human slave., a short story by Eleanor Nightengale. Date added: 2012-05-24. Times viewed: 472.
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alarm suddenly awakens me. i take just one quick glance.
3:00am. great, time to get up. i hit the snooze button and roll over..."beep beep". i turn it off and roll off my mattress, lightly falling on the floor. I get to my feet and start walking to the bathroom. My friends and family find it weird that a 37 year old woman still sleeps on a mattress on the floor. what can i say? old habits die hard. it does cause an awkward moment when i bring a date home, but most guys don't care when they know they'll get laid.
i finish getting dressed. i start brewing my morning cup of coffee (mixed with some evans). i eat my horrible excuse for a breakfast, cake and ice cream, breakfast of champions. the beginning of each day. the days i'm off i just start later.
4:30am. i make a to go cup (topped off with more evans), lock the door, light a cigarette, and drive off. believe me twenty years ago i would have told you i would kill myself if i was a manager at McDonald's by age 27, shit now i'm 37. you have to make money right?
i arrive at work a little early, i unlock the doors and start getting things ready. i hate opening or closing. its the worst time of the day to work. slowly other people arrive, with their sad dull faces. they probably hate their lives, and i don't blame them. i understand their pain.
6:00am. store is open.. our first customer arrives not even three minutes later. do they sit in front of the store waiting for us to open? at least their order is simple, coffee, bagel, hashbrowns. already i get the feeling its going to be a long day.
10:00am. work has already picked up, here is our first rush. everyone knows what to do. McDonald's trains their workers the way the army trains their grunts, you either get it or you're gone. everyone works together, we work quickly, but even the customers see the despair in our eyes. we're the ones who didn't finish high school, dropped out of college, single mothers, recovering addicts. We're the ones they hope to never be. Many customers give us shit just for that fact.
12:00pm. shift change. i like my morning crew best. they've been broken by life/society already, so they don't question me. as the day goes on the crew gets younger and more spoiled. thank god i'm only opening today.
2:00pm. i get off in an hour, i am thankful considering how busy it is for a tuesday, and all my morning crew is gone. our store has the highest turnover rate*, so i don't know the last two crew members that have arrived. strangely enough i put them in their places, one at a register, the other in the hole*, and they both know what to do. we're one little brainwashed group, just work, don't stop.
*turnover rate-the amount of people who quit and are hired (so if its high, most people don't stay longer then a month).*hole-the first drive through window, which you give the person the money}
"ring ring" the phone brings me back to reality. "hi thank you for calling Your McDonald's, this is jennifer speaking, how can i help you?"
"jennifer it's matt", my store manager,"i'm sorry to tell you but mandy just quit, so i need you to stay and close. no one else can work that shift."
"but i opened today, i'm about to hit overtime."
"i'm sorry, we've all had to do this before."
i hang up the phone. i grab a cup and fill it with coke, i go to the office, grab my cigarettes and my flask. "i'm taking a cigarette break", i yell as i walk out the door. i don't want anyone stopping me. i open the gate to the dumpsters, plop myself down next to the one that doesn't smell as bad. i fill my coke with some evans and light a cigarette. is this how its going to be forever? is this what i settled for? i could have finished college if i wanted to. no use regretting, better off forgetting. forget you once had your life together, forget you lost your husband, forget you're back in your home town that you swore you'd never return to. i decide to smoke another cigarette, they'll give me a break.
5:00pm. i now have all teenagers as my crew, high school students just now getting out of class. most never have had a job, only one of the workers, jamie, is a hard worker. the rest usually stand around and wait for someone to tell them what to do. the worst part about this shift is its the busiest time of the day and no one knows what to do. this is the time of the day that will make or break you. many teenagers crack under the stress and walk right out during their shift. its easy to do that when you don't have bills and mommy and daddy are paying for everything.
7:00pm. my closing crew is slowly arriving. i knew this day wouldn't end without more drama.
"hi this is Your McDonald's this is jennifer speaking how can i help you?"
"jennifer its brittney. i can't come in tonight."
"your shift starts in thirty minutes and you're now calling in? i'll have to write you up."
"go ahead i think i'm gonna quit anyway."
"alright you're fired."
"you can't do that, you aren't the store..."
i hang up the phone. spoiled bitch. i start making calls trying to find someone to cover her shift but obviously no one answered. i start putting everyone in their places. jamie is second window, derek will cook, sue front counter, and now i work the hole. i make myself another drink.
i enjoy our headset conversations, the cook and both drive through workers get a headset, which you can talk to each other and hear the customer order. we usually just talk shit about rude customers, or make dirty jokes. time just drags on in the hole. eight customers come through but only thirty minutes go by.i wish i could smoke here. i need nicotine. my drinks keep getting stonger and i can feel my speech start to slur. everyone i work with can tell i've been drinking, but they don't have the nerve to say anything. they know i'll snap. they know this is what happens to bitter people, they start a habit, and for me it's alcohol.
9:30pm. the drinks were almost pouring themselves, i can now tell i'm drunk. i'm gone. even the customers can tell. i'm fucking up orders, and people are complaining. "your total is $5.72."
the customer hands me $6.00, i grab his change, then it hits me. i can't stop it. i start throwing up right there. i hear the change fall, and the customer is gagging. i finish voimting and walk to the office. i light a cigarette, lock the door and i lay against the safe.
this isn't what i want.
i hear everyone outside yelling, trying to figure out what happened. then somone yells, "ew thats so gross." well they found my puke. i put out my cigarette, and called matt.
"you should send a manager to close. i quit."
"what do you mean you quit? you have nothing..."
i hang up grab my purse and start heading for my car. i'm done with this place. i start my car and pull out of the parking lot, never to return again.
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