The End of My Adventures in Pawnbroking…

What feels like a lifetime ago, I was an assistant manager at a pawn shop. It was a pretty stressful job, but nothing stressed me as bad as the day I had to call 911.

This sweet little old lady came in one afternoon, while I was the manager on duty. She was a bit frail looking, but dressed very nicely, a sweet smile, but eyes that looked far sadder than I had ever seen eyes look. She hesitantly came up to the counter, and I approached with an easy smile and calmly asked if I could help her. I expected she was there to find something that had been stolen – we had that happen far too often; grandkids would steal their grandmother’s jewelry and pawn it for a quick buck, and it was always hard to break the news to the grandmother that we’d have to get the police involved to get them back their things. Like I said, stressful job, so I was already mentally preparing myself for the speech I’d given a thousand times at least.

I asked her gently if I could help her. She smiled, and reached into her purse. She pulled out a collection of really beautiful looking jade jewelry.

“I was wondering if I could get a loan on my jewelry,” she said quietly, her eyes cast down, refusing to meet mine.

Fuck. This was worse than I was prepared for. The problem was, my shop, hell, most shops, won’t lend on jewelry that isn’t gold, silver, or diamonds. It’s too hard to verify that it’s real, and unlike Pawn Stars, we didn’t have a TV network flying in experts to verify something’s worth. As it was, I had already gotten in trouble that week for giving too much money to a young mother pawning a very cheap wedding ring set, in order to buy diapers and formula for her kids (yeah, I know, classic sob story, but her very hungry looking, smelly infant had me convinced there was a glimmer of truth to it).

I looked at the jewelry, and swallowed. I could probably give her $20 for it. That way, even if it was plastic and not actual jade, I wasn’t going to be out so much that I couldn’t cover it out of my own pocket if need be. But I didn’t want to insult her. I could tell be the tremble in her hands that this was breaking her pride, and I’d be damned if I contributed to that.

“How much are you trying to get?” I asked cautiously.

She sighed.

“I was hoping, maybe $300?”

Fuck. There was no way. No way at all, that I could get her that kind of money.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I really don’t think I can help you with this. We don’t have the ability to test jade, and we’re very limited in what we can offer you.”

“Please,” she said, looking up with tears in her eyes, “I’ve tried every other shop. I need the money, please. They’ve raised my rent and I can’t afford to move. Please.”

F U C K.

I sighed. There was no way. But…

“Let me call my boss,” I said, “And see what we can do.”

I spent the next 15 minutes or so on the phone with my boss. He wasn’t a bad guy, but he didn’t want to take it in at all. We argued back and forth, and finally, we agreed that we could go as high as $75, but no higher.

I came back to her, and as gently as I could manage, I told her that the best I could manage would be $75.

Her face paled. Her mouth gaped. And then suddenly, she twitched, her eyes rolled back, and she fell over with a brief convulsion. I leaped over the counter and tried to get a response, but she didn’t seem to be breathing. I jumped back up, grabbed the phone, and called 911.

She was gone before they got there, I’m pretty sure. They still tried to resuscitate her, as they wheeled her out on the gurney and into the ambulance.

I was in a state of shock. It wasn’t until about a half hour later that I’d realized she’d left her jewelry on my counter, along with her ID. I contacted the police (non-emergency) and they sent an officer to gather her things.

I never found out if she made it or not.

Three weeks later, I turned in my resignation.


The Queen of all Argyll

I have mixed thoughts on the sharing of music and videos in my blog. It’s not something I think I will do regularly, as I intend this, mostly, to be a place for *my* creative outpourings. But today I am slogging through the last of my work week. I’ve had so much to do, and so little time to create. So music has been a comfort to me as I get a chance to reflect on where I want to be, what I want to write, and what my creations might likewise inspire, as I have been inspired by what others create.

So here’s a song that’s been stuck in my head all day. The Queen of all Argyll. Maybe it will inspire you as it has inspired me.

The Axle Grease Tastes Fine

So, I put in another late night at work last night. Late enough that I didn’t even have to come to work today in order to make up the hours that I’ve already put in. But here I am, working another full day, though I swear I am not going to stay over today. Much.


The problem is, I work in a cutthroat industry. What’s that I say? Defense contractors are backstabbing assholes? That *NEVER* happens! I know, right? Yet here I am, treading soft through the viper’s den. Yesterday, a contractor who has fallen behind in their promised production schedule attempted to blame it all on me. It’s convenient for them, because I work for a totally different contractor and no one, save for myself and a very small handful of people in the country, know how difficult and time consuming my job is.

But here’s the kicker. With a few small exceptions, I haven’t missed a single publication date. I have had my portion done, headaches notwithstanding, and pushed out my product before it was due. The fact that they came to me late already is something I have no control over. And more, the fact that the only reason I have to do this part of the job, instead of doing the actual job I was hired for, is that the assholes sending it to me didn’t do their jobs properly in the first place!

So I spent two hours yesterday being grilled by great big government types and trying to justify my job. Which I did, professionally and expertly. With documentation. But it still sucks.

And now, I’ve been trying to ensure that my queue is completely clear, which means long hours. And that makes me a touch grumpy. Thank Og I have this place to stem the boredom of watching a compiler run…

And my, but the underside of this bus is pleasant. The axle grease is so tasty…


On the plus side, Camp NaNoWriMo starts today. And I’ve a “Supernatural Sexy” novel brewing in my skull…

So, working late sucks, but it can have its upsides…

Without delving too far into all the details of my mundane world, the job I do sometimes requires me to stay for long hours, watching and waiting for a compiler to finish gargling the code I threw at it and then spit out something that is hopefully usable. Unfortunately, while said compiler is churning away, I seriously can’t do anything else on my machine.

Thankfully, have laptop, will travel. So while it sucks to be here two hours past my typical time already, I do get a little time to write, to think, to listen to Cake on Pandora really loud on my headphones with no one telling me it’s going to damage my hearing or bugging me to do something else. It could be worse, right?

And fuck yeah. They Might Be Giants, Istanbul (Not Constantinople) just revved up.

Why did Constantinople get the works?