Sunday, February 06, 2005
Professional Glo-stix Salesmen
Professional Glo-stix Salesman Andre
Every two or three months my brother puts on a *party* somewhere in Sydney, and me and my pal Andre are just the kind of honest and hard-working fellas he needs to man his glo-stix stand.
Last night's party (Hyperspeed) was out in Penrith, a 45-minute drive west of the city, in a skate centre. The sign above the front door reads: SKATE AT OWN RISK. Last night they should have replaced it with one that read: RAVE AT OWN RISK, because at least two kids threw up on the dancefloor/skating rink. But that happened later on.
Andre and his girlfriend Cheryl and her daughter Sierra rolled up at my place at 8:00pm. They were early, so I gulped down a beer I had just cracked, got my stuff together and we were off. On the way we stopped at a service station for chewing gum, chocolate bars, soft drinks and cigarettes.
We arrived at the venue a little after 9:00 so we had almost an hour to set up. This is a critical moment because we get to check out the venue, where the toilets are and what they are like (this venue sucks on this count - a short pisstrough and one cubicle), is there an outdoor area, a coat check, a DJ setlist, does the shop sell Chup-a-Chups... things that the kids are gonna be asking us all night. It's also when we find out what we have to sell besides regular glo-stix. Last night we also had some more fancy sticks that you take out of the packet, unscrew the tube, put three little batteries in, and when you press the button the thing sort of glows, looks kinda purple with glitter in there, but when you wave it back and forth you see red green and blue bars in the air. There was also a small spiky rubber ball and when you squeezed it, it started flashing green and red. And we had some t-shirts to sell. "HYPERSPEED - WE TAKE SPEEDING VERY SERIOUSLY" We also get our money, our float, set up. This is where Andre's Mr Fix-it skills come in handy, because we don't get anything to keep the money in, so Andre's job is to make one out of cardboard boxes, and you can see his fine work in the photo.
So we're all set, ten o'clock rolls around and the kids start bouncing in. The music is already booming out of gigantic speakers, those kids want to jerk their bodies, but they need glowing neon tubes to wave around at the same time, and we have them. Step right up! Step right up!
Kids come and buy our glowing crap, mostly they are cool. 'I'll have a blue one, and a red one... no, make that a blue and a green.' 'That's ten bucks.' 'Cool.' Then you get your hustler kids, who try to haggle the price down. The guys will do it, and if they seem OK, we'll cut 'em a deal, but some of these little fuckers... Like this one little bastard, he was with a group, a couple other guys, a couple girls, and they bought a bunch of stuff, so we cut the price. He came back, I'll have another one of these, five bucks right? I look at Andre, he says 'Yeah, they bought all that stuff before' OK, five bucks. But he came on back again and again. The little bastard aims to take advantage of the two dumb glo-stick-selling suckers. I watch him. He's chewing fast, his face twitching, he's like a rat about to run back to a hole with his prize. Our faces are frozen, watching him. We cut him off. He realises the game is up. Unbelievably, he comes back moments later, jamming his battery operated glo-stick in our faces, one of those fancy ones, Can you give me a spare battery? He must have opened the damn thing up and fiddled with it, dropping one of the three little batteries out of it. He's gotta be kidding. You gotta be kidding. We don't have any spare batteries. My face must tell him I mean it, and he walks away, dramatically miserable, the poor little guy.
On the other hand, these girls come and ask us for some favour and we can't do it fast enough. We are at their mercy, completely and utterly. We're gonna say no to these angels? Hardly.
It doesn't take long for the first cute girl to come up to our table, wanting glo-stix. God Almighty, she's only wearing a bikini top. I look down and she's got these tiny shorts, there's barely anything to 'em. She's bending forward, getting the money out of her purse, I'm trying not to look for more than a second or two at a time. I feel ridiculous. I'm twenty years older than her. When she sees me, she sees some *old* guy, and if she caught me staring, she would be disgusted. What an old pervert, no wonder he works here, selling glo-stix. The sleazy old fucker. I smile like an idiot, take her money and hand her the glo-stix. She bounces off. I turn and look at Andre, he's looking at me, and he knows, I don't have to say anything. Hell, he's four years older than me.
But she's just the first one. There's more to come. At every one of these things there are three or four of those girls. A large part of our night is spent comparing notes, and we usually agree on them, those three or four girls. We know it's sad, it's torture, and torments us, but we laugh about it. What else can you do?