Scenes from a Life II

It’s early enough in the week that I’m still pretty jazzed. I slept well last night, and I came in early to help unload trucks. Standing in that dark, humid truck with two halogen lamps blinding you from the dock is a great way to kill the time. Things begin to shift and fall on you, the yelling and the cursing and the adrenaline makes the night clench around your heart and demand MORE. The sweat is finally drying on my back. We got the trucks unloaded fast, got those pallets out to the floor. I’m cleaning now, for the inevitable influx of overstock. Sweeping, listening to KJZZ, getting myself centered.

Tick tick tick.

I should talk about this back room some. It’s huge. Empty when all the stock is on the floor. Sounds carry and echo and fuck with you. I ignore this first noise. It could be anything. A mouse eating some garbage out of the compactor, it could be Rosie in the cage doing some more returns, it could be the caffeine and adrenaline making me hear stuff. It could be the sound of my soul being grated away. I don’t really know.

Tick tick tick.

It sure sounds like it’s coming from the truck bays. And we’ve had some loss problems recently. Some of the truck unloaders found that they could drop DVDs down the gap between the truck and the building and then run around and retrieve them after their shift. But all the unloaders should be on their break right now, and it’d be pretty ballsy to go out already. Maybe I should check. I contemplate it as I throw away a couple of carts of cardboard. I don’t really get paid to be an LP guy, they should be watching the parking lot cameras for this shit anyways.

Tick tick tick.

I have put this off long enough. I should just get the keys out of the pallet stacker, and open up that bay and figure out what the fuck is out there. Nobody is going to shoot me over a couple of third-tier DVD’s.

Tick tick tick.

I decide I’m going to throw the fear of god into this thief, I unlock the door and throw it open with a flourish, I may have even started a roar as I did it, but it died in my throat, as my brain struggled to wrap itself around the image before me.

Three of the janitors. Herman, Jose, and Victor, standing in a mockery of American Gothic, one holding a broom upright. All of them with a barely contained snicker threatening to break their composure. Herman, being the shortest, front and center, a Minnie Mouse hat perched upon his head with the name “Sarah” embroidered on it in pink candy floss.

They stood there, unmoving, as my brain recoiled from the situation, and I slowly, mechanically slid the door back down.

Their long, loud, exstatic laughter echoed through the back room, becoming tinny from the high corners and exposed vents. I slid the door back up after a moment, and Herman threw me the Minnie Mouse ears with a wink. He pulled the door back down and admonished me to get back to work in his heavily accented english.

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