Cafe de Desiree

March 9, 2012

My first horror story-in the works

Filed under: horror,story — desi83 @ 9:28 am
Tags: ,

(Don’t have a title yet; open to suggestions!)

“Lisa, could you come in here for a moment, please?” my boss said from his office. I could see Rob sitting down in the chair in the office. Mike always had a witness with him when he called someone into the office to be disciplined, or if he was going to give said person some bad news. Either way, dread spread through my body. My head tingled, and I felt my feet become heavy as I made my way to the office. “Yes sir?” I said timidly. “Have a seat, Lisa. I have some news for you,” Mike announced calmly. He had this calm, confident demeanor about him through all situations. I have seen this man deal with the worst of humankind, and nothing ever seems to crack him. “Alright, you are either going to hate me or love me for this,” he preceded. I closed my eyes. “Okay,” I said awkwardly. Damn it, why can’t I be as cool as him in these situations? I am such a scared little person. “Well, I heard that you were interested in third shift from a ‘little bird’ here, so I emailed Mr. Davis. You are being transferred to Greenville,” he announced. Rob winked at me. I sighed deeply. “I was actually going to ask you about the possibility of doing that today, sir, so you beat me to the punch,” I said happily. I felt my body relax. I had been wanting the graveyard shift for awhile.
“Greenville is a good place to work third shift. There is virtually no crime there, it is a quiet town, and it is not far from where you live. You will probably save about 20 bucks a week on gas as to compared to driving to this store. Also, you can go back to school or whatever you want to do since it’ll be seven days on and seven days off. You’ll just have to lose sleep during your weeks on if you want to do anything,” he reassured me.
“When do I start?” I asked.
“You need to be there tomorrow morning at 7 am for a store meeting, and then you will start on Tuesday night,” he replied with a smile.
“But I’m working until eleven tonight,” I replied, annoyed.
“It would be preferable for you to make it to the meeting,” he said sternly.
“Fine, yes, you are right,” I responded.
“Okay, well, since it is your last day at this store, why don’t we play some stockroom basketball for old time’s sake?” he asked jubilantly.
“Okay,” I said with a chuckle.
“What are the stakes?” Rob asked.
“Okay, Lisa. If you lose, you have to clean my office top to bottom,” he answered.
“What if I win?” I asked smiling slyly.
“If you win, you can leave a half an hour early. But if you lose, you have to spend that last half hour cleaning the office. How does that sound?” he asked.
“Well, so far, sir, you are undefeated, but I will take that challenge,” I said confidently.
Rob, Mike, and I walked into the stockroom to play basketball with giant beach balls and two huge cardboard boxes.
“Okay, Lisa, I’m going to put this box inside of this bigger box. It’s two points for the outside box, three points for the inside box. Actually, that is the point system for you. For me, it is one point for the outside box, and two points for the inside box. That way you have a little advantage since you’re playing the reigning champion,” he said graciously.
“Okay, as long as you aren’t doing it because I’m a girl,” I said defensively.
“No, he gave me the same advantage,” Rob said, “and he still won.”
“Okay, Lisa, stand behind this piece of tape and toss the ball in,” Mike suggested.
“Okay, here goes nothing,” I said as I bent my knees and hurdled the ball toward the boxes. It went right over them.
“Oh, wow, too much power behind that shot,” Rob said laughing.
“I’m just warming up,” I said confidently.
“Hey now, what is going on in here?” Melinda asked as she walked in the stockroom with her cart full of fixtures from the reset she was doing. “I’m out here working my ass off, and this is what the bosses are doing?” she scoffed.
“It’s Lisa’s last day here, so we’re giving her a little goodbye party,” Mike said as he approached the little strip of tape on the floor.
“Oh, wow, she’s leaving?” she asked.
“Yes, I’m moving to Greenville to work third shift,” I replied.
“Mmph,” she said as she went about her work. We didn’t get along most of time. She tended to make snide remarks to me hinting of her jealousy, and I got onto her quite often for slacking off. Sometimes I hated being a manager because I often thought it would be so much easier only be responsible for my work instead of everyone else’s.
