September 4, 2011

Clean Up on Aisle 10

I'm going to do something a bit unprecedented for me and start with a P.S. so here goes... I wrote this story three years ago today. It was a creative writing assignment and the following transpired from what we were given to write about which was Aisle 10 of a supermarket. This is that story. An oldie but a goodie, so without any further delay, enjoy.


“Will, Clean up on Aisle 10.” the voice crackled again. “You have got to be kidding me.” I mumbled to myself. I never understood how people could come in and mess up the store so many friggin’ times a day! I just don’t understand it, I really don’t. God, I hate people. Were people brought up in a barn? Honestly! OK, now I understand accidents happen, shit happens, you know? But they can’t possibly happen more then twelve times a day and in the same place! It’s unheard of. But no, they can and they do, at least here they do.

I sighed heavily as I walked slowly to the back of the store, to go to the mess closet to grab a mop and bucket. I hate these walks. The slow, agonizingly, painful walks. It seems like a life time walking to the back of the store, especially when you have the customers stare at you with their dead fish eyed glances. It’s a walk of shame, of degradation. I hate people, how they’re always staring at you, judging you, thinking that they’re better than you. Having your name called out to go clean up someone else’s mess is absolutely humiliating! Oh, and the boss loved calling me out, he friggin’ hates me, I know it. My boss is an Asshole, with a capital A! I don’t know why really, but he just gets a kick out of humiliating his workers. He treats us like indentured servants and everyone else who works here knows it.

I don’t know when the man lost his Soul; he’s just a jerk I guess. Part of me, admires him I guess, he doesn’t take shit from anyone, I guess that’s admirable. But then again, what the hell do I know. I’m twenty years old and still working at the Pic’ n’ Save and I’m attending community college. He attended community College; he worked here, now he’s the store manager. Maybe I hate him because I know that I’m probably going to end up just like him. Hell, I’m already half way there, I am jaded enough, but I guess it’s my fault. It’s what I get for working for my father… yeah… I work for my father, God, how I hate him.

My father is a fat greedy slob, with his hair greased over his balding spot on his head. He really has the worst comb over ever! But, he is greedy though, God, I tell you, he actually filed lawsuits against the beggars and homeless who look for handouts in front of the store as well as those who steal the grocery carts, because they put their only possessions in them, as well as collect cans on the side of the road to try to earn very little money for a tedious amount of work. They’re literally making change and my Father calls the police. He always told me, “It’s for their own good son, they need to wake up and realize that nothing can be handed to you, you have to earn it! They should clean themselves up and get jobs and earn an honest living! I’m performing a civil service to the hard working upper class, who want to purchase food, they deserve it! They’ve earned he right, because they have jobs.” How pompous! But if I argued he would only make me work harder in the store. Such as Aisle clean up.

I finally arrived to the mess room and filled the bucket and rinsed the mop. I slowly walked to Aisle 10, the canned foods Aisle. I despise that Aisle, the disgusting smells of spilled formaldehyde. That’s what it smelled like to me. Every time I get to the aisle I swear I want to vomit. I try to cover my nose in a sad attempt to avoid the horrid stench of spilled food over and over again. The smells just pile up during the day, largely due to the fact that the floors only get waxed at night. Which the poor old Janitor, Jerry, has to do every night. My dad the wonderful man that he is, never gives Jerry the night off, and I think Jerry has been working longer than my dad has! It’s sad he’s eighty something and can’t retire. I mean what could he possibly retire on. It’s not like my dad pays him a whole hell of a lot!

I make my way down to the aisle and try to avoid as many fish eyed stares as possible. The looks of disgust on their faces, like this what I deserve to be doing, like this is my lot in life, like I some how chose this dead end job. I didn’t have a choice! My father never gave me an allowance or any money of my own, growing up. If I ever asked him for anything, I always, always, got the same response. “Get a Job!” He’d tell me. “Get a Job.” I was four and wanted a tricycle like the rest of the normal kids in the neighbor hood. They were lucky. People will never understand how lucky they are. The way they look down at the beggars as they walk past them when they enter the store, like they’re diseased or something, like they have leprosy. Or the way they look down at the workers, such as myself. Hell, even Jerry, the Janitor.

I always admired that old man; he is still kind and gentile to people, even though they treat him so crudely. People are Philistines! Perhaps that’s the reason I hate people so much. They’re rude and selfish. Such as the people who live in my apartment building, blaring their terrible music at all hours of the night, throwing loud parties. So I complain, and I’m the bad guy! Maybe that’s why they never invite me over, or the fact I love to slam the door on the way to work every morning. God, I hope that wakes them up! It’s what people like that deserve. People just have it so good I guess they don’t understand how lucky they have it.

I made it down Aisle ten, where there was a smashed jar of pickled pigs feet on the ground. The stench was horrendous! “Pigs feet, again.” I mumbled. I looked up and down the aisle to see if there was anyone there that may have done it. Alas, it was desolate. Truthfully it was probably someone’s baby brat throwing a temper tantrum. I love how kids get off completely for misbehaving, it never mattered how old I was, and I always had to behave respectably in public. How I resent parents who can’t teach their kids proper manners. Maybe it’s because the parents themselves are spoiled as well. Perhaps it’s because it’s not their store, and they know some one else will just clean up their mess for them, such as myself, just like I am now. It’s depressing to think about. I looked down at the pickled pigs feet and it reminded me of the fetal pigs we had to dissect in tenth grade biology. It made me want to vomit, the smell, the look, and the texture it was revolting, all cold and clammy!

As I picked up someone else’s mess I caught something out of the corner of my eye. I bright red piece of paper had been brushed under one of the shelves. I had almost missed it. As I bent over and picked up the paper, I immediately recognized what I had picked up. It was a lottery ticket! Some one had dropped it; they must have purchased it at the front of the store. It was a scratch off, which had already been scratched off, Trash, I thought, but no. It was a miracle in the form of paper. It was a winner! It was worth, ten million dollars! I couldn’t believe it! I screamed out loud and jumped for joy! It startled every one who was in the store; it was so loud I swore it shook the rafters! I walked up proudly to the counter where I could redeem the winnings, which my father ran personally and as I walked up to the counter, he looked at me puzzled and asked gruffly, “What do you want?” I looked at him with a sly grin and handed him the paper and said boldly, “My last paycheck, ‘cause I quit!”

By now I’m sure anyone would have taken the cash and blew it all on fancy merchandise but not me, to stick it to my father as a personal touch I bought the vacant property across the street from the Pic’ n Save and I opened up a soup kitchen for the homeless and I work with meals on wheels to help those unfortunate souls who couldn’t afford to buy groceries, from the rich mans store, the evil Pick n’ Save! Not only that, but I pay one of my workers here, my new Janitor, Jerry. And you know what, we have never been happier. So I suppose it will be daddy dearest who will be waxing the floors from now on! I suppose I owe him, and Pic’ n’ Save, but really I owe it all to Aisle ten! So, Thank you, Aisle ten!

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