“Hmmmm, I knew you can be a good leader.” Said Ms. Fullesse clamping her hands to Rigor’s right arm. “Alright, everyone refer to your egress plan, below it is a map of where everything can be located. This course is helpful for this is going to be your home for the next few months. Alright, our store tour begins here and will end at the topmost floor.” Said Ms. Fullesse and began ranting like a museum guide. At the end of the course, they were fully aware of where the stockroom, clinic, concierge, employee’s comfort room, recreation room, locker room, hydraulics and fire extinguishers were. Ms Fullesse took noteworthy of places they can’t go, thus off limits. One bully asked why there are so many. She simply said the place is huge and the owner had to figure out what to make use of those empty spaces. She added, they need not be bothered by those hollow room for the salesmen are to frequent the selling area where the refilling, replenishing of stocks doesn’t end. Indeed, it was the largest consortia of finest goods in life Rigor had ever seen. Consignments from the world over battles for the space to have a presence in this famous Department Store. Ms. Fullesse took pride recounting how the management accommodates all those concessionaires that they moved altogether forming like tiny island of counters, racks and gondolas filling these luxurious spaces.
“Like you who wanted to be part of prestige, welcome to the family!” said Ms. Fullesse at the end of tour and ordered everyone to proceed to their respective designation to meet up with the department manager.
Clinging back to Rigor’s right arm, Ms. Fullesse whispered she meant welcoming him to the family dearly. Rigor smiled at the prospect of his objective to highly succeed.
“Well, I believe I should start making myself at home” he said in an excuse to go away for the respective department.
“Of course.” She said freeing Rigor’s arm. “Anyway, Perfumery’s Department Manager is Lorraine Vreekam; I speak of only good words about you, so don’t be surprise if she’s so into you. She has this reputation of a child snatcher, so be forewarn because she always get what she wants. I know, she’ll ensnare you with her mind set about age. Unconsciously, you will meet halfway to her direction.” She said panting reminiscent of a war correspondent. “But I know, you’ll be dealing with her professionally, so she’ll resort to her mood swings, least you can do is tolerating it and then if you play hard on her, the last thing she can do is power- tripping; ignore her then. It’s my prerogative who is to retrench.” She said with a heavy sigh that told Rigor not to go yet. “I’m sorry, I’m worrying about you. Don’t hesitate to come to my office if anything bothers you.” She offered with despair in her eyes that Rigor wished she will end her sentiments with no tears, otherwise everyone will hail Toni. Silence reigned as everything been said. Rigor found it deadening unlike Daniela’s peaceful silence. So, instead of thanking her, he just went off.
Rigor started on sales training with gusto. He needs to be in good terms not just to his fellow rank and file but with the officers. It turned out with difficulty because Mila Toriana, the perfumery supervisor was professional, meaning Rigor had to earn her admiration by doing his job efficiently. He sweat much going in and out of the stockroom to replenish the Calvin Klein counter- his counter then which had been deserted for a week. He wiped it inside and out until free of smudges and dust. Point of sales material like the ads on duratrans and lucites glorifier were back glinting rivaling the techno concept of Paco Rabanne counters. In retrospect, he became the mess soaking in sweat and filth. He decided cleaning up was done as he assisted his first ever customer who happened to be browsing only.
“Four hours of no sales? Prove yourself Mr. Yapi or you have no place here. And to remind you, you are dealing with glamour and prestige, suit yourself. O, you need to dry up now. Ms. Lorraine Vreekam will meet you any minute; she’s out for a meeting.” Said Mila Toriana with disdain clutching her paper-full folders against her chest and stormed past the other counters with her head held up high. Everybody in the perfumery department knew she liked to make scene at times of Ms. Vreekam’s absence. As she disappeared at the end hallway to the office, everyone gathered around Rigor’s counter but continued merchandising and fixing their displays, actually they come for refuge.
“Don’t mind her, she’s a bitch. We’re expecting she won’t appreciate your effort, least recognize you did that.” Said the Paco Rabanne fragrance consultant.
“Persuasion, the one thing she’s very good at. She would boast of being the eyes and ears of the manager who relied on her. Believe me she can make it sound as if she did those cleaning herself.” Said the Lanvin fragrance consultant imitating Mila’s habit of making bodily contacts of her acquaintances. Her convincing power is really on hand shaking.” She added grabbing Toni’s free hand for a demonstration and squeezed it tight. He shrieked as if void of Adam’s apple and everyone laughed. “Beware girl because she despised your kind. Her ex-boyfriend she was about to marry then turned out to be gay. Somehow the pain created an internal hatred toward the gay community and men who looked gay for that matter. She then married sadness and work instead; her constant companion since then. You’re lucky; you made sales on your first five hours, her only basis of a good salesman.”
