, October 7, 2011

An Open Request For Guidance

Ok folks, I'm about to get brutally honest, with myself and you.

No many people in this part of my life realize that I work in the fast paced business of Real Estate - and before you run off to read others' blogs let me tell you that no, I'm not a Realtor, I'm a paper pusher, an assistant who tries to put my best face/voice forward daily to keep, #1 myself employed, but #2 to help the 2 most amazing Realtors in business to continue to help people everyday with the most life impacting financial decisions they will ever make.

I'm proud to say that I work for, who in my opinion are, the most genuine, gracious, kind and caring individuals. Their regard for our clientele is above stellar, and their customer care is unmatched and unequaled by any agent(s) I've ever met or come in contact with in this business... and I think that's saying a lot considering I've been doing this now for over 8 years.

I was so inspired to write this tonight after we sat down to have a very goal impacting meeting earlier today.

I'm scared. I'm not used to seeing a "low" that we are now experiencing at the moment with exception to a few years ago when I was with another team. That team fell apart, and sad as it is to say, I'm now the only member left still in this business - although, I'll admit I did take a 3 year sabbatical to work at an animal shelter. There were a few things that made me feel committed to seeing that team make it, one being that I was given the option to become a business partner in the future, and seeing at the time the potential for that business to grow, I was completely on board. That was, until I received a rude awakening a few years later when our real estate market, like so many others in this nation plummeted and my top producing team leader finally had to close up shop and call it quits.

Now, with the aftermath still somewhat fresh in my mind, I'm afraid. I'm afraid to see / experience a similar possibility, although, I know its far from happening. That fear still eats at me, like an ulcer, demanding some if not all of my attention.

I'll be honest and admit that I have not been offered to become a business partner in this newest  venture, but I've come to realize that I'm okay with that. I realize now that I wasn't ready to take that step when it was offered to me at age 21, and now that I'm 26, I'm still not ready to make a commitment of that magnitude. Don't get me wrong, I'm still very much committed to seeing this team become even more successful than it ever has been, I'm just not ready to be fully accountable if it doesn't... and yes, I know that was blunt. I still feel that with my previous team, there might have been something more I could have been doing to prevent the fall, and feeling almost helpless again causes me great anxiety.

I'm putting all my efforts and faith into one basket when I'm not home with my kids to do any part I possibly can to keep from experiencing what I thought a few years ago was a career ending disappointment.

So why am I writing this?

I guess to show myself, more than anything, that I'm committed, and to recognize a fear or weakness and to do my best to overcome it. I don't usually quote scripture, but in this case, I feel that its entirely appropriate.

From the words of Ether 12:27 (Book of Mormon):
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them."
And just as appropriate I think, my favorite words by the esteemed writing colleague, Richard Bach:
"Lean into your fears, dare them to do their worst and cut them down when they try. If you don't, they'll clone themselves, mushroom 'till they surround you, choke the road to the life you want.

Every turn you fear is empty air, dressed to look like jagged hell."
So here I am, writer friends, dedicated readers, family, friends, and anonymous alike, I'm asking you to consider, what fears do you have? Are they justified? And more selfishly, I'm asking, how do I improve and where do I go from here?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in having the Southern Utah experience, please feel free to click the link below, and take a peek into the amazing world my team and I can offer you.


Best Regards,
Nic