I’m answering questions, checking boxes, wondering why I’m renting a fifteen passenger van while simultaneously realizing… I don’t need a fifteen passenger van. Then Ray, employee-of-the-month Ray, slaps down about fifty, maybe a hundred pages that need to be signed and initialed.
Ray looks like a pock-faced Hugh Jackman with a really bad sunburn. He’s wearing a crispy Van Huesen wrinkle-free shirt and what I can only assume are wrinkle-free khakis. “Hey,” he says, “you listen to Gotye?”
And I’m like, “No, bro. What is this—2012?” Actually, I just say, “No.”
“Good. Because you know he stole that song, right?”
“What?” I look up from my initialing and signing and Ray points to a box that’s both highlighted and marked with an X. “That one’s supposed to be a signature and it looks like you initialed.”
“Oh,” I add a few more letters, some of which may not even be in my name.
“Haha. But who am I? The John Hancock Nazi?”
“I don’t know what that means,” I say.
He thinks that’s hilarious, so I smile the way you would smile if you were biting down on a metal spoon. He turns around, then turns back to me and in a voice that’s all nose and fingernails on a chalkboard, he sings, “You remind me of a girl… that I… once knew.”
My hair is kind of long. Even with a beard, Griselda at CVS will occasionally call me ma’am. So I respond cordially. I say, “Good to know.”
“No. Not good know!” Ray smashes his fist on the counter, “Usher!”
Ray grabs me by the shirt and pulls me in like he’s going to tell me he loves me. Instead he belts out, “SOMEBODY!” and a little bit softer now, “that I used to know,” and a shitload louder now, “SOMEBODY! Now you’re just somebody that I used to know!”
Ray lets me go. He actually pushes me away and says, “Tell me he didn’t rip off those lyrics from Usher!”
“I’m really not sure. Do they have Usher in New Zealand?”
Beads of sweat fall from his nose. “This is a joke to you? This is copyright infringement. This is some Kiwi-foreign fuck infringing upon Usher’s creative content. Where’s your sense of loyalty? Patriotism?”
“Where it’s always been—abysmally low, but even so, I’m sure Usher’s legal team is on it.”
Ray looks at me a long time, then he fires a snot rocket into his palm, and wipes it on his wrinkle-free uniform. “Yeah, maybe.” He pulls the paperwork away from me and he says, “So what do you need a this big ass van for anyway?”