“She’s got a thing for you,” Keaton said, after I’d told him about Sandy’s virtual shopping spree over a couple Stone IPAs.
“What makes you say that?”
“Partly because she spent a thousand of her employer’s bucks on buying you fuckin Dodgers shit…and partly because of what you say she says about you. You may not realize it, but you’ve quoted a shitload of compliments she’s given you. You should watch it: it’s super gay.”
“I don’t know what you mean…,” I said, although I kinda did know what he meant. I don’t think Sandy’s been exactly coming on to me, but, yeah, I reckon I can tell she’s interested.
“Watch out or you’ll be in the middle of a sexual harassment suit,” Keaton said, with a smirky laugh. “And you’ll be the fuckin plaintiff.”
“I think I can handle a chick coming on to me.”
“You better be careful, bubba…remember you got a girlfriend, and she’s not gonna like hearing about how you’ve got a 10 at work buying clothes for you.”
I was already planning to not tell Joyce the whole story of my TV wardrobe anyway, but I said to Keaton:
“It wasn’t as intimate as it sounds. It’s not like she took me to the store and made me come out of the fitting room and model for her while she checked me out.” I worked in clothing retail, remember: I’ve seen that play more than once.
“With everything she bought you, it sounds like she expects you to be on the show a lot.”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “All Sandy said was that I need to be prepared and look good just in case the cameras do come by. And they don’t tell us when that’s gonna happen; I reckon they don’t want the boys planning out what they’re gonna do in front of the camera.”
“Neither the boys nor their good-looking gym teacher.” I gave Keaton a look. “Hey, I didn’t come up with it…you said it’s something Sandy said about you.
“Have you been to the Nike store yet?,” Keaton asked. “I’m curious to know how your golden ticket works.”
“Me too, actually…and I guess I could do with some new shoes. Sandy was right: the ones I had today were kinda….well…ratty.”
Keaton looked at me.
“Sandy’s word,” I explained.
“You’re already picking up lingo from her,” Keaton said. “You’d better be careful how much of it you use in front of Joyce.”
My trip to the Nike store in Old Town was the next day, after I’d finished working with the boys.
I called ahead to make sure Linda the manager was in the store, and, when I got there, told her who I was. Without even needing to show her the email Sandy printed out, I got turned over to this dude who, based on what I reckon Linda told him, was ready to send me home with the whole store. Whoever the Ted was that Sandy called on Monday, he must carry some bigass weight in the company. Keaton wasn’t wrong when he said I had a ‘golden ticket’.
I usually buy Nike running shoes for most of what I do outside, so I picked out a couple pair of those. Then I told the dude I was a baseball player and he tried to get me to take a pair of spikes. They looked cool, but I didn’t know how I was gonna use them working on the grass in Maya Bedrossian’s hugeass backyard. Then he came up with not one but two turf baseball shoes, and the dude talked me into taking both, since they had both in my size.
“You gotta take a basketball shoe too, man,” the dude then said. “This is a Nike store.”
“Yeah…but I don’t play basketball.” I wasn’t gonna explain lol.
“Just to wear,” he said with a shrug. “How about these?,” he said showing me a red and black pair that looked cool, although I wasn’t gonna be able to take advantage of whatever it was they could do for my basketball game. (I don’t think that even Nike’s invented a shoe that makes it possible for rhythm-challenged dudes to dribble lol.) “Cool color,” the dude said, jokingly dangling the shoe in front of me, “and you can’t beat the price. My manager told me they want you to take 5 pair.”
I didn’t want to impose too much on Maya’s generosity – or Nike’s – but it’s true that Sandy told me to take 5 pair, so I went for it.
As the dude was getting my boxes ready for me to take home and was cramming ten pair of socks into the bags, he said: “I don’t want to ask you something too personal…but are you a movie star or something? You look…”
“More like ‘something’,,” I said. “I’m definitely not a movie star. I’m Maya Bedrossian’s kids’ baseball tutor.”
The dude didn’t look so impressed after that lol.
I was surprised that night when, over my ramen noodles, Sandy called.
“Just wanted to find out how it went at the Nike store.”
“Great,” I said. “They were super nice. I even got two baseball shoes.”
“I hope you got more than that.”
“Yes,” I said, feeling myself blush for some weirdass reason. “I got 5 pair, like you said.”
“Enjoy them…and don’t forget to bring them with you on Thursday. We want to see how the whole wardrobe looks when we put it together. Is there any chance you can come in early on Thursday?”
I wasn’t sure who ‘we’ was, but I said of course I’d be in her office at 1 on Thursday.