The Perils of Louella:

Chapter 176: Louella Gets Out the Vote

by A.C. Cherbonnier
     LOUELLA rubbed on hand lotion during a break between customers at her cash register at the Giant. If people only knew what this job does to your fingers! she fumed.
     “Sure is a pain sometimes, huh?” asked Cindy, at Register 6 next door. “You’d think customers would thank us, the way we have to stand all day like this. Feet hurt, carpal tunnel--all that.”
     “Thank us? No way!” said Missy, at Register 4. “They take us for granted, that’s what.”
     “Well, I mean, what do you expect? We’re getting paid to be here. It’s our job, right?” asked Louella. “We’re not doing anybody any favor.”
     Cindy and Missy just stared at her. “What side of the bed did you get off of today, Miss Priss?” asked Missy, cracking gum, enjoying the needle.
     “Oh, come on. You know what I mean. To the customers we may as well be machines, and that’s just the way it is. Why should we expect them to appreciate us? Most of them probably think we’re earning more than they are.”
     “Fat chance!” snorted Cindy. “Never get enough hours to make decent money.”
     “Same,” shrugged Missy, beginning to scan a big order. Louella had even more things coming down the conveyer. Mostly junk food, she noticed. The customer, like so many others, was whiling away time by thumbing through the scandal rags. She looked at Louella sheepishly. “This Clinton thing’s really got me going,” she said. “Can’t stop myself from reading about it.”
     Louella nodded. “I’m the same way,” she said. Cindy overheard and chimed in, “Me too!” Everybody laughed.
     Missy’s customer, a middle-aged man, snapped, “It’s not funny! Don’t you see that?”
     They all looked at him as if he had crawled out of a hole. The cashiers, knowing not to rile the customers, got serious real fast. But the woman customer turned to the man. “I suppose you’re a Clinton-hater like Starr?”
     “Ma’am, I don’t hate any of them. I just wish they’d all shut up and we could get on with governing this country. I just don’t want to know about all this, and it’s sure not something to laugh about.”
     “Well, we have to laugh about something,” the woman retorted, handing Louella her charge card. “That doesn’t mean we can’t still use our heads and vote for the right people. It’s two different things.”
     “No, it’s not,” said the man as he began to roll his loaded cart away. “It’s all the same thing. I hate to think about how my vote can only cancel one other vote by someone who’s not thinking straight.”
     “Well, thank God for one-person, one-vote, sir, or we’d have to be ruled by self-righteous know-it-alls.”
     Go lady!thought Louella. Tell the jerk!The woman pushed her cart away.
     “Wow! That was great, huh?” said Cindy. “Guess she told him.”
     “Or he told her,” said Louella. “Are you guys registered to vote?”
     “Never had the time,” said Missy. “Me neither,” said Cindy.


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This story was published on Sep. 2, 1998.