That’s not nice, gays don’t look alike. It’s unlawful.” Protested Toni.
“Tell her too, you all don’t think the same. That you all end up either a hairdresser or make up artist by accident. But you know what; I admire you guys for creating jargons that somehow evolve to an orthodox of language thus calling yourselves , theatrical gay, discreet gay and metro sexual. Some of you wanted to get away with the stereotyping those infamous transvestites had created. And that your campaign that you gays differ from each other only created conundrum rather than raise public awareness. Labels had created divisions within the gay community. But to Mila, you’re all the same.” Said the Stella McCartney fragrance consultant.
“Six nine!” warned the Ferragamo fragrance consultant that sent everyone back to their counters. Rigor knew they were referring to Ms. Lorraine Vreekam emerging from the hallway. He met her and had some talk revealing the opposite of what he’d been told. She’s an uptown Makati girl like him. Dealing with Lorraine was class all the way. He was at ease relating to her; the vibes was just right. He got neither discrimination nor awkward feelings from her. ‘She is no hindrance on a goal of uncovering the Queen’s world.’ He mused
Time flew fast he didn’t notice Daniela was being stopped by his co-worker for samples of scents. Daniela tolerated the harassment she offered both hands till she’s smeared in a mixture of oils and alcohol. Wriggled her arms to dry up she didn’t smell it as an excuse of getting away from the hard selling consultants and headed to Calvin Klein counters. The consultants were left envious of Rigor.
“Gosh, it’s a battle back there. How’s it to be in the pit of concessions? It’s hard, I can see it. The Queen’s world is profound as these vast collections of scents, but I consider it a challenge. Just imagine how much they can tell. For instance, these beefcakes that surrounds you.” Said Daniela referring to Calvin Klein ads with models in carnality.
“O, I was about to remove them but you came. Ms. Lorraine told me they’re copyright permit to display expired.” Said Rigor curious what’s on shopping bag. Daniela held up the newly purchased roller blades.
“Got my paycheck, I’ll treat you later.” She said with her smile promising a great night. “Anyway, Travis for Crave cK tells clearly of a carnal desire; ditto with Escape and Obsession cK models. Too much skin but Oleary of Truth Calvin Klein tells another side of sensuality despite the bare skin. You see her body commune with the lushness of nature.” Said Daniela admiring Oleary’s peaceful aura.
“Yes, I agree as Calvin Klein himself puts it, Truth is never a straight line and thus he created a slightly leaning bottle for Truth perfume; never a straight line. I mean, despite the nudity, she clearly expresses beyond desire of the flesh. Her eyes were captivated by the lights spread over the lush greenery with its breeze gushing through her and felt the warmth of water washing her skin anew.” Said Rigor as though he himself found peace.
“Same essence was captured by Christy Turlington and Scarlet Johansson of Eternity scents. How about cK1 and cK be? What can you make out of it?” asked Daniela.
“The revolution in modeling, the birth of waif models led by Kate Moss. The rise of youth culture.” Said Rigor aware that everyone’s eyes were on them but felt proud now. He likes the attention. Gucci’s consultant’s advanced to their direction.
“Can you tell them not to budge in; I’ll do some serious browsing. You know what I mean.” Said Daniela scanning the island of counters for BCBG Max Azria while Rigor signaled them to leave her alone. ‘I can’t blame them who tempted to get near the goddess.’ He mused.
