We start up four days later. The book actually says Four Days Later… which is not something she’s ever done before, or I think since, to denote a passage of time. So that’s a little weird. Betsy is in the employee breakroom at Macy’s, approaching Mr. Mason’s cubicle. CUBICLE! I have never worked a job where the boss didn’t have their own office. Where a boss only as a cubicle, IN THE BREAKROOM. There would at least be an admin office that would double as his, but no. The Macy’s at the fucking Mall of America–the mall she says is so big you can’t even name the parking lot after a megalodon because they’re too small–apparently can’t afford a managers office. The one-story Macy’s that used to reside in my dying mall had a fucking manager’s office, but the Mall of America just can’t afford it. Wow.
Anyway, Betsy has come to ask why her paycheck is so small. She wonders if they got all of her hours on there.
I just want to point out the time frame MJD has given us here. Four days. At best, that mean she’s worked for four days. And then got her first paycheck.
Has MJD ever worked retail?! Is this how it works in other states? Because again, in mine, you pretty much always have to wait on your check. If you’re hired four days before payday, maybe you’ll get 1-2 on them (unlikely) but definitely not the whole thing, as they’re still processing you into their system so you just…get it the next week, or if it’s biweekly you wait that long, and if it’s monthly what the fuck are you doing working there anyway. So starting a position and then immediately getting your first check not even half a fucking week later…WHAT?!?! No. What??
I know I live a couple thousand miles away and things are different there. Hell, Oregon doesn’t even have a sales tax–it’s built into our system, and when I visited Wisconsin I was very confused. When my Wisconsinite buddy came over here the first time she asked if I had a dollar so she wouldn’t have to use her card. So I gave her a dollar, and we awkwardly looked at each other for a minute til I asked, uh…you said a dollar, right? And she was like yeah, but…I need another dime for sales tax or whatever. Then I started laughing because I once again forgot that was a thing and explained, and it was kind of a cute moment. I’ve asked that very friend (go read her Merry Gentry reviews! It’s Heidi!!) if in the Midwest that kind of thing happens that quickly, or if you have to wait a bit too. Yeah, Wisconsin isn’t Minnesota but they’re close enough, and she was also flabbergasted. So unless Minnesota is very unique, this means MJD has likely never worked retail or something similar a day in her life, couldn’t be bothered to Google it, and also couldn’t be bothered to just ask a fucking cashier next time you’re BSing with each other while they ring you up.
Oh hell, she probably doesn’t even do that. She’s probably one of those stone-faced monsters who won’t put their money in your waiting hand, but rather slam it on the counter so you know they are disgusted by the idea of your fingers possibly touching hers. And then when she’s in a bad mood, she probably delights in screaming her damned head off at every single employee and demanding a discount for a centimeter of loose thread that she probably pulled our anyway for said discount. She writes for Betsy exactly the same way, in the same fucking voice, she writes her own blog entries. She is Betsy, as far as she’s concerned. And while she tries to make Betsy/herself sound like a wacky fun good time, I’ll bet she’s a real bitch whenever she thinks she can get away with it. She may be one of those who seemingly doesn’t realize (or airquote “doesn’t realize”) she’s being such an overwhelmingly awful cunt, maybe just an out-’n-proud beeyatch, but either way…she’s definitely a fucking asshole.
He explains to her what taxes are, and also that she used her employee discount–4/5ths of her first paycheck–on a pair of Liz Claiborne indigo heels to celebrate.
I honestly think the only reason this part of the scene is so she can brag about yet another pair of shoes she spent waaay too much on. “Oh,” I said sounding just so intelligent. “I forgot about that. Sorry to bother you.” And at this point I can’t even tell if she’s trying to be self-deprecating or if she truly wants us to know she thinks she’s intelligent. I’m betting it’s sarcastic, but y’know…she says shit like that and means it, too. Sometimes Betsy admits she’s pretty dumb (or at least amongst her friends and acquaintances), other times she thinks she’s actually smart but just kinda wacky or WTFever. It varies about as much as the size of her ridiculous shoe collection.
Anyway, Mr. Mason wanted to speak with her, too. He asks her how she’s enjoying being part of the Macy’s team, and says that with one or two “small exceptions” she is a pleasure to work with. Yeah, I’m so sure! At this point the following excerpt shouldn’t even be surprising, but it sure is stupid!:
“First let me say your knowledge of fine footwear is unparalleled by anyone in the store, excepting myself.”
I modestly brushed my bangs out of my face. Excepting myself, my ass. But be nice.
“Oh, here we go.”
“I’ve noticed you try to talk a…certain type of customer…out of their purchases.”
I didn’t say anything, and fought the urge to squirm in my chair. The fact was, if someone came in wearing shoes that were terribly beat up, I was loathe to sell them one of my finely made babies. Who knew what could happen? Once the shoes were out of the stores, they were beyond my protective sphere. I had to look out for my leather charges!
“Well,” I finally said, “I don’t like to be one of those pushy sales types.”
“That is admirable, but nor should you be one of those sales types who doesn’t sell shoes. Keep it in mind, please.”
“Okay,” I said humbly. For a minute, I toyed with the idea of hypnotizing him into letting me sell to whomever the hell I wanted, then rejected the plan. I never liked forcing people to my evil will and only did it in emergencies…like when I was starving, or needed to cut in line at the movies.
So she vows to herself that no matter what, she will sell shoes to the next customer she has, even if her heels are tatty or her eyeshadow is smudged. The horror!
