Jack_Cherbourg Posted March 24, 2013 The goyim who worked in the store were constantly changing. It would happen that one would work in the store for two weeks or three weeks or even a few months and then, one day, either he would not show up anymore or he would come into the store in a fit of rage and quit on the spot. My boss also would hold over their heads that if they were disobedient he could send them packing anyway because he had a long list of names and numbers of people who were looking for work. One of the goyim, Antonio, was more or less a permanent fixture in the store. He had been working there for over ten years and carried the title of manager, which meant that he was supposed to be responsible for the store’s inventory, and he had authority over the other goyim. Originally from Guatemala, he had been in the United States for at least twenty years. He was already a citizen and spoke passable English, but I got the impression from him that he never had succeeded in doing much with his life beyond menial jobs such as working long hours in groceries. Another one of the goyim, who had been in the store longer than I had, though not much longer, was a Puerto Rican by the name of Miguel. He loved the United States. He carried in his heart a great sense of pride for his island home, but he love the US and everything that had to do with it, and he had been here now for eight years. His wife, on the other hand, was more patriotic at home. In Puerto Rico, she had her family and a comfortable job, and the way of life was several times easier than in New York City, so she had opted to remain in Puerto Rico, leaving Miguel alone in the United States. Miguel enjoyed his freedom, being a bachelor. Though not in a position to divorce his wife, he enjoyed the single life in New York, where he had the freedom to keep whatever hours he wanted, to go wherever he pleased, to watch whatever movies he might want to watch or leave the toilet seat up if he so desired. He loved the US, and his wife loved Puerto Rico, and they kept it at that. In the early years, she would come to visit him six weeks a year, and he would tolerate it, but the last three years, she had stopped coming. The children were getting older, and the travelling was becoming more exhausting, and their contact was reduced to nothing more than telephone calls and emails with occasional updates and how their lives might be passing them by. The third goy was Victor. Also Puerto Rican, he was loud and rude. As for a worker, he had a lazy streak in him that caused him to move more slowly than the boss wanted from him, but it was his audacious behavior that caused the most trouble for him. He was a big talker. His English was broken, but he had something to say to every person who entered the store. He had worked around Jews long enough to have picked up some words in Yiddish such as maydele, yingele, meshugene, and beheima, and he often put his Yiddish vocabulary to use when customers would come to the store. The boss had been open with his son, me, and the other worker that he intended on getting rid of Victor. Too many customers complained of his abrasive behavior, his loud talking, and his disrespectfulness. The fact that he was not a loyal worker made it easier for the boss to plot against him, but the holiday season was coming up, and the boss needed all the hands he could have, so he kept Victor on, planning to can him after the holiday season had passed. I did not know Victor well. His abrasive nature, which he considered as an extension of his sense of humor, was a turn off to me. I was more of the quiet, meek sort, and I had little tolerance for rude loudmouths. However, one who didn’t write him off completely would find that he had a likeable quality to him. He was a jokester, and some of the more seasoned Jews of the neighborhood knew him well and found some mutual ground on which to associate with him. I was not so familiar with his background except that I knew that he had worked in a couple of local synagogues before coming to the prestigious job of pack mule in our little grocery, which was how he was so well known. Like Miguel, he had left his wife and most of his family behind him in Puerto Rico, and it appeared that he did not miss them so much. In New York, he had two grown children, one of whom lived with him, and he remained a self-imposed bachelor with few cares in the world besides making a little money and eating and drinking and having a good time. Victor had worked in the store already about six months. The newcomer to the store was Raul. Raul was from a small town in Puerto Rico and had come to New York only for a six month stint. He was young, probably no older than nineteen or twenty maximum. He had a thick mop of black hair that was never well maintained and added to his youthful appearance and an immaculate complexion. He had large eyes that looked as though they swallowed up whatever might cross their path and a nose just as sweetly large. His lips were full and thick, and his chin square and smooth. In stature, he was taller than I by a few good inches, and he had broad shoulders. He was well built, neither overweight nor underweight, and his overall physique had the appearance of that manly man who still could be kind to small children. He had started working in the store only a couple days after his arrival in New York, where he was staying with his aunt for the next six months until he had to return to start some college courses. I noticed immediately that the young fellow had an incredibly charismatic personality. Every day, when he would come into the store, he would greet me and the boss with a firm handshake and an egregiously large smile, a custom that was foreign to the Orthodox Jewish community. He would repeat the protocol when he would leave the store in the evening. With the other goyim, he had a rapport that I had not seen among any of them in all the time I had been in the store. He was very cheerful and playful with them, and I occasionally saw the playful roughhousing of children take place among them that I never had seen beforehand. Even Miguel sometimes could be seen giving for Raul big bear hugs. Raul had something about him that brought out the goodness and gentleness in everybody. That was why I kept my eye on him. He was so youthful and carefree, so amiable and able to bring out the hidden goodness that lay within everybody he met. Even the boss would smile and chuckle when he entered to store. He seemed to be a breath of fresh air for everybody who was around him. I never had met anybody quite like him. Raul always had that smile on his face. Dressed in jeans and occasionally sporting a small, black cap, he was a fellow who had not know upset or sacrifice in his life. He was still young, certainly innocent and naïve, and full of life. That boy was alive, which I hardly could say about myself. The truth was that I felt a little sorry for him. As the store was small and the boss struggled to pay his bills, he had developed a system to save money with regard to his workers. He paid me and the other Jewish employee the minimum that he could get away with paying us, and he made sure that the two of us worked only as much as we were needed and no more. The goyim were paid a flat rate by the week and not by the hour, and they were in the store from seven thirty in the morning until seven thirty at night. Twelve hours, an entire day, they labored in the most menial work for a disgracing amount of money that amounted to much less than what I brought home. Goyim who were new to the store were paid by the hour, which my boss did as a sort of legal protection for himself. After the first month or so, though, once he saw that a worker was serious and was going to stay on, he would pay the worker according to the weekly rate that the others earned. While the worker was paid by the hour, though, my boss would make sure that the worker was not in the store more than necessary. He did this with Raul to an extent, but Raul really was one of the best of the workers, and so the boss was not so apt to send him away at times when he might ordinarily be extraneous. Therefore, Raul worked more or less the same slave hours that the other workers in the store were working, but he appeared to be quite content. Having learned Spanish as a child in California. I considered it my second language and loved everything Latin American, and my most favorite people in the world were Latin Americans. I found Raul quite likeable, too, and I watched him. I smiled at him when he looked at me. I even smiled at him when he was not looking at me. I liked his name, too. It was unusual, sensual. Raul. It made me think of the actor, Raul Julia. The Kiss of the Spider Woman.