“Oh, two points!” Mike shouted when he made the inside box.
“2-0, you’re up!” Rob shouted.
“You guys didn’t tell me there was a game going on!” Chris said as he entered our makeshift basketball court.
“It’s Lisa’s last day, so we had to have one last game with her,” Mike replied.
“Yes, I’ve already beaten you this week, Chris, so now I have to beat Mike,” I said teasing him.
“When did you beat me?” he asked.
“We played a little paper wad basketball at the register the other day, and I beat you,” I reminded him. “Oh, that so does not count,” he said laughing. I made my way to the strip of tape, and I softly threw the ball this time as throwing it hard did not work last time. It barely touched the edge of the outside box and rolled back to me. “Oh, this is going to be really bad,” I lamented. We made a few more shots, and Mike was ahead 8-0.
“Okay, this is the last shot. If I make it to 10 points, you’ll be cleaning my office,” he gloated.
“It’s not over yet, Mike,” I said with an evil smile. I was up, and I bent my knees, focused on the inside box, and tossed the ball. It flew over both boxes.
“Rob, go grab that ball for me, will you?” Mike said. Rob obediently ran to fetch the ball for him. Rob was his lackey, or so I called him. He wanted a promotion so badly, so he did whatever Mike told him to. “Okay, Lisa, here goes nothing,” Mike said as he smoothly tossed the ball directly into the 2-point box. “I can’t wait to see my clean office tomorrow!” he said triumphantly. “Okay, Rob, let’s play to 10 points to see who is going to buy Lisa’s goodbye cake,” he suggested.
“Hmmm, can it be any cake? I can buy her a Hostess cake off the shelf then?” Rob said with a smirk. Rob was glad to be rid of me. I was out-performing him even though he was technically above me, so with me gone, it would make him look better.
“No, Rob, it will be a cake of her choice from Publix,” Mike corrected him.
“Alright, I’m bringing my A game today,” he said as he stepped to the line of tape.
“So, you are really leaving us?” Chris asked me.
“Yes, apparently a ‘little bird’ told Mike that I wanted to be transferred. I was kind of caught off guard since I was planning on approaching Mike about it. Even though it is what I wanted, I’m kind of pissed that they beat me to the punch,” I replied.
“Man, that is crazy. We’re going to miss you here, Lisa. But I’m glad it’s working out for you,” he said while pulling stock from the shelves and loading it on his cart.
“I’m going to miss you too, Chris,” I said. We stood looking at each other for a moment.
“Well, keep in touch, alright?” he said diverting his eyes from me.
“We always have Facebook,” I said with a laugh.
“Oh yes, there is that,” he said smiling.
“Oh, looks like Rob is buying your cake, Lisa!” Mike said, gloating.
“Well, Rob, I would like a red velvet cake, please,” I said slyly.
“No problem, your highness,” he replied.
“Alright, guys get back to work, enough funny business,” Mike shouted.
“Yeah, okay,” I said giggling.
“Hey Lisa, wait up,” Mike said. “Okay, just because this is your last day, it doesn’t mean it is time to slack off. This is the day to give me your best work because you always want to leave a great impression every time that you leave a place,” he advised.
“I know that, Mike. I always work hard for you,” I said, slightly offended.
“Okay, well, it really has been a pleasure working with you, Lisa. I know at that store you’ll be like a comet shooting through the night, changing the way they do things. Their last couple of third shift managers didn’t make much of an impression, so they’ll be glad to have someone who works hard,” Mike said. I smiled, and went on working on the project that I’d left earlier.
