While I’m waiting for my paycheck, I might as well keep writing down the stuff that happened to me. I already wrote about how I stole this spiral notebook from Office Depot before I understood what this job would have me doing. Since then, the job has been keeping me moving.
When Harry found me, he said I would end up following his instructions. Almost at random, the texts send me to different addresses, and like some stupid normal, I keep going. All day, I repeat the cycle of my first delivery, making runs to different stores and dropping the stuff off, mostly to the same dozen or so houses.
No wonder Harry loves this company. All anyone does is sit around, get the munchies and send me on errands, a stoner’s paradise.
Berry Street | Oct 18 | 4:41pm
But Harry sent me to some new address today, on a street where all the houses look the same, and it took me a while to find it.
What’s taking so long?
Being an errand boy is degrading, and the repetitive routine is killing me, but what really gets me pissed off is that I haven’t been payed yet.
The company issued me a car, an early ’90s dishwater gray Toyota Corolla hatchback with an odometer that must have rolled over at least twice. That keeps me moving too. If I sit too long at a stoplight or pull over checking which house is right, the engine revs up, rattles and dies.
I inched down the block, checking addresses and texting.
i want money
$35/delivery. That’s what really keeps me moving. All I need is one good paycheck. Then I’ll disappear into those expensive wines the shops used to shove at me when I went in with a healthy wad. I could get out of that Japanese car and into something European, an Italian Grigio or a German Silvaner, drown myself in Premier Cru from the Cote d’Or, and they’d never hear from me again.
Deliver faster. You get paid on Friday.
Four days away. I dropped the phone into the folds of the torn black leather of the passenger seat. “It’s fine. I’m here.”
I pulled over, opened the door to the back seat, lifted the giant submarine sandwich with both hands and kicked the car door closed.
The keycard to open Lanning’s front door was in the pocket of my jeans. My hands were full, so I rubbed my hip on the lock. Too low. I lifted my right leg to get a better position, humped the door, and it clicked open. My life is so degrading.
I found an office by the now familiar noise of computer use. At the desk was another guy on his computer, dead to the world.
It was dark in there. The only window had a hanging pot with an overgrown fern blocking out most of the afternoon light. As my eyes adjusted, I started to see all the useless technology that filled the room. There were three models of Xbox not plugged into anything and a bookcase with nothing but a Kindle on each shelf. I even spotted an old pair of virtual reality goggles gathering dust in the corner.
The greasy brown hair and patchy beard of the guy at the desk jutted in odd directions off his head, and the outline of strange padding in his dockers could only be an adult diaper.
He stared at a file on the computer screen, work of some kind, but as I got closer, I saw the second computer he had set up to his right. With one hand, he was playing a video game out of the corner of his eye.
I put the sandwich on the desk. “Lanning, food.” It looked pretty good, and I was getting hungry. I didn’t know how well he could hear me through those headphones. “If you want me to eat it for you, don’t react in any way.”
I was disappointed when his left hand reached for the sandwich, feeling the paper wrapper like a blind man, his attention never leaving those two screens. He was barely human, and I couldn’t turn away.
Something happened in the video game, and both of his hands snapped to that keyboard to pound out commands.
The digital crisis ended, and his hand’s attention went back to the sandwich. His mouth opened up like a yawn that never ended, but his hand still couldn’t figure out the thin paper barrier.
His head half turned, but his eyes kept ping-ponging between the two screens. His stomach grumbled loud enough for me to hear. I never saw a grown man so pathetic. Then he looked at the webcam mounted above the work monitor, and I recognized the face of a man afraid of getting caught. It was the same paranoia I had for the security cameras outside my storage unit.
I couldn’t let him starve. With two fingers, I tore back the edge of the paper until the whole sandwich was exposed. I stood back again and watched.
Lanning’s blind hand felt the surface of the sub. His fingers wrapped around one end of the enormous sandwich and tried to pull it towards his mouth, but my instructions were specifically for it to stay in one long unsliced loaf. Two and a half feet of Italian bread, pastrami, provolone, peppers, pickles and olives were about to end up all over the floor, and nobody was paying me to clean that shit up.
I went closer. At least I could catch the thing and save his poor mother the trouble. I looked around. I always heard guys like that lived in their parent’s basement, but the rest of the house seemed unused. Actually, I haven’t seen family or roommates in any of these guy’s houses.
Lanning lifted one end of the sandwich. I took another step forward, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Without spilling a pickle, his forearm slipped underneath the sandwich, providing just enough support to get one end to his lips while the other end stayed on the table.
He started eating, alternating his other hand between the two keyboards, his eyes never leaving those two monitors.
The webcam wasn’t angled to see that second computer. From its view, he kept working without missing a beat. I let myself out.
If Lanning has a secret way of putting up with his shitty work, I have to get one too. He has his game. I need a drink. Friday.