We spend our entire lives getting ready to die.
Prayer makes powerless people feel useful.
It’s odd to me, working for (technically) the fifth largest retailer in the world, yet getting my hours cut back and back week to week, currently at 21. We’re our own company, just flying under a big banner, but we rake in about a million a month (or so people tell me). More than enough to pay me, and the other 300 people that work there at least $350 a week, which is the bare minimum I need to go to school, buy food, take my wife out, and survive in this overpriced city.
Just four eight hour shifts combined with my wife’s income is enough to get by, and currently I don’t mind getting by because that’s all I’ve ever known. And college has filled me with the delusion that there’s a better paying job not far behind the degree (I know it’s bullshit, but it’s a reason to get up). But three seven hour days? I might as well find another job.
Will someone please tell me why it’s so fucking hard to pay people enough money to simply enjoy dignity. It sickens me when companies encourage their employees to collect food or money for one anther, while a couple of people at the top have so much money they could wipe their asses with a roll of hundred dollar bills.
People think the economy’s bad now, in few years people won’t even be able to donate canned goods to each other. What do these companies want us to do: collect from the government. That’s why all these crazy, close-minded, conservative money suckers are really closet Socialists. You can’t be a capitalist business owner and expect the government to buy your employees’ food, but that’s exactly what’s happening.
I often stare at the sky wondering if anyone is staring back.
If the government’s a regulating body, and Republicans are anti-regulation, doesn’t that make them anti-government as well? But if that’s the case, then why go through all the trouble of getting into politics? Oh right, the money and power. Guess that’s why they want less government, but none of them are stepping out of office. Mahatma Gandhi put it best: Be the change you wish to see in the world.
“Don’t you know tanning makes your skin wrinkle, and gives you cancer?” He said while lighting a cigarette.
Chapter One: Two Worlds
All I remember is hands were reaching from everywhere. I was running endlessly through a kaleidoscope of screaming, blood, an orgy of splayed bodies. Cold marble fingers started with my clothing ripping it shred by shred and, naked, they tore me apart while a small person, almost a child, in the distance points and laughs.
An entire week of the same nightmare. Night after night. It always ends just before my alarm goes off. I woke unfazed from the violence, too early in the morning, and went to kitchen to start the coffee. I opened my laptop, pissed, and returned to my tiny kitchen to scavenge through the cabinet for a cup representative of my state of mind. None of them really screamed dark void. Who am I kidding? I use the same cup everyday. Sit at my computer and check the same empty inbox everyday.
No connection. Strange. I paid the bill. That’s the first thing I always think when these things happen. Trained to boil everything down to money. What am I supposed to do without the internet? Go out and drink I guess–that’s what I thought I’d do anyway.
I walked across the room to reset my router. Normally these issues are a simple matter of unplugging the device, and plugging it back in–science! But there was no green light, nor a red. I checked the plug, and nothing. Then the kitchen light died, and the laptop screen went blank. No power. I opened my junk drawer and pulled out a couple of melty ivory pillar candles–haven’t used them since the wake.
Doesn’t matter by the time I’m out of the shower it’ll be light out. Bathing in the dark gives some people the creeps, but I don’t mind it. Halfway though the shower the water turned ice cold. As I dried myself off I noticed it was still dark out. Maybe it was just cloudy. I put my clothes on, ignoring the fact that I felt like I was a thousand miles under the ocean. I peeled the curtains open and peered between the blinds. There she was, hidden behind a thick layer of dark grey clouds. Didn’t know it was supposed to rain. I must be worked up over the nightmares, or the depressing hue of my apartment.
I figured breakfast would turn today around. I grabbed my keys and jacket, opened my front door to an empty black space. As if my apartment had been suddenly and silently thrust into the deepest reaches of the universe. I reached out for a second and quickly withdrew–nothing. What was this? I shut and locked the door, and fell into my old recliner. I had to check the window eventually, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it–I didn’t need to know yet if the world was just washed away.
I sneaked to the door and looked through the peephole–nothing. I grabbed a Miller, and paced around the kitchen, trying to figure out what the hell was happening. What did I do? As I pondered an impossible four story climb down I spotted my phone on the coffee table.
No signal. No nothing. I flipped through hoping I’d downloaded an app that could get me out of here. Then a bar appeared, and with it an incoming call. “Hello…” I said to the soft static on the other side, then the call dropped. I opened the voice recorder, and here we are.
It was time to have a look out the window–it was raining like hell out there–thank Christ. I caught a dot in the distance growing into a small boy riding his bike toward me. I threw the window open and yelled out, “Hey! Heeey!” He didn’t seem to hear me through the sound of the storm, “Heeeeeeey, kid!” He slowed down, and set a foot down while he peered around. “Heeeeey! Up here!” He put his hands over his eyes to shield them, and looked right up at me. I leaned out the window and waved my arms and he held out his hand. A passing car suddenly veered sharply into the boy, throwing him near the road, and his bike in the opposite yard, then came to a halt, its tires half buried in the muddy lawn.
An unusually tall thin man unfolded from the car, opened the trunk, and stood over the boy a few moments before taking his arm and dragging him over. After throwing him in the trunk he stepped into the opened door, and looked up at me. I couldn’t see his face, but I felt his stare. Then he was gone.
People talk about Obama and his “liberal agenda” like he’s tearing the fabric of America to shreds, and leaving us with no future as a nation, when in reality he’s just taking care of shit that should have been done decades ago before the crazies got into office. He’s not that liberal, very few politicians are actually progressive by my personal standards. If I were in office the Republicans wouldn’t even bother forcing a deadlock–they’d just pay someone to shoot me.
I good friend of mine recently returned from Africa, and is back at work. Since her arrival people haven’t bombarded her with the usual: how was the trip, did you get the shits, was your school project a success? Instead people have been asking: has civilization finally found its way over there, or you actually ate their food? I did my best to console her, and told her about my own experience, when my sister was getting ready for her stay in Africa, and my dad called me for advise: “I really want to buy her a laptop, I’m just afraid one of those savages is going to throw a spear through it.” He was serious, that’s what was really bothering him (he doesn’t know what he’s saying is wrong). I told him what I tell all these people who’ve never left the state they born in. It’s the same shit all over the world, being perfectly honest, in a lot a places it’s fucking better. People in Africa aren’t poor starving people with chicken bones through their noses. All that dumb shit you watch in TV isn’t real. They have cellphones, hospitals, schools, streets, cities, Starbucks, all the shit we have. Sure, there are tribes that choose to live in nature like their ancestors did, and that’s respectable and honorable, and much better than the crazy hicks we have living in the mountains with shotguns waiting for the apocalypse.
After five years of working grocery, one thing is clear: people don’t know a goddamn thing about the food they’re eating.