The counter was at the corner adorned with four life size obelisks around. On top of it were giant factices. Daniela found nothing except there were four models representing each scents then. ‘But they are boring.’ Thought Daniela. ‘They don’t posses mystery, not even a drama to be a conveyor of Queen’s message. No Braille, this can’t be happening.’ Daniela murmured in disbelief for her whole day search seemed to fail. She gave up and tried browsing at the Zen-ish Issey Miyake counter. She always resorted to nature for comfort when things seemed wrong. ‘Thank goodness, there are no carnal models that could distract my concentration, but photographs of nature.’ She thought to herself. She was drawn to l’eau d’issey homme ads; a root set atop the musk which rests on a round stone. The simplest of nature relaxed her. It reminded her humbly that life’s greatest gifts were the basics. Soufflé d’issey ads captured this sense of necessity as a breath of air. It’s very Zen, though Daniela found Lumiere d’issey bottle design amusing rather than enlightening. Lights passed through its transparent tapering top and dispersed to its dark bottom. This was what she liked about the light, the Lumiere as of the skylark that reached deep in to the pit of darkness. ‘Which source of light is better?’ Daniela posed this question to herself as the duratrans of Le Feu d’issey Light and Le feu d’issey did try to outshine opposite each other on the wall. Le feu d’issey Light-the sun is of Ra. Le feu- the Oreco’s fire is of the evil which sat in the earth’s core. The sun- immaterial. The Oreco- material. ‘The sun of course, isn’t that obvious? From time immemorial, Oreco never did shine bright. It split which gave birth to Venus which only shine at night which also spawned what had become the earth’s core and is forever buried.’ She said to herself in a whisper.
Having checked the Issey Miyake counter, she hopped to the launching area where the latest scent of Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto dream were on display among Ferragamo’s other collections of scents like the classic and the subtil lines. Daniela took a sample on a scent strip as there’s no space left on her skin to spray on. The sweet scent of Incanto dream neither smell dreamy nor enchanted, it made her crave for something. So, she diverted her attention to the detail of bottle design. The weak enamel of yellow and pink flowers on its bottle connoted a fainting image as of a dream. She noticed the manner of d in dream was printed. It resembled that of Ferragamo’s logo which is the Greek letter omega that also mimicked on its cap. Daniela saw it clearly on a cap of classic Ferragamo scent, the logo was very prominent. There’s no denying Ferragamo crowned his precious by his logo. Noticeably was Incanto dream’s cap though with slight difference, it still is a logo. But Daniela arguably pointed out it’s more than a Ferragamo logo. It represented something else. She peered through it and found a nozzle sprayer at the center but something enigmatic happened. She denied the nuisance that a sprayer was capable of such mystery. But it’s happening anyway, so she uncovered and felt the sprayer and pushed it accidentally. Surely, fine mists blindingly hurt her eyes. On instinct, she closes it and rubbed it dearly. Of course, everything went black for several minutes making her dizzy. She opened her eyes red. Then she felt hallucinating, dreamy. It’s quite logical to feel dizzy but hallucinating was an overstatement. Politically correct, hallucination is a medical condition, so she gathered her thoughts getting back to consciousness and regarded her hallucination as nothing.
She walked toward Jean Paul Gaultier counter tripping on her own feet but able to remain standing; her hands on her head. Rigor ran to her direction and let her sit to the couch provided for the patron who tried GAULTIER’s body lines.
“Are you alright? A check up at a clinic will do?” said Rigor helping Daniela for her balance.
“I’ll be fine, the opulent bouquet of flowers hit me hard, and it’s too heady.” Said Daniela picking up wet tissues from the counter and rubbed the smudged of oils and alcohol off her skin. Gaultier’s consultant handed her the coffee bean for smelling to neutralize if not to catalyze the scent. “O, thank you. The aroma makes me want to sip it. What time you’ll be out? I can’t wait really for a cup of coffee; it will stimulates me kicking drowsiness away.” Said Daniela sniffing more.
“I guess you need sleep.” Said Rigor checking cK counter for patrons and the hallway for Ms. Vreekam.
“No, don’t let it ruin our night. Besides, I’m having a head start on our goal. A cup of coffee is all I need. Come on, it’s my treat, remember?” said Daniela trying to sound well and that her caffeine mechanism will sort things out.
“Alright, a nap then?” said Rigor pressing his lips. She knew he’s worrying.
“Okay, get back to work. I’m not giving you any sales. All I want is an idea; they are vital information to our quest.” Said Daniela leaning on the glass counter. A large snow ball fascinated her- a giant factice of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fragile Pour Femme. Inside it was a woman in long black gown surrounded by golden glitters swimming in an eau de parfum. Displayed inside the shelves were Gaultier’s Le Male scent collections- bottled in an emasculator figure enameled as a sailor sporting a variety of tattoos.
Next shelves were Gaultier’s Pour Femme scents collections-bottled in a feminine figure enameled with a variety of colored dresses.
