I walked into the poolroom to that great old smell of chlorine. I don’t care what anyone says, that will wake you up faster than any cup of coffee. Guaranteed.
Lots of people were swimming this morning, must’ve been the reason for the weight room being empty. Oh well, I thought, maybe I’ll just hit the spa and relax. Good idea, it seemed to be empty for the time being. So, I went to the locker room to change and shower up (gym rules) and put on my swim trunks. The spa was sounding better the more I thought about it.
I left the locker room and like I said, there is nothing like the smell of chlorine in the morning and the barefoot walk across the cold linoleum floor to the water. I looked around the corner to the spa and saw it was still empty. I hung my towel nearby and hit the button to get those wondrous bubbles started.
I could hear the swimmers panting and splashing around and realized that this is what Sylvia probably thinks I’m doing every morning. Small guilt trip, but it passed as I stared wide eyed as the bubbles got started.
Ten minutes, I thought, that’s all, ten minutes. I walked into the warm spa and immediately got absorbed in the bubbles. I couldn’t carry my radio into the water, but this was my one chance for peace of mind and walk into work with a nice clear head to start the day.
I lowered my body into the water and let the bubbles do the work. My body instantly relaxed and I felt my eyes close and just take in the relaxation. It didn’t take long before I started thinking of the radio station. My mind wandered to all the events of the morning so far; the girl in my dream, Harry Connick Jr., He-Man, and the Royal Crown Revue. What a long morning, it wasn’t even eight o’ clock yet.
I heard a splash and a small moan. I opened my eyes as she was crawling into my spa. I almost didn’t recognize her in the whale of a one-piece black bathing suit she as wearing. I immediately got disgusted and whatever relaxation I was feeling tensed up into a ball of violation.
It was Mrs. Hammond, a well-respected music teacher in our town. She taught at the grade school and ran a small music shop right next door to the school. It's an easy convenience for the students to come spend their parent’s money on sheet music, reeds, drumsticks and other musical needs. She also gave private lessons there and charged an arm and a leg from what I heard.
So here she was in my spa. Who the hell did she think she was taking up half of it? I watched the bubbles struggle as they tried to keep up with her fat ass. I may be overweight but this bitch needed to be upstairs in the weight room more than I did. I made a disgruntled face as I watched her take over my bubbles.
“Good morning, to ya’, Mrs. Hammond.” Perfect name for her too, ‘Ham’mond, might as well be Mrs. Bologna.
If life ain’t a bitch, (I thought) then I don’t know what is. Okay, just ignore her. I swear if this were sex and the bubbles the sperm and I were the egg, Hammond would be the birth control. In short, I may never see a single bubble.
I closed my eyes trying to convince myself of this and found it wasn’t working. It was as though she didn’t even realize that she was invading my space and ruining my time of peace and quiet.
She opened her eyes a little, gave me a huge smile and almost winked at me. I was totally disgusted. I felt like I was sharing a bath with a human pack of hotdogs.
“Enjoy Mrs. Hammond, I’m late for work.” I said as I stepped out of the spa trying not to spill any water onto the linoleum. Lord already knew it was filled to the brim with Mrs. Bologna in there.
Off to the showers I went. She nodded her head in recognition of me leaving and continued to sprawl out into my conquered spa. Something else must go in my favor today. Anything will do at this point.
I turned on the shower rinsing off the chlorine smell and got myself ready for work. I fixed myself up, grabbed my bag of dirty gym clothes and headed for the door.
“Good day to you, Mr. Ucid.” Said the clerk behind the counter. She has always said ‘Good day’ to me and I don’t think I ever figured out why. It was as though she knew that I was already having a bad day, but all the same I nodded back to her and headed out the door.
Outside, the morning had turned quite bright, perhaps a promising day after all, perhaps not. I walked to my car and reached in my bag for my sunglasses, found them, and opened the door to my car. I sat there for a minute in the driver’s seat, mentally exhausted and reached underneath the seat for my Camels, yet another habit that Sylvia tried to rid me of but never could.
I tapped the scented trees from my rear view, thanking them for being cheap enough to hide my habit. I reached for my lighter, inhaled a nice deep drag and thought of the slogan that Camels are known for: I would walk a mile for a Camel. What a thought this was! I think I would truly walk a mile with the kind of morning I was having. But just the same, I let the cigarette droop from my lower lip and put the car in gear hoping that no one that my wife knew saw me with that rebellious tobacco hanging out of my mouth.
I pulled out of the parking lot and turned on the radio to my station and listened as Larry was about to end his shift. Larry had ended up giving away two more free advertisements of T-shirts. The more people who wore our T-shirts, the more people would hear our name and tune in was my theory. Free advertising, at a production cost of three dollars a shirt. Free, yeah right.
Larry put in some Boney James and I could almost picture him getting his things together waiting for the next DJ to take over. Now, the next guy to take over was my problem employee. He was always sneaking in songs that didn’t fit the genre or our target audience. He did this out of spite, or at least I was hoping he wasn’t that stupid to be playing heavy metal songs on a Jazz station.
He also took advantage of our slogan, The Fixx. “Come and see me and get your Fixx!” he would always say. I asked him one day jokingly if he was a drug dealer using my station to advertise for his small operations. I was merely trying to make a point about the way he uses our name on the air. He got all wide-eyed like I just figured out his secret and he walked away. His name is Charlie of all names and if he is a drug dealer, I don’t think I would want to get my ‘stuff’ from a guy named Charlie.
He’s a college student doing an intern in business and radio, so I thought how bad could he be? Well, my thought was wrong, if you have one bad employee, trust me, there is always one worse. He turned out alright in the interview, and I thought I was doing a good deed by taking someone under my wing but I regret that decision every day I put him on the air. I tried to pull him off the air once, giving him the ‘errand boy’ position, but he whined to one of his professors that he wasn’t getting enough experience and of course I received a phone call and put him back on the air. There are disadvantages to being the owner of a radio station you know. It was never supposed to be like this.
Well, with Larry, yeah, it was. He was perfect on the air. He knew his music and had a great voice for radio. If I could duplicate Larry ten more times, I would. But then again, every employer has its golden boy. We were almost partners you could say. Like I said earlier he’s been with the Fixx since day one, and has been loyal ever since. He does all our promotions and sales by day selling airtime to most of the local businesses. So, he worked out perfect in the fact that I didn’t have to hire a separate salesperson to go out on the road every day. We were small but I like it that way. It gives the business a more personal feel, rather than some huge office building with a studio filled with millions of employees answering to one guy, which would be me. I have enough problems to deal with in one day
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