Here is another short story with the “New Year” theme.
I am going to add literary quotes to each post from now on, because I thought that would be a nice thing to add.
The Book Deals are for books that are less than 10 dollars.
Expect some works from other writers in the coming month, so you are not stuck with only op-ed pieces and short stories by me.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
– William Shakespeare
Title – Animal Farm
Author – George Orwell
No Resolution – Short Story
Two co-workers sat at a table in the retail store cafeteria during their lunch. Nobody but the two were in the place that sells customers food as they take a break from shopping. The cashier was absent from the register, probably by the dumpster smoking his e-cigarette. The food ready to pick up and go was mostly empty, having no more than a few hotdogs and fries for a customer to buy. The soda machine was just as empty, with only the Diet Coke products being full. If you were to get something other than that, you were getting the last one. The food’s emptiness made for a clean place to eat for the workers, mostly because their presence was the most anybody had been in the place all day.
Both of the guys we meet have the same blackness under their eyes from lack of sleep and overworking, and they both are slightly overweight. Whether that fat is there because of dietary problems of excessive fast food or sedentary lifestyles of excessive sitting is up for debate. It could be that they compound one another. Eating chicken sandwiches and fries leads to them sitting so much. Or do they sit so much because they are eating fast food? Both are bad habits that neither seems all that worried about solving, aside from the occasional comment about losing weight. (that won’t happen) The only thing that got either of them through the workday was the energy drinks they had before their shift, and those are starting to wear off, and they will both need another one in an hour to get through the rest of the day. To make my point on their abysmal appearance clearer, I will mention that neither man has shaved their beards in any capacity for a long enough time that any person who sees them would wonder if they forgot to shave or if that is a new look they are trying.
Pat, the more cheerful of the two, had ordered the last Coke and some breadsticks, which he had to wait 15 minutes to get. His co-worker, Mike, was more interested in ordering the story of his recent fight with another co-worker, Alice.
We pick up the conversation with Mike, and his half red face, and half-grown beard, being done describing it all to Pat. “So, yeah, good thing we are on different schedules cause I don’t think I can stand working with her. She annoys me.” Mike remarked of his frustration in a way that is only acceptable when he is with Pat. “Stupid bitch.”
“Don’t let it bother you.” Pat said as he dipped his breadsticks in the sauce.
Recently Mike and Alice got into an argument over the integrity of their work. As many workplace fights typically go, the back and forth was over trivial matters that, when explained to an outsider, makes the event appear rather pointless. You don’t see the frustration in both of the people’s eyes. You don’t know the pain in their voices. All you hear is that two people argued over where to put some boxes. It was more than that, though, as working together is a two-way team; when one feels that the other is not participating appropriately, that individual is hurting their work. This often brings up inner feelings that people have towards one another but keep to themselves.
When all is fine, there is no point in insulting or hurting someone, but when that person is a perceived destructive force, then a person is more than capable of insulting them with partial truths.
Mike feels that Alice never puts back the customer service items that she is supposed to deal with (according to him). He doesn’t like her, for he feels that she is given credit for being there longer than him by a few years. She thinks that Mike is out of line and spoke rudely to her about it and that she does put back the items when she has to. She doesn’t like how Mike is a selfish worker, not interested in helping anyone but himself.
Both are overworked and underpaid, and when things go wrong, the customers yell at them for their own apparent stupidity. None of these details were brought up in the fight, though, for it would create a harmony that neither sought out.
I am not here to resolve that problem, only to tell you about it, so you know why the one guy sitting at the table was fuming.
The two must realize that in order to work together, they sometimes have to deal with someone that they don’t really like. I am not confident this will ever happen. This is one story that I am more than happy only to be the narrator and not an active character involved.
Pat, the cooler of the two, doesn’t allow Alice’s alleged antics to bother him. Partly because he is not one to worry about such things as Mike is, and he also never worked with her as much as Mike, so he can’t say that he can empathize. His best advice was to avoid her, but that is easy for him to do since he is in a different department than Alice. Mike isn’t so fortunate and will come across the worker again, probably to the same results as before, as both workers believe they are right on this meaningless argument. Their pride is going to create an uncomfortable work environment if it hasn’t already.
“You know I really like their breadsticks. You sure you aren’t hungry?” Pat asked as he continued the only meal he had that day.
“Nah. I’m good.” Mike said.
Pat tried to steer the conversation away from the fight. “They opened up a new Chick-Fil-A around here.”
“Yeah. I saw that.”
For those uninformed, Chick-Fil-A is pronounced as if it is spelled Chick- Fill- Ay, and I am sure that some add an “l” to that third part, pronouncing it as Chick-Fill-Lay. The oddly spelled name is home to a chicken sandwich fast food place that has been captivating the public’s interest in the past year due to it’s delicious items and top-notch service. Ever since the opening, the place has been packed, and interest has only grown since then.
“You ever have it?”
“Yeah. It’s good, but I don’t get the hype for a chicken sandwich.”
“Don’t say things like that. You may get hurt. Some people would give their lives for it. And once they start selling that sauce in retail stores? Forget about it.”
Mike mocked an Italian gangster he saw in the movies. “Hey. Forget about it.”
