Payphone

“Hey, how long you work here?” said the hurried man.

“Why?” I shot back.

“Because I wanna ask you a fucking question, that’s why.”

“Okay.”

“Is there a payphone around here, where’s a payphone?”

What I wanted to say was, piss off, I haven’t seen a payphone since the last time I saw your mom, a decade ago. “I think there’s a payphone on the other side of the store,” I said.

“In the store? Jesus Christ, payphones are outside, they’re not inside the goddamn store.” Then he looked at me like I was the idiot and walked away.

If I could go back in time to that exact moment, I have a feeling it would have gone much differently.

0 0 0

“Hey, how long you work here?” said the flushed, rushed man.

“Why?”

“Because I wanna ask you a fucking question, that’s why.”

“Look, asshole, do I come to your place of work, pull out my dick and piss in your face? No, I don’t.”

“Fuck you. You stack fruit for a living! What’s your name? Where’s customer service?”

“Name’s suck my cock,” I pointed to the outline of my mine through my pants. “Go, complain, they’ll promptly file it under ‘Garbage’.”

“I’m going to find a fucking payphone and call your corporate office. Hopefully, they’ll fire your ass. Hahaha, I have you now you, you little fuckwad, he was probably thinking.

“Okay, wait…no,” I fell to my knees and cried out to the produce, “Noooo!” I screamed to a doomed existence illuminated by blinding LED lights overhead, “Don’t call my corporate lords!”

“What the fuck,” the man asked, squaring off with me, poised like a crazed badger.

“Fool. You really believe anyone of any minuscule importance to the company is going to speak to some asshole asking around for a payphone? Normally, they’d buy you off with a $20 gift card, but you’d need an address for that.”

“You. Fucking…” he huffed. A faint glow enveloped him and his shoes began to simmer and burst which sent blood, steel, and wire deep into the green tinged concrete floor. His torso transformed from sweat and fat into a payphone wearing skin with keypad button eyes and his mouth narrowed into a vertical slot for quarters which squealed out a metallic, “How about I just bury you here, produce guy. Ha ha, hahahaha! Ahh, ha ha ha!”

He swung his arms, now thin cords with enormous phones connected to the ends, into our fruit bins. Galas, Fuji, and Cara Caras collided in a kaleidoscope of grapes and yams flying in all directions. The customers, who’d been mindlessly walking in circles until that very moment, panicked and screamed as they trampled one another for the doors. There was a flash in my peripheral, he caught me off guard in the panic, bringing his right phone down hard. I dodged, but the sharp blast mutilated my left side.

I rolled right, just behind the berry case and stood hard on my feet as the monster raised both phones high. Its intent to kill me was clear. I had just one chance, “Green banana, soft apples’ power, rotting onion’s will entangle—spell of binding number 58.” I looked like a starfish in midair with blue bio-plasma raging from my limbs. Concentrated grocery magic from the secret books of Moses swelled up and burst out of me, snapping my limbs together like a binder clip. A soft hum crept from under the ceiling cameras with a rising beat, and then the crescendo of lightning swirled down the pillars around us. The hellish payphone screamed and collapsed backward as the second floor came down on him, pinning his arms to the ground.

The giant began choking up rubble as I neared it and stood over it and said, “If you would have just asked nicely I would have let you use my phone.” I brought my produce knife above my head and drove it into the keyhole that secured its quarters.

It coughed and gurgled, “God…goddamn you, produce boy. You think you’ve won?” Blood oozed from its mouth and buttons, “This, ‘his is just the start. You beat me, but more are on their way—they, they’re already here…” I twisted my blade and broke the lock, and the demon let out a piercing cry as change and acid charged up from its bowls, melting it into the foundation.

 

 

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Genesis 2:4-3:24 KJV

The Story of Eve and Adam

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a woman to till the ground.
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
And the Lord God formed woman of the dust of the ground, and breathed into her nostrils the breath of life; and woman became a living soul.
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the woman whom he had formed.
And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the Lord God took the woman, and put her into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the woman, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the woman should be alone; I will make her an help meet for her.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Eve to see what she would call them: and whatsoever Eve called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Eve gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Eve there was not found an help meet for her.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Eve, and she slept: and he took one of her ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from woman, made he a man, and brought him unto the woman.
23 And Eve said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: he shall be called man, because he was taken out of Woman.
24 Therefore shall a woman leave her mother and her father, and shall cleave unto her husband: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the woman and her husband, and were not ashamed.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the man, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the man said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the man, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the man saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, he took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto his wife and with him; and she did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Eve and her husband hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the Lord God called unto Eve, and said unto her, Where art thou?
10 And she said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the woman said, The man whom thou gavest to be with me, he gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the man, What is this that thou hast done? And the man said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the man, and between thy seed and his seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the man he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy wife, and she shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Eve he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy husband, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Eve called her husband’s name Adam; because he was the father of all living.
21 Unto Eve also and to her husband did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the woman is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest she put forth her hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the Lord God sent her forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence she was taken.
24 So he drove out the woman; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Song of Solomon

