The Devil’s Contract (Part III)

You walk into the institution, and everyone says good morning to you. You respond in kind, not because you want to but to play along with the artificial dynamic. You walk to the locker room and put your stuff down, then walk back out and clock in.

The shift of death begins.

The first thing they have you do is go to the front and help customers with orders. The first customer isn’t an asshole (thank God) and also knows what they want. They order quickly, you process the transaction and give them their indicator to let them know when the food is ready.

The second customer comes up, an elderly, so you already know they’re going to take their sweet time ordering as time is all they have, however little of it that’s left. They order one thing and you put it in and change their mind at the last minute and ask if you can make a modification. The security camera rotates at the top left corner, and you feel it’s hot gaze land on you and so you say yes. This isn’t because you’re in the movie ‘The Matrix’ or anything, but because you’re painfully aware of how a 9-5 institution is similar to a prison or a school in the ghetto.

You make the modification and ask if there’s anything else they want for their order. They look around and ask if you could add a bag of chips and a brownie to the order, you enter it in. You look at them and they look at you and confirm that’s the completion of their order. You give them the total and what do they break out? Change.

Oh, my fucking god, you think to yourself.

You lean on the register a bit because you know it’s going to take a while. . .

They get their change out after what feels like eternity and then proceed to take out their bills. The total for this one was $22.27, and they struggled for a good five minutes to count out the twenty-seven cents. It took you a couple seconds to see the two dimes, nickel, and two pennies they had in their hand but, as people get older, they tend to slow down dramatically. Probably because they’ve been destroying their bodies for their entire lives and the functionality is in the toilet, kind of like the economy but that’s a topic you save for your buddies on the internet.

The elderly customer gives you the exact change with shaky, arthritic hands and you take the money and insert it into the register. You give them their drink with the receipt and indicator of when the food is going to be ready, and they shuffle off to do whatever the fuck elderly people do.

And then the next customer comes, with a peeved off look and a hairdo that practically screams ‘Karen’.

You don’t even waste time as you say ‘I’ll get the manager’ before she can even get a word in and take her anger out on you for something you most likely weren’t even there for in the first place.

The manager comes and rids you of the Karen, which is just about the only thing a manager is useful for, so you can get back to your regularly scheduled enslavement. The next customer comes and it’s a nerdy, beta male, looking guy. The type of guy that probably never got pussy a day in his life; however, you don’t judge him for it because you particularly care.

He asks how you’re doing, and you exchange the pleasantries. He’s more or less polite as he makes his order and doesn’t change his mind at the last minute. The transaction happens quickly and both of you get on with your lives.

This same process continues for about an hour and thirty minutes.

The manager comes out and sends you on a ten-minute break.

During your ten-minute break, your brain goes into maximum overdrive, and you think about the predicament you’ve gotten yourself in. You think about how you can actually get out of this 9-5 trap. How you can make money without going to a fucking institution and being a voluntary slave. Before you know it the ten minutes are up because they speed up the clock at the institution, and they only give you breaks to comply with the law, not because they care about your wellbeing.

You sigh and get up to return to your regularly scheduled enslavement.

For the next two to three hours, whichever is closer to eternity as they both feel the same, you deal with bullshit orders, special requests, discounts, coupons, rewards, bargaining, and a litany of other types of bullshit that makes you want to shoot yourself for even a second of peace and quiet. One customer asked if you could make an order without the very ingredient the order is made of, and you tell him no. He asks you to get the manager and you do so because they don’t pay you enough to care about anyone’s issues, and they certainly don’t pay you for enthusiasm.

The manager comes out and rids you of the customer, actually doing their job for once, and you get on with the next transaction. The customer says, ‘this is some bullshit’ and walks out as the manager wasn’t able to accommodate them,

That statement couldn’t be any more true.

Two to three hours manages to pass in the institution and the manager sends you on a thirty-minute break. This is where your marine training comes from as you not only have to heat up your food (which takes about two minutes in real time but somehow five minutes passes by the time it’s done) but also find a place to sit and at least try to enjoy the meal (which is impossible because by the time you do all that about fifteen minutes pass).

So, you scarf down your food and chug down your water like a goddamn savage and before you know it you have to go back to your regularly scheduled enslavement.

You sigh and return to work.

For the next hour and a half, they have you cleaning up the patio and the rest of the front of the store. You take your sweet time because every second from that fucking register is precious, even in the midst of enslavement. If you died and went to hell, you’d probably be a cashier.

You laugh at that thought not because it’s funny, but because it’s probably true.

You don’t bother looking at the clock because it is the most deceptive thing in the institution. And, just to fuck with your head, they put clocks in both the front and back of the restaurant, so you know how much more enslavement you have for the day. So, you can watch the seconds of your life waste away doing meaningless work to make ends meet, so you can come to the realization that the only thing you were given freely is under the control of an establishment because millions of people agreed to sell their souls for some bullshit piece of paper that’s losing value each and every day.

It’s gotten to the point where you no longer look at the clock, but the clock looks at you, taunting you with the promise of freedom in the near future, a freedom that will never come so long as you agree to be part of the institution.

Before you know it, you’re done with the patio. You begin to pick up the cleaning supplies and put them back where you found them until the manager comes out and asks if you got the trash that’s outside. You begin to question that as it’s raining but, as an employee of the institution, you agreed to comply, and so you check the trash outside with the most neutral expression you can possibly muster. Your manager is a female, and you know how female bosses get with you grimace at their so called ‘requests’.

As you surmised with common sense, there’s no trash to be taken. So, you come back inside.

The manager then asks if you can help a customer out to their car that has a large order. You obey and do it, not because you actually want to but just to get that bitch out of your face.

You take your sweet time with this as well, because every second outside that place is precious, even in the midst of enslavement.

You come back in, and the manager has decided to torture someone else with meaningless tasks. The other employee actually pretends to smile and seems rather happy to comply. You shake your head imperceptibly as to not arouse suspicion and get on with other meaningless work.

You do this for another forty minutes.

Then, the manager sends you on your last ten-minute break and you don’t even bother leaving the building as it’ll be gone in a flash anyway.

When you get back to work, the manager asks (commands) you to take a few more orders before you leave. And these orders are the most annoying, it’s as if people sense you’re about to leave and want to barrage you with every modification and request in the book along with the kitchen sink and some Charmin to wipe their ass with.

After you get through these painstaking orders and checkout as a cashier. Now you have to call your overlord and ask for permission to be free for the day.

They playfully say no and that they’re going to keep you here forever. You laugh it off, but you die inside just a bit more as you know the statement isn’t a joke.

She grants you access to your scheduled free time and lets you go home for the day.

You walk slowly as a show of enthusiasm when leaving may get you fired. Just par for the course in a totalitarian regime. As soon as you step out of the institution and breath in the stale air of the bullshit city you live in, you realize that just a little bit more of your soul was eroded away by the institution and what for? A bullshit paycheck? To live a mediocre existence? To be like the other drones that actually put on a smile and comply?

These questions wreak havoc on your mind as you suddenly sprint toward your car and peel out before the manager asks you to come back in and do some more work.


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