You are a writer. I've read some of your writing. I expect a fair amount of constructive criticism from you, and your opinion matters. It's not often that I openly admit that I care about any individual's opinion, so this is a high honor for you, whether you know it or not.
Maybe it'll be a short story or a novel. Not sure. I know where I'm going to go with it but I don't know how much shit I'm going to put in the middle.
It's actually not autobiographical, but some of the members who know me personally might notice some significant similarities to my real life. You write what you know, I guess.
I've gotten this far and I want some input before I keep going. If it's even slightly readable, I'll keep going.
7:40 is what the red backlit numbers on my clock said. As far as getting enough rest, it wouldn’t make a difference if it was AM or PM. I would still be just as tired. The alarm had long ago stopped with the moderately annoying “BZZT BZZT BZZT BZZT” and had instead adopted an antagonistic drone when the alarm sets in, the unfortunate result of years of violent treatment.
“Need to get a new fucking clock,” was the first thing I said today. Words of wisdom. I’m alone, so of course nobody heard it, but not being heard is a feeling I’m used to. I peel my face off of the slightly damp and frigid puddle of drool that soaked into my pillow and get up to turn off the alarm. The reason I put my alarm on the other side of my room is simple. At some point I got into the habit of turning my alarm off in my sleep, so I have to keep it out of reach.
I have to be at work by 8, and I live about 15 minutes from work, so I waste no time getting up and putting on my uniform, which consists of tan pants and a dark blue shirt. They've been laying in a pile in the floor with the rest of my clothes. I should probably do laundry.
I work in a warehouse. Some people call it a department store; some people call it a supermarket. Technically speaking, it’s both of those things. But to me, it’s a big concrete building with no windows and high, sheet metal ceilings with industrial-grade ventilation running along it, filled with shelves covered in shit nobody needs but they buy anyway. They have to. They’re consumers.
Breakfast is a tall glass of water and four gel-caps of ibuprofen. I’ve got a headache already. I’ve always got a headache. It’s probably a brain tumor. Hopefully. Maybe I’ll die by 24.
After a brief search for my car keys amidst the Taco Bell waste and convenience store fountain drink cups that have found a permanent home on my coffee table, I head out the door. I don’t lock it. If someone is poor enough to want any of the junk in my apartment, and if they have the balls to rob me in the middle of the day, they can have it. None of it does me any good anyway.
I walk down the creaky wooden steps in the breezeway of the slum I call home, briefly wondering if this will finally be the time the third step finally gives in and breaks. Then I’d have a reason to call in sick and go back to bed. But step #3 apparently still has some will to live. I wish I could say the same.
I get in my rust-colored sub-compact and start the engine. After some coaxing, it finally turns over and lets out a high-pitched squeal. It does that every time. People keep telling me I should get my belts looked at. I don’t know anything about cars, so as long as it still goes when I want it to, I’m not going to bankrupt myself over it. I can’t afford to eat, so I’m definitely not going to pay some hillbilly mechanic to tell me what I already know. My car’s a piece of shit.
I drive mindlessly on the way to work. I’ve made this trip so many times that I could probably do it asleep. In fact, I probably already have made the trip in my sleep.
I arrive at work and head back to the time clock. The clock reads 8:04 AM, which means I’m 4 minutes late. There’s a grace period, but it’s still about 50 cents of my life I’ll never get back. As though my time is really even worth 13 cents a minute. I sign myself into work. The screen on the clock politely reads, “Thank you, your punch has been accepted.” I have always just wanted it to say, “Fuck you, go home, you don’t do any work here anyway.”
Before I even get to my department and start work, I’m met by one of my coworkers. I guess he’s my friend, too. He’s the only person I hang out with outside of the workplace. I don’t know why I spend time with him. I guess it’s probably because he spends time with me. I’m not sure he has any other friends either. We’ve probably just mutually accepted that nobody else wants our company anyway.
“Hey, man, just getting here?” Genuine curiosity, like he has forgotten I always get to work at 8.
“Hey, Jeff,” I said, trying to sound less tired than I am, “Yeah. 8 to 5 today. Like always.”