I’ve been at Jones’ Drug for five years, and all along I have been trying to find a way out. I went to college and majored in English, but had no idea what to do with my degree after I graduated. Third shift was hopefully going to be my way out of retail since I’d have time to go back to school. My life so far has been pretty dull. I’ve worked as an assistant manager giving orders to employees who don’t want to be there and calming down customers who take their frustrations out on those reluctant employees. I put out stock, reset departments, put together displays to try to spotlight whatever products that corporate wants us to spotlight, and I make sure all the cash is accounted for. It has become pretty redundant over the years. Promotions are getting fewer with the failing economy, and the few who do get promoted are seeing less bonuses than their predecessors and have worked twice as many hours to make up for the hours cut from the employees and hourly managers. I am an hourly manager, and I am fine to stay that way until I find a new line of work. I have done all I can in this career, and I am ready to move on. I just have to figure out what I am going to move on to do. I have always wanted to be a writer in some capacity. I just need to align my career desires with actual career possibilities. Journalism is a dying art because of the technology revolution. Being a paid author is about as likely as winning the lottery. I do not want to teach. I tried teaching middle school for a year, and I ended up on anxiety medication before that year was up. Showing up to work doped up on Xanax was not exactly a way to be a good role model. So, I was going to research a few careers during the next few months, and I was going to go back to school in the fall. It seemed like the perfect situation at the time. Greenville, I knew, was where I needed to be. I cleaned the office that night top to bottom, just as I had promised. The fumes from the Spit Fire spray gave me a headache and a bit of dizziness. Joe walked into the office and gave me a questioning look when he spotted me scrubbing the office floor. “I lost a bet, Joe,” I said smiling. He laughed.
“Hey, did you happen to tell Mike that I wanted third shift?” I asked. I didn’t know who else could have told him.
“No, I didn’t tell anyone. I figured you’d talk to him if you wanted to take the job,” he replied.
“Hmm, I bet it was that rat bastard, Rob,” I said grumbling.
“Ah, you told Rob, huh?” he said with a smirk.
“I got mad at him one day, and I said something like, ‘I just need to go on third shift so I don’t have to deal with any of this bullshit’, and I guess he mentioned it to Mike,” I realized.
“So, you’re getting transferred then? That’s great, right?” Joe asked. Joe was one of the third shift managers at that store, and we had many conversations about our hopes and dreams during that overlap between our shifts. He had already told me about the Greenville opening a few weeks ago.
“Yes, but I wanted to ask for the transfer. Instead, Mike apparently heard from a ‘little bird’ that I wanted third shift, so he processed the transfer before I talked to him about it,” I complained.
“Oh, yeah, I can see how that would throw you off guard. Well, are you happy about going third shift in Greenville, though?” he asked.
“Yes, I am happy to move on to something a little different. I may go back to school if I can figure out what I want to do,” I replied.
“Well, I hope you find what you’re looking for, Lisa,” he said.
“I do too,” I replied wistfully.
“Well, Lisa, it has been wonderful working with you, and I will give you a call sometime at your new store to see how you are doing,” Joe promised.
“Thanks, Joe. There is cake in the break room if you want some. I think I have had enough. Oh, and Rob had to buy it for me since he lost a game to Mike,” I informed him. He laughed and shook his head.
“Hopefully, both of us will be out of here one day, Lisa, and we can both realize our dreams,” Joe wished. “Hopefully,” I agreed.
Ms. Addy walked into the office to clock out, and I knew this was going to be a difficult good-bye. Ms. Addy doesn’t like most people, especially managers. In turn, most managers do not like Ms. Addy. She is irritable, bitter, and she can’t do much physical work because, well, she is old. When I first came to work for this Jones Drug location, I did not care for her upon our first meeting. Yet, she grew on me…like a fungus, but still. I learned how to deal with Mrs. Addy, and I learned how to make her smile. She loves to persuade customers to buy the beauty products that we promote, and she loves to see the results. Every day that I have worked for her, she has called me over to see the sales results in the beauty department. If she has worked the day before and done well, she likes to show me so that I’ll praise her. If someone else worked the day before and did badly, she likes for me to see how much the department truly needs her. I also know how to stand up to her when she is being unreasonable without being mean to her about it. I was going to miss Ms. Addy more than I was going to miss anyone else there. We had a special bond, especially as fellow English majors. I still wished I could see her articles that she wrote for newspapers a few decades ago.
“Well, Ms. Lisa, I guess this is good-bye,” Ms. Addy said sadly.
