Monday, September 28, 2009

Corporate Breakdown

He kept checking to see if it was in his pocket. Looking back, his fellow employees will recall that he stroked the left side of his pants often. They’ll also remember frequent trips to the bathroom. After the third trip he simply explained that his stomach was terribly upset and that he couldn’t quite help it. But he never stopped smiling.

Soon he started to sweat.

“Leave me alone, bitch,” he told one of the female baristas after she asked if she could help him. He didn’t shout, but he threw an empty paper cup at her. No one else saw it.

When he started getting gruff with customers, the manager threatened to send him home early and not pay him for the day. He didn’t respond any further than pushing the manager out of the way with his shoulder as headed to the restroom again.

The sweat was running down the sides of his face and catching in his beard. A snotty, Gucci-wearing woman advanced on the register and complained to him that her latte was not in fact soymilk, but skim. At this he picked up the glass tray holding the last remaining bagels and threw it. The tray narrowly missed her head and shattered against the opposite wall.

“Then go somewhere else,” he said calmly as he cocked his head to the side. Everyone in the coffee shop was silent. All eyes were on the bearded employee, who stood like a rock. The woman stormed out and when the manager grabbed his arm to tell him to leave, he punched her in the face. She staggered backwards, her face instantly swelling around one of her eyes.

“Call 911,” she said through tears to the other employer, whose earpiece was slowly sliding off his head. “Call 911,” she repeated louder.

He began to stagger and flail, knocking as much off the counter as he could. Pastries flew about while the unruly employee laid waste to the store. He even tried to over-turn the espresso machine, but it alone stood up to him. Another barista, the only other male inside at the time, confronted him, but he took a pot of steaming water to the face. The doctors would later tell him he would never look the same again.

Having moved into the lobby of the coffee shop, he began over-turning tables and chairs. He kicked at one particular table that would not topple the way he wished and as he did so, he slipped and fell backwards. His head struck the edge of the counter and he did not get up again.

“I’ll need to see the tape,” said an officer as he pointed to a security camera in the far corner of the store. The employee lay dead at the officer’s feet, a ring of blood haloing his lifeless head. He nudged the body with his boot but felt a sensation not like that of flesh. The officer bent down and pulled a nearly empty flask out of the dead employee’s pocket.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Quick One (While He's Away)

The door shook, rattled on its hinges. No answer. The man outside worked his way around to the back, peering in windows as he went. All dark. He slipped his gloved hand into his pocket and pulled out a key. It fit the lock. Inside he crept, careful not to worry about knocking things over. A lamp toppled when his foot hit it as he jumped a sofa. He stormed into the bedroom. No one was there, but...

Sure enough...

He turned and smashed a canvas on the wall with his fist. Back outside he toppled the trash bin and dug around. The man pulled out a to-go box with half of an old salad inside, covered in mold and slime. He threw the salad at the front door and smeared long streaks as gravity pulled it down. And thus he marked them for what they are.

(I want to say thank you to The Who for inspiring the title. I'm back at the blogging gig, and hope to stay that way. I know I've said it before. But I'll try.)