4 :: extremity ::
Ten am. The store is open. Freya draws a stack of CD cases from the bin of stuff that needs to be reshelved. This is how her days begin, five times a week. Reorganizing information.
Denise is on register, her face hidden by sunglasses. Huge lenses; white plastic frames. It kind of bugs Freya that Denise is always wearing those ugly things. She just can't figure it outeven on the sunniest days the windows don't let in too much light, and the registers don't face that direction anyway. Freya supposes she could just command Denise to take them off, in the name of the customers, but that's not her style. She thinks of herself as the “cool” supervisor and the cool supervisor doesn't bust someone's ass about what they're wearing. So she lets it go. But she sometimes finds herself wishing that Denise would acknowledge the concession somehow, even subtly.
That's never going to happen. Denise isn't what you'd call a communicator. When Denise came in Freya said Hey, Denise, how's it going? and Denise just nodded and looked down at the floor and headed back to her locker. When she came back out to get on register Freya said been up to anything fun this week? and Denise shrugged and said I guess not. It is like this every time they work together, until Freya finally gives up and just decides to pass the time by working.
She looks at the first CD case in her pile. Extreme Music From Africa. She goes to file it in Experimental Compilations. The cover depicts a woman with obsidian black skin, looking beaten, her head swaddled in a bloody bandage. It's obviously meant to be provocative, but Freya's not particularly impressed by it. She can remember what it's like to be hit, in the face, yes, in the stomach. She can remember a voice saying Stand up, bitch. Stand up and face me. It wasn't that long ago.
Extreme music. She's familiar with the genre. Every once in a while some clerk will put on a Merzbow record, punishing the customers by turning the store into a hot maelstrom of shredding metal. Those are moments where you'll see her use her supervisiory authority. Off, she'll say. She doesn't feel bad about that: certain frequencies just hurt.
The dudes who buy the stuff are short and pale. Or else they're big somber guys who look like John Wayne Gacy. For a long time she thought these guys were sadists. She's looked at the liner notes of some of these records, she's seen the photos in there: Japanese girls, bound. But she's had a reversed her thinking on it lately: if sadists make the music, wouldn't the buyers be masochists? It makes a kind of sense. She can see how these albums might appeal to people who don't otherwise experience much pain. They could remind you of your capacity to feel. But she has the memory, in her past, of being kicked across a floor. It wasn't that long ago. And she does not feel likely to forget it in the future. Drunk; fetal on the tile. Fucking stupid bitch.
A bell clatters, interrupts everything. The first customer of the day. She looks up. Hey, she thinks, it's that guy.