Pat continued, “That stuff will become like pink gold. The stores won’t be able to keep it in stock.”
“There is a lot of hype around it that I don’t get. I mean, I like it, but I guess I don’t get all the craziness around it.”
“You know my cousin says she won’t eat there.” Pat finished up his last breadstick.
“Is that because of the Sunday thing? They aren’t open on Sundays, right?”
“Yeah. She says it is for political reasons.”
“So she doesn’t like that they are Christians?” Mike stated.
“I mean…” Pat answered, never intending on the discussion to go any further.
“If you are going to not like a place for its religious beliefs, don’t act like it is political. It’s cause they are Christians. Just be honest about it.”
“You shouldn’t dislike a place for their own beliefs, like that, anyway.”
“I wonder if she would be against them if they were a different religion? Like if they were Jews or Hindus?”
“I don’t know.” Pat got up and threw his garbage out in the empty can.
“It begs to question if that stuff really matters. Like does the fact that they are a Christian place affect the sandwich that you are buying? They shouldn’t give you less of a sandwich because of their faith.”
“It shouldn’t. They should give their best food to you regardless of what they believe.” Pat applied his thoughts to all places. “Or whatever service they are giving you.” He sat back down.
They stopped talking to regroup from the energy drinks wearing off, in the empty, unused room where no worker goes and barely keeps track of with the unfilled napkins, the plastic utensils area with only spoons, and the ketchup packs that were mixed with the mustard packs. They both spoke of how a worker should give their all regardless, as they sat in a room of desolation and hopelessness. In a place where any person would walk in and say, “This place is giving their best effort.” Clearly.
“Plus, what if the guy who ran the place was bad.” Mike clarified. “You know, like evil. Should that matter to you?”
“Yeah. What if they were Nazis? You can’t support that.”
“If they were Nazis, they would be NASA.”
“Oh shit.” Pat said of the joke made by his buddy.
“Your cousin doesn’t realize that she is answering a profound philosophical question.” Mike commented on the person he never met.
“I’ll make sure to tell her next time I see her.”
“Or maybe she does understand what she is saying. I don’t know the woman.” He resolved.
In the vacant cafeteria walked in the oldest guy on the crew, Hill, who is responsible for bringing in the garbage carts from outside the parking lot to inside the store. He gets along with everybody, even Alice, for he talks to everybody in the same way, and nobody really takes him that seriously, for his wild rants amuse any around to hear them. His co-workers adore his uplifting personality, as he says hi to everyone he sees, but they all feel he is missing a screw loose in his head, so they are quick to keep their distance from him. He also says “bro” every other sentence, which I am sure infuriates some of his acquaintances.
“Hey, bro.” Hill addressed his co-workers who sat before him.
“Oh, hey Hill. Did you have a good new year?” Mike asked.
“Any new resolutions that you are working on?” Pat questioned half-mockingly.
“Nah, bro. Cause I see through the illusion of the New Year. Of the lies, we are told of it.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, bro. See, the people in the New Year are the same as the ones in the old year. You still you. You still you. I’m still me. One day ain’t gonna change that, bro. You know?”
He went in line and picked up a hotdog and a Diet Coke as he continued to talk to them across the empty room, “See, they want you to believe that the New Year changes you. But I ain’t about that life, bro. I don’t do resolutions. The only resolution I have is the deception I see through.”
He paid for his food to the cashier, who was all of a sudden just there, and continued to talk as the others started to tune him out, “Don’t let the year make you, make the year yourself. You know what will happen next year, my bro? The same thing. You’ll sit and name a resolution that you’ll have, never seeing that the only change you have to make is with yourself, not the year. One day like that shouldn’t change your life.”
The two younger workers have heard this type of rant from Hill before. Just last week, he told Pat that there is a conspiracy about the country’s laws. “Bro, whenever there is a major law passed, they always be a shooting or something. You ever notice that? They pass a law that changes everything right when they talk about a kid shooting up a school. Cause they know that nobody is worrying about that law then. We talk. They pass. And no one knows, bro.” As I said, many give Hill the time, for he could be their grandpa, but none of them take him and his absurd rants seriously.
He stepped over to the table where Mike and Pat were sitting. “Bro, open your mind and see the world for what it is, not what they want you to see. My resolution is not forgetting my own self can be better, not from a day on the calendar, though. You know? Cause then you stepping to their tune. You dancing to their beat. You doing what they want. Not seeing that the change you want is not a calendar date, but from within. A ball dropping from a building shouldn’t change you, bro, you know? Only you can change you.”
The store manager, the least tired of the four, and the best kept, then walked over to the cafeteria entrance and called over to rambling co-worker.
“Hey Hill, we got some extra carts in lot A that need to be brought inside. Mind taking them in?”
“I got you.” He sipped his soda and headed for the exit.
He pointed his half-eaten hot dog at the angry co-worker. “Hear what I say, little bro. Hear what I say.”
The older worker left the cafeteria.
Mike then spoke, “You ever think that Hill isn’t altogether there sometimes?”
“Yeah. I stopped listening to him when he got a soda.”
I forgot to mention that I will probably write up a more detailed post this week about what we are going to add to each post, so keep an eye out on that.
Thanks for reading
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