my Ex job
Like I do every year I was trying to earn a little extra income by getting some part-time work as a package handler for one of the big overnight companies. Around the holidays their business triples and they need people to come in between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. and sort packages. As someone who handles his own package quite regularly, it’s right in my wheelhouse.
Honestly, you had to see that comment coming from the second line. I feel bad about having to add it but obvious masturbation humor is also in my wheelhouse. I hope you won’t hold it against the remainder of the story.
I walked in, made my way through the metal detector and got wanded by the rent-a-cop they have working the door. To my dismay there are already about 40 candidates occupying the metal bleachers they set up. Knowing they are only looking for about 35 workers I knew it was time to shine.
I walked between two sets of bleachers and hopped up athletically to the top tier … and somehow cut myself on a piece of metal jutting out.
I tried to play it off as nothing and hoped nobody saw. The woman walking behind me before I launched myself with such prowess then slipped and fell. On a puddle of blood. I guess I’d cut my finger worse than I’d thought. I stuck the finger in my mouth and chivalrously hopped down to help her up … and cut my other hand on the same damn piece of metal. What kind of shoddy workmanship went into their construction? Was there no quality control?
Before I began to search for the “Inspected by #37” label so I could lodge a complaint against the manufacturer of this metallic deathtrap I had to try and stop the bleeding. While the back of the blouse the woman was wearing as I helped her regain her feet initially did a good job it was only a temporary solution. Obviously nobody was going to hire someone who already has a pretty solid workman’s comp claim against them so I jammed both hands into my pockets and sat down quickly.
Almost on cue somebody came out of the back and was making a beeline towards the bleary-eyed rabble huddled around me. Apparently the human trafficking business was also struggling because when Marco from Tropoja started his little introductory speech I saw two Albanian-looking women in the back get nervous and slip out the back. While he was wearing an official-looking jacket from the company his accent screamed Russian mafia or worse.
He brought us to the trucks in back and showed us how they are unloaded and tagged. This work was being done with the same giddy enthusiasm as I’d imagine the men rowing those big Viking ships displayed. Because we were getting the tour I’m guessing the large bearded man with the wooden shield and whip was tucked away out of sight but I was certain he was lurking somewhere, ready to return to his duties of walking up and down the bays encouraging the workers to greater feats of productivity as soon as the tour group was out of earshot.
The little stickers they apply to each package coming off these trucks tell the workers inside which of the next trucks they are destined for. This is where we would come in if we were successful in getting employed there. To this end we were herded in front of tables to take a quick “sorting test.”
Seemed easy enough. Read the first number on the box, grab box, move box to the truck with that same number. The first candidate to do this bore an amazing similarity to Benjamin Buford Blue from the movie Forrest Gump. You might remember him better as Bubba. Not as large but every inch as dumb and after he had posed his 15th question about moving a box from the table to a truck I felt that the field of serious competition had dwindled by one.
I looked down. Blood has seeped through both of my jean pockets. It was my turn to sort. I had only seconds to look back at my decision to keep my injured hands entombed in my pants pockets as a bad one.
The work was easy. I quickly identified the final destination of each box and made short work of delivering them to the correct truck. The problem was the table, the boxes and the path to the trucks ended up looking like a scene from The Walking Dead. You wouldn’t believe how much a few small cuts can bleed. Everything had red hand prints on them. I looked around at the other interviewees and saw the unmistakable “the serious competition has dwindled by one” looks on their faces. Even fucking Bubba.
I think the sight or smell of blood brought back some pleasant memories from Marco from Tropoja though because he told me not to worry and pointed me in the direction of the bathroom.
After I rejoined the group we were herded into a small room to fill out applications. There were five computers set up and Marco assured us that it would take no longer than five to seven minutes for each of us to complete the forms. After that we were free to leave, secure in the knowledge that we would be contacted in a week or so with a decision. My bandaged fingers had stopped bleeding so I was feeling in a good mood and decided to do the polite thing and sink back to the end of the line so as to show what a selfless team player I was.
This was a mistake on the scale of shoving wounded hands into surprisingly-absorbent jean pockets. I’m not sure what my expectations of people seeking menial labor was going into the endeavor but my opinion of mankind in general was to take a beating as each of these fucking retards tried to outdo each other in their complete and utter incompetence in using a computer. If the package handling company had somehow gone back in time and captured a group of terrified men and women from assorted caves back before the invention of housing and deposited them into this room with instructions to fill out these same applications the result couldn’t have been much different.
Bubba was the first to sit down in front of a screen and there he sat slack jawed until I finally had the chance to fill out my application. Which took under two minutes but left the keyboard soaked due to the fact that my heart was beating so hard in frustration at the long wait that the damaged fingers had once again began to fountain out the red stuff. I told them about my prior work experience and that I have a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a good fit for companies like them.
I got up to leave. Bubba was still on the first page. In the amount of time he took to fill in his name I could have hacked into the CIA or repositioned satellites or something similar.
Instead I simply clicked “Apply” and went in search of some bandages.