Tuesday, August 4, 2009

First crappy job 4

One, Two, buckle my shoe. Three... uh, Four is below.

I didn’t really sing it, but I heard it with every screeching shuffle as the paper came shooting out the rear of the copier machine. And having something shooting out the rear of something else always made me hesitant to touch it without wearing protective gloves.

I’m not going to give a recap of every day I spent at this job. Really, 365 days of insanity would make you insane and make me an accessory to assisted suicide. I’m just going to stick to the good stuff, (which might mean I WILL be doing 365 days of posts about this - the prosecutors are going to have a field day with me.)

Anyway, most of my time was spent smelling hot toner and piss during the 6 hours of part-time work, until the fifth month when they asked me to become full-time. Then I spent 8 hours smelling hot toner, piss, and shit. Why? Well, the copier stood five paces from the second floor restroom.

Yes, I just put such a lovely verbal image into your minds. You can thank me later.

This particular story still dealt with my early days on the job. Those days spent taping bandages to my fingers from the paper cuts of dead UNRECYCLED trees I smashed onto the copier glass while I pushed the red button to make a carbon copy on more carcasses of pine. I heard screams . . . in my mind . . . past my own screaming.

Background info: My duties were to take the proposals off the bundled projects, copy them, then place the copy on the bundle. Then I had to stuff two types of envelopes.

1: The proposal to prospective clients.
2: The return of the projects to those clients rejecting the offer.

I had to type out mailing labels, yes TYPE, on the old-fashioned typewriter located eight paces from the bathroom. Then I was given a reprieve by working on an actual computer and updating client information. I also had to retrieve past proposals from the depths of Storage Hell for the sales team. My lesser tasks involved refilling the water cooler machine because all the namby-pamby office boys couldn’t lift the water jugs without breaking a fingernail (humph!), refilling the copier, fixing the copier, stuffing folders with promotional flyers, and performing air quality tests by gagging anytime someone deposited the remains of yesterday’s beef burrito into the porcelain tank inside the bathroom.

Let the nightmares come. Don’t fight them.

Well, on this particular day there were an awful lot of strange activities going on. Whispers in the wind spoke behind the palms of hands. On the second floor, besides the Promotions department, there were three other separate offices. One was for, um, I think she (Andrea) worked for the sales department but they booted her up onto our floor because they wanted to keep all the weirdos in one area to make things easier when pumping in the poisonous gas - kill ‘em all at once!

The two other offices were for the executive manager, who worked from home most days, and the assistant executive manager who pretended to work at home while at the office.

More on that later.

On this fortuitous day, I had 50 proposals to copy, about 6 pages each. While high from the toner fumes and grinning at the wall picture of a coastal setting as the people walked down the boulevards pointing fingers at me and laughing, manager Annie ushered me back to her desk for a chat.

Okay . . .

So we talked, about nothing, while everybody else threw glances down the hall at the two office doors. Then both executives walked in, all cheery and saying their hellos, as they strolled up to tech guy Ralph.

“Ralph, can we talk to you for a moment in private?”

Ralph jumped up, all cheery and happy and sneering at me. I can’t understand why my new best friend would give me the evil eye. The three of them hurried along the hall and into the assistant executive’s office. The door closed. Andrea entered the Promotions department and closed this door.

Hmm . . . something weird was going down . . .

I stared at the ventilation grates looking for wisps of white smoke. Everybody in the room was chatting with soft whispers, their facial features fixed in a sappy attitude that made me wonder when the clones had invaded the building. Then everybody went quiet as the door opened.

Two uniformed officers entered. One staked himself by the door, the only entrance into our department. The other lawman proceeded into the room, his eyes fixed on me.


Of course I didn’t scream that. But it always crosses my mind whenever an officer stares at me with that funny look as if he knows I did something wrong and just needs me to confess about it. With me as the only person watching them, everyone else was still sappily chatting or had their heads bent down feigning work. Ralph walked in, grabbed a few of his things and his jacket. Then the officers escorted him from the building.