“Yes, it looks like it, Ms. Addy. Now you be nice to the new guy,” I said sternly but affectionately.
“I already don’t like him. How is having another male manager going to help me in cosmetics? They don’t know anything about cosmetics, so they don’t care,” she said grumpily.
“That is true, but I hear he is a very nice man,” I reassured her.
“Well, I don’t like him, and he better not march in here telling me what to do,” she scoffed. I laughed. “I know you’ll give him hell, and he’ll have to either figure out how to deal with you or leave,” I said smiling. She grabbed me for a hug.
“Ms. Lisa, bad things have happened to people who’ve worked third shift at the Greenville store. There are legends, you know,” Ms. Addy warned. Joe was sitting behind us in the office, chuckling to himself. “It is true! I’m sure you’ve heard the stories, Joe. Ten years ago, there was a manager working in the stock room. She was by herself while her cashier was up front to ring up customers, if any straggled in at three in the morning. She was on a ladder getting down some stock for them to put out. She fell off that ladder and broke several bones in her body. She laid there all night bleeding inside and out with no one there to find her and help her. They say she screamed for hours, and no one heard her through that heavy door. Her cashier never checked on her because he was too busy playing his Gameboy to think about what she might be doing. The opening manager found her there, but it was too late,” Ms. Addy said darkly. Joe laughed again, “it was an accident. People fall off ladders, especially the old rickety ones we have at our stores.” I still felt chills run up my spine.
“Okay, did you know about the cardboard compactor incident that happened fifteen years ago?” she asked. “No, I have not heard of that,” Joe replied cynically. “Okay, there was a man named Stephan who worked as the night shift manager in Greenville at the time. He was in the stockroom throwing away several boxes from where he had put up the product from the warehouse that night. He jabbed as many in as he could until there was no room left before he turned on the compactor.He stood there waiting until it made a hideous noise and smoke came seeping out of it. He opened the door and crawled inside to shove the cardboard down into the compactor. Somehow, he fell inside of it and the door slammed shut. He screamed for help, but it was futile. There is no way his cashier could hear him through that door with his being all the way up front. A couple of hours passed, and the cashier started to wonder what his manager was doing. He walked into the stockroom and yelled for him. He didn’t hear or see his manager, so he went back to the front assuming he was in the office. Seven am rolled around, and the store manager arrived. Then, the potato chip vendor arrived. Mrs. Lemon, the store manager, did not have time to try to find Stephan because she had to check in the vendor. After the vendor had been checked in and put out his stock, he went to the stockroom to throw away his empty cardboard boxes. He opened the compactor, threw in the boxes, and turned on the motor. He still has nightmares about the shrill screams that he heard coming from the compactor. Smoke filled the air, and the sound of bones crushing could be heard from within the machine. He had walked away as soon as he turned on the motor, but he quickly ran back to the compactor and turned it off when he heard those blood-curdling screams. It was so dark inside of the machine that he couldn’t figure out what had made the noise. Also, smoke was rolling out of the opening. He immediately rushed to the store manager to tell her what happened. She bravely climbed into it with a flashlight with the vendor standing by. The vendor later said that her screams were almost as traumatizing to him than the ones that came from the compactor,” Ms. Addy animately narrated.
“How do you know all of this, Mrs. Addy?” I asked. “I read the story in the local paper. They had video footage from the stockroom as well as the witness accounts. You know, I wrote a story about an incident that happened there thirty years ago, but it was the cashier who was killed,” she explained.
“You know, Ms. Addy, I think that is all that I can stand to hear right now. I will be very careful there, I promise,” I said, cringing.
“Try not to be by yourself too much. Make your cashier help you and be near you as much as possible. It only happens to people who find themselves alone a lot there,” she warned.
“Yes, ma’am, Ms. Addy. I’m going to miss you,” I said smiling warmly at her.
“Well, give us a call here sometime, or stop in and visit,” she suggested.
“I will,” I agreed. With that, I went home filled with excitement, and well, a new fear about this new position.


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