The time is 20:58.

The aisles of the supermarket are silent. Canned music plays over the speakers. A cold night pumped full of artificial air. Nothing to do. Nothing to do but to wait to go home, or to die. Whichever would come sooner.

The time is still 20:58 and I am sat on the floor, working packets. I push them to the floor just to pick them up again. I do this several times over. It is still 20:58.

There is a child screaming in my ear. It is wearing a pink coat with orange shoes. A terrible combination. Someone should just kick it. I wish someone would kick it. Why won’t somebody kick it? It screams in my face and the parents move to the next aisle. It is still 20:58 and the child is still screaming.

Outside the cool night air embraces those who are living. I am sat on the floor surrounded by packets of underwear. I knock some more on the floor. I will work until I die. This task will accompany me to the end of my life. Hundreds of packets of underwear everyday for eighty years. A worthwhile existence. It is still 20:58.

My shift would end later and I would go home, eat a chicken cob, and go to bed. Then I would wake up and come to work and sit on the floor and tidy packets.

My buttocks had become numb. So had my brain.

I looked at the clock. The time was 20:57.


20 thoughts on “Drudgery

  1. “There is a child screaming in my ear. It is wearing a pink coat with orange shoes. A terrible combination. Someone should just kick it. I wish someone would kick it. Why won’t somebody kick it?”

    God, I must have that thought every time I leave the house and actually venture into the masses of supermarket humanity. You capture the feeling so perfectly.


  2. I’m here from the ‘leave a comment’ thread and boy am I glad I’m here, great post-really dark and interesting. It seems so simple but so effective and I, well, just really like it ha


    1. It would have been more interesting if she had done! Unfortunately since I have now moved jobs I doubt I shall ever see her again. Well… apart from in the ‘crime’ section of the local paper, of course!


  3. Hope you had an orgasmic New Year! I’ve not long come back from Brighton, I feel like death, although I’m 180 quid up from the casino so that means I can put off job searching for another week huzzah!


    1. I ended up drinking cider and listening to Mindless Self Indulgence all on my own… so it was actually pretty good! Glad you had a good time in Brighton. You almost have enough to buy me a llama now!


  4. This puts me right back into the memory of taking the train to go serve hot dogs in the station shack all day, being blanked out by the customers, then clean up and take the train right back. Same again next day. Not going anywhere, ever. Thankfully I escaped that one too before it drove me mad – I won!


  5. OMG!! I actually worked at that very same job… for about all of two weeks… right out of college before I found a much nicer job cooking at a restaurant.

    I absolutely hated those night shifts… kept hoping for something… anything to happen just to end the boring monotony of it all. Zombie Apocalypse… fire… hold-up… anything…. just to keep me from losing my mind.

    You’ve captured the horror of it all perfectly in words…. (Now… we shall never speak of it again…. Hehehehe!! ;) )


    1. Ha ha! I’ve been there for three years, but as I graduated in July I have since found something less ‘stick-a-fork-in-my-eye’-ey. I’ve also known the bizarre logic in hoping for a zombie apocalypse. It’s nice to know someone else has had the same thoughts!


    1. I’m back at my new job from tomorrow. There’s no screaming children, but there is the stress of making thousands of cups of tea for dangerously thirsty office staff. Still, it’s better than sorting underwear.


  6. Time does go backwards at work. Or does its best to, for most of your shift, till eventually the inevitable march of time takes over and your shift finally ends. And you have to go home, silently crying, because you can’t be back at work until your next shift.


    1. This is very true… I would live there if I would, and I would sleep under the confectionary, using the overstock of car de-icer as a pillow.

      In reality though… Happy New Year trailertrashdeluxe! :)


  7. lol, Packets


    That outfit makes me think of this outfit my dad was wearing years ago, when I was visiting him at his home in Arizona as a teenager… He walked in the room and he was wearing a light pink shirt, bright green pants, light yellow socks, and blue shoes… It was a Fricken nightmare, lol

    Great Clarity in this Tale… Captivating, and Hypnotic… As usual… No matter what misery you Create, you shall never be alone… You always have us, the Readers with you, lol

    Suffering… Enjoying… Or whatever thing you choose to do to/with us, lol

    Great work Anna



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