I’m not a fiction writer. I mean, what is this stuff? Memoir? Autobiographical spew? It’s the only stuff that has any worth to me though, the only thing that I can dedicate myself to. Post-currentivism: taking what we’ve learned and growing through that knowledge, because a person can’t be writing all the time; a good life worth writing takes a little living.
So I get up out of bed. It’s difficult, but the snoozing schedule keeps sounding. There is a box of oatmeal on top of my computer. Musette has left it there for me. She has also sent me a text saying, your a strong kid. I married the most amazing man I’ve ever met. You amaze me everyday how kind, loyal and dedicated you are. Everything beautiful reminds me of you.
We are out of schmig juice and my nose is still running. My cough has turned dry and painful. I make coffee and use the leftover kettle water to make the oatmeal. We had oatmeal last night. All our bowls are now cemented. It takes some work getting one clean.
I don’t shower. I don’t care enough. I’m not stinking. I’m wearing the shirt with the lion or phoenix on it. I exit the apartment and start walking. When I get to work, the lady boss calls, the boss’ girlfriend, Linda. She tells me that there are a couple of packages in the store, one containing an e-juice display and the other being for the coffee shop.
We’re not doing that anymore, she says, taking packages for them.
Fine, I tell her. I won’t take any.
Also, she says, there is a package that needs to be shipped. It is one of the Scrat squirrel pipes. Will you ship that for us? And make sure to use a lot of bubble wrap.
There’s no bubble wrap here, I say. Would you like me to go get some more from the basement?
She says that would be fine and asks if I know where the keys are.
I do. They are in the box.
That’s right. So feel free to get it. Just go downstairs. Turn left. And then another left. Around our room down there. Past the light. And then turn right. You’ll see all of the bags.
Aye aye, captain.
I hang up, put my coat on, lock the store, get the keys and unlock the padlock that is blocking a sliding bolt that is keeping the basement door closed. I have to pull hard at the door because it is very tightly wedged into the frame. It opens into a dark stairway. The lights don’t work so I have to use my phone’s flashlight to see. It’s all cement and wood beams down there. There is a single light hanging from the ceiling in one of the corridors. The room has couches in it. I’ve never been in the room before. There is a computer that is on in the middle of it. I enter the room and approach the screen. Six camera angles are displayed. Live action footage of the store. One angle right above the desk.
I head back into the hallways and find the plastic bags full of bubble wrap. I take one upstairs and lock the door to the basement back up behind me. I drop the keys back into the mailbox and re-enter the store. Using a single sheet of bubble wrap, I wrap the Scrat pipe and pack it in a box. I will ship it come two when all the suspension school kids are released.
I open the box of vape juices. Inside is another box that is covered in Space Jam insignia. Inside that box are t-shirts, a hoodie, stickers, a cardboard display case, coasters, one big coaster, a window sticker, juices, and a flip book of flavor profiles.
I set the cardboard display up. It requires a lot of folding. Wack job origami. I don’t put the juices into it because I don’t know what price we are supposed to be selling them at. I just set the display case on the counter above the American glass and put the juices back in the box.
The only other thing that I take out of the box is the large coaster which I set on the glass on top of the bongs. It is useful for displaying product on as it helps minimize glass on glass contact.
I close the box and get to work promoting the store online. It has become one of my primary tasks. Come two o’clock, I lock the store and head to the shipping store. The woman who usually works there is not there. It is a fat jew whom I have never met that is working today.
Do you want tracking, he asks me after I’ve handed him the package.
I tell him that I do.
That’s more than I usually pay. I take the twenty that I had taken from the till out of my back pocket and put it on top of the box.
Another jew comes in. The two of them talk in their language. The one who just came in has taken a bag of food from a rotary rack and is now eating out of it.
The jew behind the counter gives me my change and a receipt with the tracking number. I leave the shipping store. On my way back to the shop I stop into the deli and buy a box of trash bags. They only cost a dollar. While I am paying for them a young girl puts something on the counter accompanied by a dollar bill.
Does this cost a dollar, the man behind the counter asks.
The girl tells him that it does and the man tells her good day and then the man gives me my change and tells me good day.
I open back up the store and continue working.
Somebody calls. I answer the phone. It is a man who tells me that he had tried placing an order online but that it didn’t work.
That’s weird, I say. Did you try more than once?
He tells me that he didn’t.
I can let my bosses know and they can take a look at the site.
The man asks me if he can just make his order over the phone.
I’m trying to buy this turtle chillum, he says. My girlfriend loves turtles. She had the chillum but I broke it last night. I looked everywhere for it and found that you guys have it. I’m really desperate to get this order placed. I haven’t even told her that I broke it yet.
I tell him that I can take the order. I take his credit card information, his address, and his email.
What about shipping, he asks.
I tell him that I didn’t include shipping even though I probably should have.
He thanks me and hangs up.
I hurry and package the order. I want to get it shipped as quickly as possible because of its unorthodox nature. This forces me to go back to the shipping store. The lady who usually works there is there now but she is not behind the counter. It’s the fat jew again. He takes the package. I tell him that it is going regular mail and that I want tracking.
3.25, he says.
That’s more like it.
How are you, I ask the woman who usually works there.
She tells me that she is fine.
That is good.
I go back to the store and email the turtle chillum pipe guy the tracking number. The fat jew who is my friend comes in. He is only buying two glass screens today. He lost the one he bought the last time he was in. He tells me that he loves the bong that he got last time. I tell him that I am very glad. Very relieved. I wish that he would invite me over to smoke out of it but know that even if he would I wouldn’t be able to because Musette would either be on her way to pick me up or waiting for me at home.
He leaves and my she boss calls.
Did you open that package, she asks.
I tell her that I did, and that I set up the display, but that I didn’t put out the juices yet because I don’t know how much they cost.
Did you ship the package, she asks.
I tell her that I did.
Good, she says, hanging up.
Hank comes in. He is replacing me. He always comes in early. He has a sandwich that smells great. All I have had to eat today was the oatmeal that I made earlier. Hank had called me last night to take over his shift last night because he has not been feeling well.
Are you feeling any better, I ask.
He tells me that he is but that Linda might be coming in to take one hour of his shift.
I count my money, paying myself ninety dollars for the day’s work and the work I did at home yesterday, and then I leave. Musette is already home. She said that she would meet me halfway but she doesn’t respond when I text her letting her know that I am off. She calls after I am already halfway home telling me that she got too comfortable sitting in front of the heater.
It’s fine, I tell her. You deserve rest.