The snowball, the sailor and the overly clad woman; she couldn’t extract an idea but something reminded her from the past. Then again her being drowsy persisted. She transferred to the bigger couch where she could recline her back and close her eyes. She’ll wait till Rigor’s work is over. Rigor knew she fell asleep as her head tilted forward. Daniela then was unaware of her Dept. Store’s surrounding but somewhere in her brain, a nerve impulse stimulated her dream world, her subconscious. And in it, she’s drowning but not on a verge of death but life. She’s swimming with her feather light black silk gown. Down the abyss, she went in pursue of the light below. She recalled similar experience back at the cuckoo land training where she felt no stranger, it seemed at first. Like here in the abyss, she felt no pain or the need to breath. This was her idea of the Council’s consecrated realm. Magical and full of surprises, it seemed. The prospect of happiness and bounty at the deep end where lights lurked brought wisps of smile across her face. Charily, she slowed down not forgetting how the mischievous paradise cuckoo land turned to hell. Getting close to the light, it didn’t blind her. It’s as welcoming as getting laid to a bed next to rekindling candles. It’s a whirlpool of sparkling sands. She resisted the current pulling her down but everything went flux and found herself at the center of whirling sands. Emerging from nowhere and circling her were the emasculator merman wearing sailor’s uniform and mermaids with their flowing red hair wearing pointed metal brassieres and tight corsets. The whirling subsided and sparkling sands fell to her feet. A knowing smile appeared across her face as she recognized the peculiarity of this incident.
Mermaids nodded in agreement as if reading her mind. Daniela’s thought went back to a past where she was surrounded by stars drowning her was in fact a prophecy fulfilled.
Then her memory went back to a metaphoric Gaultier’s Fragile snowball with a woman in little black dress, drowning and surrounded by golden glitters. Mermaids together blew their conch trumpet emitting a phosphorescent musical notes playing a serene bossa nova. The musical notes traveled the way sonar does. It penetrated through daniela’s ears and it soothe deep to her soul.
She felt light, same lightness she felt back when fireflies came out of her during her trance state at the lavender farm at Poumousson Haute Provence. Only this time, there were no signs of the evil’s interference. As musical notes or sound waves traveled to all directions, it enlivened sea anemone, sea weeds and others. She felt lighter then, unaware of that phosphorescent bubbles coming out of her. ‘It’s been those musical notes!!! She screamed at the discovery but no sound of her being heard. ‘It doesn’t matter, because no such profound knowledge could be easily understood. Such profundity is better left for contemplation. Anyway, these mermaids are of superior intellect, I need not shout my ideas because they can read my mind. But it would be of buffoonery if I left the idea unsaid. So, I’ll share it with Rigor that theses bubbles are same as those fireflies coming out of me. These are all about the life force within being unleashed giving me this lightness and peace. A piece of heaven- a Council’s consecrated realm for the divine.’ She mused not wanting this piece of heaven to end. Eyes wide open; her feet left the sea bed of sparkling sands which started to swirl again as bubbles spiraling around her. She played with it feeling what divine must have felt; bliss was an understatement. She stayed afloat above those bubbles carrying her up to the surface void of mortal limits. She was in a state of nirvana.
Daniela woke up feeling energized at her Dept. Store’s surrounding which suddenly became bright. Indeed, beauty from within resonated to her outer appearance. She caught her reflection on the Clinique’s round mirror beside the couch. She exudes radiance. A glow more than what these fancy root extract from the pit of the earth could give or some cosmetic claimed to have an exotic ingredient said to be an elixir found in the high altitude of the Alps. Her new found glory was incomparable to that of legendary princess of joy, who drank from a cup of Yeti’s secretes from Himalayas slain by his prince; mixed with the essence of magical tree of life from which the Yeti fed and tended by the fairies- these concocted essences were of joy potion. More than an endorphin; happy hormone mortals can have. Yet, categorically, the concoction was same as of the lost ichor. What the subconscious been telling her was the Elixir of elixirs, the life force within.
She believed in the power of life force in a sense that even the unleashing was a mere re-enactment as of a dream, still the result resonated to her conscious world. Interestingly, she used to disparage dreams as of another dimension that do not occupy space here in reality but mere mental image. But this dream she just had changed all that, it traveled on parallel from another dimension to the real world bringing the magic and impossibilities to mortals.