Well, ever the ones for scandalous gossip (at least in this company) the EXECUTIVES came in and gave us all the lowdown. It seemed as if Ralph wasn’t doing anything to safeguard the computer systems from the Y2K scare, endangering the company servers. Supposedly, it was because he was too busy SELLING DETAILS OF THE BUSINESS CONTRACTS VIA INTERNET TO SOMEONE IN THE LOCAL COMPETITION.

Yeah, that’s an easy way to get yourself fired, and police escorted out the premises to make sure he didn’t take any other secrets.

After the big announcement, a sales associate ascended into our mist and handed me a slip of paper. He needed a contract from the depths of Storage Hell.

I guess it was back to business as usual.

With manager Annie unshackling my chain, I descended onto the first floor and enjoyed the aromatic air fresheners (a.k.a. more bodily odors) from the other bathroom as I clicked on the light and threw open the basement door.

Cobwebs lined the walls at my descent along the creaky steps. A foul wind blew as I rubbed the feeling back into my numb arms. The lone lightbulb brightened the area only near the storage containers and file cabinet. The rest of the large basement was shadowed with no windows. A spider skittered by, paused, and waved one hairy leg.

“Hi, Chucky. How’s it hanging?” I waved back. He shrugged, hefted the rat higher up on his back, and headed home.

I didn’t really mind Storage Hell. The place grew on me by the first day. It was quiet. It was secluded. It was the perfect place to unwind and take a nap.

But I had work to do. I went through the boxes and bundles searching for contract treasure. Then four disturbing noises filled the quiet air.


“Hey, who left the other door open?”



The first click was the door being closed. The second one was the light turned off.

Now, I didn’t like being in Storage Hell. Pitch black. Alone. And possibly locked inside. Using my memory, I started to navigate back toward the stairs, cursing when my hip or leg struck something solid. I kept going until my hand came down onto the wood of the stairwell. Happy, I swung my body around ready for the first step.


Yeah, see, what happened was that I had bypassed the first rail and instead grabbed the second one. So when I swung myself around, I ran headlong into the wall.
Is there another part after this? Hmm . . . regaining consciousness, karaoke, drunken parties, scary mail dude, shopping on company time, my job promotion, the 9 other firings, angry callers, the psychotic sales manager, and of course being doped up on allergy medications for 16 straight weeks where I would faint at my desk at 2:00 every afternoon.

Not to mention I still haven’t said what the company actually does, and why I left.

Sure, why not? I could probably fit everything into one more post, maybe two, when I feel like it. MWHAHAHAHA!


  1. oh fantastic. it just gets better and better. i'm glad at least you lived to tell the horrific tale, lol.

  2. Lime: I might have lived, but I left a little bit of my soul behind in that company. I wonder if I could sue for it...

  3. Eep. At least it didn't kill you. ;)

  4. To quote the Joker, "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stranger."

  5. "365 days of insanity would make you insane..."

    That might be the best line ever!

    (If "I stared at the ventilation grates, looking for wisps of white smoke" doesn't beat it out.)

    And you're going to make us twiddle our thumbs - or something similar - until part four comes out? Woman, you have guts to toy with us so!

  6. Jenna: Ah, but the damage inside the mind...

    Chris: A quote I wholeheartedly agree with - since strange can always be entertaining. BTW- nice suit!

    Suldog: Yes, you must wait! HA-HA! You can't help but return for there was something else at the bottom of the list I forgot to add after the "doped on allergy medication part"...

    "A man having his gentalia licked on by puppies."

    Of course once I reveal this part, you'll know what the company is about - which will be my ultimate shame.

  7. Chucky sounds kinda creepy. But as usual, your writing makes me think I can smell the toner ink and poop. You keep them posts coming, ya hear. This is great suspense. Kudos

  8. Theresa: Thanks! And Chucky wasn't creepy at all. I like spiders... so long as they don't play with talking dolls (Hee-hee, get it? Chucky - talking dolls - movie "Child's Play?" Oh, never mind.)

  9. Still a fun read, Michelle. Keep em coming!

  10. Eric: I'll try, but personally I hate writing series. I have a short attention span... um, what were we talking about?


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