Monday, November 06, 2006

Larry B & The Big Apple

I mentioned my old friend Larry B. before. He is one of the ones that stayed in Daytona Beach after we left and had the short-lived profession of pocketbook snatching.

Before Daytona we worked at the Big Apple Supermarket as carry out boys. The week after our Daytona trip was when I quit, which I will get to in another blog entry, but my friend Larry was let go months before Daytona – which I will get to now.

The Big Apple was one of the first Supermarket of the town. Shortly after The Big Apple came Krogers came. I think the A&P and Big Star were the first ones. Then, Kirk Brothers Supermarket was formed, which was locally own – I worked there too one time.

My first dealing with The Big Apple as an employer was when several of my friends worked there and off and on of them would need to be off a certain evening and pay me five or ten dollars to take their place… plus tips, not bad.

After several times of being a relief I was asked by the manager L.L. Thurmond to come to work, which I did.

We carry out boys only worked on Friday evening until they closed at 8:30pm and all day Saturday until they closed at 7pm.

We knew the tippers. You could spot a good tipper. It is just something about them. If nothing else was about we would carry out the dime tippers just to get out of the store, a quarter tipper we would try to maneuver ourselves to be in line to carry it out, a half dollar tipper was almost worth a fight, and a dollar tipper was worth a fight – all in good fun, of course.

And there was the little old grouchy lady Mrs. Stock who did not tip, but we enjoyed taking her groceries just to get to walk back and grab a quick smoke. She and her husband owned a tire company a block away.

After I worked there several months or maybe a year Larry B. got a job the same way I did – first by relieving carry-out boys.

One time at lunch on Saturday I found a place in the back store room behind some boxes that I could just plot myself down and rest. I didn’t get much sleep from the night before. I heard somebody come in the room. I eased my head around the corner of a box and saw that it was Larry B. I eased myself back quietly. I didn’t feel like getting in a long-winded conversation.

I kept hearing Larry do things. Step here and step there, I heard a box tear. Maybe somebody sent Larry in the back to get something and he had to tear open a box and bring something back up… I was going to tell him later how I hid while he was piddling around.

Then without warning: Whoosh!!! I was covered in powder Kool-Aid!

Larry gave out a Popeye laugh that he loved imitating.. if you ever seen the old black and white Popeye cartoons where the characters talked and mumbled to themselves you might remember Popeye laughed “Ka-Ka-Ku-Ku-Ka-Ka!”

Pink beads of Kool-Aid was all in my hair, all over my shirt, apron, and jeans. I brushed it all off and just left it there. I suppose some time in the near future somebody saw all the pink stuff and maybe either a empty Kool-Aid power container or several envelope lying on the floor and wondered what in the world happened.

Another mystery of things happening since Larry was hired and quit when he was fired.

At closing time on Friday and Saturday nights was usually a problem. None of us could leave until the last customer left the store. Being teenagers we had places to go – which, if we were waiting on an elderly couple who were slow pokes we may have looked impatient.

Larry B. had a date one night and he promised the girl he would not be late, they had to be someplace at a certain time. And there was the elderly couple taking their own good time.

Larry thought he would try to encourage them to leave and get in the next aisle and lob things over the top of the shelves at them to make them feel uncomfortable and hopefully start moving a little faster. He threw grapes, beans, towels, and anything else he could find that wouldn’t physically hurt them.

Larry was fired that night.

L. L. Thurmond was a kind gentle looking man. He was a naturally quiet person and not a loud mouth. To me, he was Mr. Thurmond instead of L.L.

One night I was rolling a group of grocery charts in and L.L. Thurmond was holding the door opened for me. From a car I heard Larry B. hollered, “Hey Rock!!!” And I gave a big window washing wave and then he hollered , “L.L.! You old bastard!!!” I thought I would crack up laughing. Nothing was said.

That’s about it.

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