She then coveted this would last forever as it would decline to its low next morning just like the fireflies incident. Rigor then clean glass counters for pre-closing. Three counters apart which were Miyake, Ferragamo and the Gaultier, Rigor noticed the changes in Daniela’s aura. More than a diamond peeling and a glutathione dosage combine; she radiated a thin film of light enclosing her and slowly diminished but the silky glow in her skin remained. Rigor craned his neck around to see co-workers agape at Daniela’s miraculous glow. It’s more than what a power nap could give. Hastily, he moved to Daniela’s direction that then walked toward him with beam of dust avoiding contact with her.
“Dan, wait for me at the main entrance. I’ll punch out, it won’t take long.” Said Rigor who sounded nervous than excited. Nervous that his co- workers would bar her for beauty tips or worst some will scout for Ripley’s Believe It or Not TV appearance.
Outside the Dept. Store’s main entrance, Rigor grabbed Daniela’s shopping bag and hailed a taxi. “Burgos Circle.” Said Rigor examining Daniela in amazement.
“What? You seemed anxious?” said Daniela coolly enjoying a glimpse of her reflected in building’s fiberglass as they passed along.
“Tell me, what happen in your nap?” asked Rigor to which Daniela choked on her reply.
Changes in her was visible, Rigor need not be a keen observant to notice. What surprised her was his direct reference to a nap. She didn’t know where to start sharing the miracle. She won’t like ending up telling a fairy tale again as it was with the fireflies but Rigor seemed ready to believe everything she’ll say.
“It’s happening again and I know it this time. It’s about the life force within us. It’s what those fireflies back at the lavender farm been telling us. I’m sure of it. This time, it’s those bubbles coming out of me. Oddly, my former dream with fireflies had reference to my surroundings. You were there with the tree, fireflies and lavenders both in reality and my dream world.” Said Daniela frowning in an effort of recalling the dream.
“And the fireworks.” Added Rigor gesturing Daniela to go on recounting by motioning his head in circles.
“Yes and the car. Yet, it’s quite illogical for two real occurrences happening at the same time and space. I’m calling my dream with fireflies as real because as you have had noticed, I have same glow back then.” Said Daniela flaunting her skin which even in dim light of taxi; it glowed.
“Dejavu, such things happen when there are intruders, right? The evil were able to penetrate us back at the lavender farm and tweaking the Queen’s message. It also happened back at Milan Fashion Week when our cellular phone showed same time of sending each other’s message and then Bjorn ruined our night. From now on, it will be our death-watch beetle warning us when danger is on our way.” Said Rigor in a half smile showing confidence.
“You’re right.” Said Daniela silent again while looking outside. Rigor knew she’s thinking.
“So, any hint on how to unleash the life force within us?” asked Rigor with occasional glance at the bustling streets.
“Not really, there was no instruction whatsoever how to unleash the life force. My concern is how I was able retrieving that Queen’s message? I knew it’s the eye of Horus, but where?” said Daniela whose worrying was a sign of low point of existence. Suddenly, every idea does not come at hand and she hated it.
“Not where, surely the Council or the Queen find it safe to send message to you at the spot you had your dream.” Said Rigor from his own deductions looking at the taxi’s dashboard where Ambipur’s strawberry were. “The question is which?”
“Perfumes, but which?” said Daniela recalling her browsing from cK counters, next is Issey Miyake then the Ferragamo at the launching area and lastly at Gaultier.
“It’s the cap!!!” she burst. “My enchanted dream was from peering through Ferragamo’s Incanto dream’s fragrance cap. Yes’ it started from there. Then my dreams were of Jean Paul Gaultier’s creation. His bottled scent of male and female figures became those mermaids; they just played a good music surrounding me. I was the woman in black dress- imitating Gaultier’s snowball bottled scent- the Fragile. It didn’t look they were instructing me but they made sure we got their message right. The inevitability of life force’s eternal effect on us. A piece of heaven; divinity. What I have in mind is going through the Braille on next BCBG obelisk Metro.” Said Daniela watching the Tower as they passed along. She wanted to go home; she knew it was wrong to be deluded by lethargy as she would always say that sleepiness affects comprehension. But deep down in her heart, she knew the fact that her vigor and youth was waning. ‘Nevertheless, I have to go on with the night, drowsy or not.’ She promised to herself. ‘Besides, I had plans prior to that enchanted dream.
Disclaimer: This journal chronicle events from my past career describing activities on and off salesman’s duties. All events described herein actually happened irrespective of the order the blog was posted. Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them and that the author is not responsible for any assumptions that may arise; to construe from the fact presented is discouraged as the author is still trying to make sense of it. You may do so at your own risk.
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