Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friday Morning at the Deli

Looks like Friday’s quiet,” I say.
Larry of the red and green Italian Donegal
adjusts his wireless glasses, leans an elbow
on the display case at eye level between
mozzarella and salted mozzarella and says
“Don’t give me no trouble.”
“What trouble? Who gives trouble?” I say
“A half pound of red peppers
a half pound of mixed olives
the Gorgonzola crumble and I’ll go
for the mild Italian sausage, two please.”
“You would,” he says and I watch his hand dive
into the glass case and flip up two nice ones.
“What else?” and he sets them on the scale
steps back and presses the buttons.
Up come the red numbers 1.2 pounds $3.71, then $6.47.
“I’ll go for the two pound pork loin, the one in the back.”
“You eating it tonight or freeze wrap?”
“Regular is fine,” I say glancing over at Marietta
the clerk with pulled back black hair who waves
“ Good to see you. Where you been?”
She flirts a hair and she knows, I know.
We talked about her high cholesterol last time in.
Today she goes back to the provolone cheese customer
a short woman with gray hair and tiny hands.
Do I need meat pie, grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, no
I’ll make my own I think while
Larry rolls the pork in white paper, tags it
and sets it on the counter top with both hands
“Thank you for the trouble,” he says and I say, that’s fine.
Larry’s pale blue eyes recede to the customer numbers.
“Twelve?” he shouts? “Thirteen?” and he’s gone.

I stick my sausage, pork and the rest in the green basket
move to the pasta aisle, the rice, the capers
the frozen sauce to my right and down
past the bake shop to the right of the register.
“The engagement's off,” I say to Nancy from Queens
and she laughs as she always does.
“See how you are?” she smiles.
Her small teeth delight the bright morning.
She rings up the meat, cheese, two tomatoes, sweet onion
brussel sprouts, Romaine lettuce the fat bunch of basil.
I’ll make pesto for a month and then some.
“Yeah, I see, but, it’s true love,” I say.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and pressing the bills and the change in my hand
she slides the plastic bags my way and we wink
without winking and I step outside
into another good day.

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