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Fiction Drama Contemporary

I can’t believe we’re arguing over this. Really there is nothing better I can say. While I sat there I began thinking about all the time I had spent at this place. I began thinking back, back, to everyday that I had worked here in the last three years.

Like the time making the rounds that I got within 20 feet of Ronson, my nose began itching. When I emptied the trash, I had to hold my nose in fact if he sat eating dinner again. The trash cans were ten feet from him, so sometimes I waited until he left the area. He smelled worse than the trash.

Once when I asked a friend of his or perhaps acquaintance that sometimes sat with him why Ronson didn’t seem to shower. He yelled at me and told me that Ronson had just recovered from Cancer. He told me I had no right to call him out for that.

After Ronson had left the store, my fellow team members always asked me to spray down his chair. He smelled like entrails left there for several days. What I think is that Ronson probably is homeless and does not wash his clothes. Maybe he is still depressed about his near death. I learned to just hold my breath when I walked by on my inspection rounds and he occupied his usual seat.

I can’t believe we’re arguing over this. Really I have worked so hard at this job. You should cut me some slack, I thought.

Sometimes I feel almost faint making the rounds after like the time some kid threw up and Randy, our assistant store manager, pointed it out just one minute before my break, I held my breath grabbed some caution signs and went to the back. I walked briskly to the back and filled the bucket on wheels with antiseptic cleanser. I tied plastic bags to my shoes so that I would not pick up any of the kids barf between the treads of my heavy work shoes.

Finally when I finished cleanup and dumping the heavy bucket back I almost ran to the bathrooms to wash up. Where of course both bathrooms were full. So I waited another five minutes. Finally, famished I began to grab my lunch but I noticed my colorful paper bag in the trash. It turned out someone had pilfered my lunch. I can only believe that it was someone dirt poor on our wages.

Every now and then when the bathrooms were entered there was shit all over the walls and there were empty packaging. Usually this happened when the bathroom could not be inspected and someone used it as there respite. I could understand the thievery, but I never understood why they seemed to defecate on the walls.

One team member once told me that someone had climbed up into the rafters from the bathroom and waited until everyone left to shoplift the store. What worried me more was unlocking the door after unsuccessfully trying to communicate with someone. What would I see on the other side. The worst would be finding someone dead.

Sometimes graffiti had been applied when I entered. The worst kind of course is the scratch method where someone leaves there initials with very nasty gauges that are impossible to sand out or cover with paint.

Tom, the store manager, once told me that someone shoplifted our empty milk-bottles and when he confronted the thieves out in their car, they stared at him and then took off. My boss once told this one shop-lifter after catching them, that they are no longer welcome in the store.

The store manager told me a doosey of a story after I had broken one expensive wine bottle while doing my hourly aisle inspection. He told me how his boss had just finished this marvelous stack of bottles about five feet tall when the whole thing came down like dominoes when he touched it.

I hate to say this, but often I can watch a movie and know what the dialog will be. So when I talk with normal people I feel the same way. So I might interrupt before the person is done with their sentence. Of course they don’t like that even when I am right about what they are going to say. They also inevitably tell me that they were not going to say that but that is just a face saving process.

This has made for some doozy of fights. Sometimes I laugh out loud about situations that are very serious, that also makes for a good fight. This fight though is completely stupid.

As I said, I can’t believe we’re arguing over this. Every time that I am about to just relax something is brought up. Oh Max, the trash is filled up again in the front. Oh Max, spill in aisle 2 with broken glass. Oh Max paper towels dispenser broken in meat.

I fantasized being the boss and getting paid a whole lot more. I fantasized about not having to clean up someones drug addled crap in the bathroom. I fantasized a lot.

I stopped in the back, while emptying the trash and I decided to sneak a smoke. In the back of the store where everyone else satisfied there nicotine addiction. Like everyone else the burnt butt leavings were stuck in the crack. Of course the smoke wavered through the open warehouse door and wafted down the hall sometimes into the bathrooms. But as long as an employee didn’t smoke near the front of the store, management was OK with that.

As I said, I can’t believe we’re arguing over this. Everyday can be a new day. So this cannot be the end. They want to fire me just because I nearly killed myself in the trash compactor. Everyone thinks I am too old to handle this job anymore. I just forgot one time to take out the poker. I know that this will never happen again. It didn’t even ruin the poker. When I pulled the poker out it nearly broke my foot. But of course I had my heavy work boots on. I had a bad cold that day and took my cold medicine. So I did not realize how strongly this could affect me.

What can I do to see that this cannot be the last time I work here? I have no place else to go. All my friends are here at the store. This is my last place of refuge. I don’t know how I can convince them but I must. I must assure them that this will force me to concentrate that this has scared me straight. So no need to argue about this.

July 09, 2022 03:17

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1 comment

Betty Gilgoff
16:34 Jul 13, 2022

I enjoyed reading your story Glenn though not sure why you need the font changes. I think the language has enough of an effect. That said, I like the way you develop your character. We get a sense of him and his frustration at his predicament. This story could have easily fit the irrelevant prompt as well.


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