Fortunately, she hones in on a well-dressed (if you think pantsuits count) middle-aged woman wearing circa 2001 Manolo Blahniks that are still in good shape. She’s looking at the Beverly Feldman boots when Betsy sidles up to her and nearly causes her to have a heart attack with her surprise “hello.” Blasted vampire sneakiness! And so on and so forth.
Betsy reacts to this by calling herself a retard. Seriously! She doesn’t say it aloud, but: Nice work, Betsy, you retard. You’ve gone from refusing to sell to your customers to scaring the shit out of them. Stupid undead quiet feet. And like…wow. Yet another word that typically people try to refrain from saying. I know it’s not, like…required to be a decent human being, and really I’m not trying to be über-PC or anything–I don’t really think of myself as “PC,” and I find a lot of it really fucking stupid. But two words I definitely think the world ought to just forget about are that one and the “n” one MJD repeatedly shows a bizarre obsession with. In fact, it is this latter reason that especially sticks out to me and made this one commentworthy to me–the fact that I already know she has this bullshit shock value obsession with another gross word, of course she’s the type of person who throws “retard” around like it doesn’t also have a vicious, awful history of abuse and despair, when in fact it is that history which makes it so enticing for her in the first damn place. She’s so completely transparent in this, it’s just sad. And pathetic. It is so, so pathetic. If I already didn’t think so little of her, I sure would by the time this shit came about…yet again. What a sad life I picture this woman having. When your greatest mischief is just unimaginative name-calling, well…sounds pretty dismal and pathetic to me.
Anyway, she and her customer are almost immediately interrupted by the boring, obvious entrance of boring, obvious Sinclair. When Betsy first hears him, she actually straightened up and stared off into the distance, cocking my head attentively. “Yes, Satan?” I turned slowly and faked a big smile for Sinclair. “Oops! Sorry, Sinclair, I got you mixed up with someone else.” Har har. MJD, please, these laughing fits are just too much. What if someone stops breathing?! You’re endangering us all with your quick wit and creative insults.
Anyway, Betsy prattles on and on for a while, essentially just to say he’s hot, he kisses well but doesn’t ask for permission, he’s wearing clothes, and he has dark hair and eyes. He’s I guess talking during this time, as she snaps put of it after a page or two and says she wasn’t listening.
Apparently, he has a major, majorly chauvinistic problem with the idea of her working. Seriously, like “no wife of mine!” bullshit. He claims that he’s rich and they’re married, ergo she is rich, ergo she does not need to work. Oh, from now on Sinclair thinks they’re married–they say it’s because the Book of the Dead says they are, but the only passage they say is the one where it says the first person she boinks will be her consort. So that’s good enough for vampire royalty to have tied the knot. Which makes me wonder, is it only official after they’ve both read it? Have they been “married” her whole lifetime–does that mean every other woman he’s had sex with (and all 3 men for her) was cheating? I mean, this book was allegedly written 1,000 years ago (for now) and all it takes to consider them married is they fucked…well, I guess I’ve answered my own question, but still. It’s dumb. It’s a dumb way to consider yourself married. Betsy and everyone else save Sinclair seem to agree with me, and other vampires have stupid-obvious Halloween weddings and whatever the fuck, so…yeah, Betsy not considering them married works for me! Whatever, he’s dumb and regressive. “This is intolerable. My queen does not work. No consort of mine is going to peddle shoes for minimum wage. Your place is at my side, not in this monument to consumer greed, waiting…on tourists,” are all direct quotes during this argument. She seriously has him say the exact thing I used to sum up his male dominance bullshit as an actual argument. And yeah, Betsy isn’t going for it, but still…we are supposed to like Sinclair, and he’s an awful shithead.
Anyway, they argue about whether or not women belong in a workplace for a while, when Mr. Mason shows up and asks her in code whether or not she needs security to come manhandle Sinclair out of there. She doesn’t do it, although she’s obviously tempted. He immediately hypnotizes Mr. Mason into firing her:
Mr. Mason’s eyes went blank and shiny, and he actually swayed before Sinclair. He was like a bird being hypnotized by a cobra!
I kicked the rat fink right in the ankle, bruising the hell out of my foot. “Don’t you dare!”
“Betsy…so sorry…” Mason slurred. “Cutbacks…budget…exemplary performance…really quite knowledgeable…but…but…regret…regret…” He was so distressed at being forced to do something against his natural instincts, I expected him to say “Does not compute!” and start sputtering smoke.
Betsy whips off her sunglasses and counter-hypnotizes him to go away and forget any of this happened, and then tells Sinclair that if he ever tries something like that again she will “kick his ass severe.” He claims that he will leave now, but he shall return because she will need him–”your very nature assures it”–and tries to give her a kiss goodbye. She says if he does she will bite his lip off, to which he shrugs because “they will grow back.” But he does put her down and leave. She turns around to see that not only had her customer fled during this exchange, the entire shoe department is actually empty. And we end yet another chapter on, “Damn you, Sinclair.”
Sinclair being a regressive shit is an ongoing theme throughout the books, even when we are supposed to like him. Eventually there are these weird glimpses where he’s clearly not even the same character, but seriously the #1 word used to describe him is “coldly.” He says everything “coldly.” He always acts “coldly.” Coldy, coldly, coldly. It becomes one of those words that you read so much it no longer makes any sense.
Anyway, the sum total of these chapters is…there’s a vampire hunter or hunters, and Betsy has a shitty job she’s way too into. What took me a sentence lasted MJD way, way too long for how lacking any sort of interest or excitement lies within.