The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine😚😉.
Because of the savour of thy good ointments😉 thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
I am black, but comely😩, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions😖😓?
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids🍕🍟 beside the shepherds’ tents.
I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots.
10 Thy cheeks are comely😉 with rows of jewels💎💎💎, thy neck with chains of gold.
11 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
12 While the king sitteth at his table🙇, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
13 A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night👉👌 betwixt my breasts.
14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.
15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.
16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green😕.
17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters😛.
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste😋😉😆.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples🍎🍎: for I am sick of love😒😓.
6 ✋His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me🖐.
I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please😩.
The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains✈, skipping upon the hills🚌.
My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice😁.
10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away😉.
11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone☔;
12 The flowers appear on the earth🍄; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land😐;
13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell😉. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs😕, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes🍇🍆.
16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies🍑😉.
17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether❤💕💖.

Meat Department

If anyone needs more reasons to avoid eating meat, other than how it’s contributing to water scarcity and climate change—I offer a glance through a distant window, a fading illumination on why you might consider avoiding the average grocery store meat department altogether.

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Dates are a big problem in the grocery realm. People who don’t work at grocery stores think they need to trash their food if they don’t eat it by the date stamped on it. Those of us who share the misery of this special cog in the food machine know that the dates aren’t very honest. One meat cutter referred to this constantly as the “gray zone”. Just because a steak turns brown, or green, or needs a tumor cut out of it doesn’t mean it’s inedible, which is why any meat-cutter who can manage a budget is going to cut the nastiest bits off a green rubber steak, soak it in a marinade, and put it back in the case.

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The first meat manager I worked for would rub the dates off the plastic coating around expired meat with rubbing alcohol. If a manager cared enough to inquire, the excuse was easy: manufacturer forgot to stamp a date, happens all the time.

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My last manager, we’ll call him Asshole, had a favorite saying, “Blood on my knife or shit on my dick.” The last time we spoke he had a wife who felt the need the enlarge her breasts, two daughters, and openly joked about raping the women who worked in the department. To Asshole, people were no different than meat and all meat meant to him was money.

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On a few occasions, we received live crawdads, but never with any means of containing them, so we just let them crawl around the sectional seafood case with the cooked and raw food.

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Aging meat is an art enjoyed by many connoisseurs across the world. We charged a modest $21 per pound for an “aged” rib eye steak. Asshole decided that walking another ten feet to store product in the proper cooler wasn’t worth his time and began keeping everything from marinated chicken to veggie kababs behind what was easily $4000 worth of rib eye for “quick access”. Every time Asshole opened the door a thousand microbes, bacteria, viruses, and mold, metals, cleaners, whatever happened to be in the air, rushed in to contaminate your overpriced steak.

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One morning casual conversation with the seafood manager got him on a tangent about sockeye salmon eyes being considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. And in the moment, he reached down and took hold of the salmon I was about to fillet, jabbed his thumb into its eye socket, and plopped the exploded bits of slimy darkness in his mouth and happily exclaimed, “Mmmm, salty!”

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Asshole ordered too many boxes of ground beef a few weeks before he transferred to a different level of Hell. Fresh ground beef is typically pre-ground at a different facility and stuffed in a plastic casing like a sausage. They’re boxed up and shipped to us to regrind at the store. The “gray zone” is a little less cloudy with ground beef because it’s terrible. It’s the only thing in the store that gets logged every time its ground, and if someone forgets to log it more than three times they’re typically fired. So what does one do when they order too much? Grind it anyway and enter a false date into the record. Could it hurt people? Hopefully, not. Is it legal? I really don’t think so. But, when you rip the labels off the boxes nobody can really prove you did anything wrong. Asshole’s assistant took over after he left and was fired a year later for trying to do the same thing.

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A clerk was laughing and chatting with a customer across the seafood counter. He concluded her order and said goodbye, and as she walked away he turned to all of us and said, “check this out” pointing down at his sizable erection.

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The secret ingredient in our holiday ham is corn syrup solids.

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I was rubbing my arms in the chill of the cooler one morning when the meat grinder screamed and gurgled to a halt. I unplugged the machine, opened the hopper lid and dug through all the portions of beef that can’t be fashioned into some over-simplified, streamlined, consumerist driven steak and found a nylon cutting glove.

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I’m not calling anyone a cannibal, but it’s not uncommon for someone to cut themselves and not realize it until they’ve bled all over a good deal of equipment—or cut through—and lose a small chunk of a finger. Very rare. But they’re not going to throw away 20 pork chops because a sliver of someone’s finger might have fallen into the batch.