Yesterday was day five, ten hour shifts and I was toast before I even headed in. I saw Bill only for about five minutes before I headed out the door and I was so stressed. Near the cigar shack the same six holiday songs, done in a New Orleans Dixieland style are played loudly and endlessly on a loop, as if it was the sounds of the holiday signaling the oncoming apocalypse.
Ahead of me lay a long day, a Saturday with a staph meeting at the end. I was not sure about what the staph meeting would entail or the length. Last time there was pizza and beer as well as a free cigar of our choice and if that was to be the case then it was probably going to be a long dazed journey into night.
As per usual I took the bus into the city and walked up the avenue, getting my egg sandwich and arriving at the cigar shack earlier than I needed to. Zack was opening so that meant I would have to enjoy my sandwich standing up in the pantry next to the garbage can instead of being able to sit in the office before signing in for the day.
Thomas and Frank Burns were in, with Jerry Vale expected later in the day after he gets out of his other job. I was alright thanks to a Xanax, but still could sense despair on the edges of my outlook. The ritual 3:00 phone call with my sister had her alarmed by my bleak vision.
In hindsight it was probably the darkest part of the day for me, more than likely from not having eaten lunch yet. After a burger deluxe and a chocolate shake I did call her back to let her know that I was feeling better. If I don’t eat, I crash- mentally, physically and spiritually. The day went on as it was supposed to, ending with Thomas and myself nabbing the top two spots in sales respectively.
Still the staph meeting was scheduled and neither Thomas or myself knew what was in store. Were we going to be chewed out? Was Frank Burns going to be the anointed assistant manager? It turned out to be quite a mild meeting, Zack reading aloud from notes, as the rest of us dutifully followed.
Questions were asked and answered and the whole thing was over and we were out of the shack by 10:30, leaving Zack to finish his cigar alone. I lucked out, getting on the subway platform just as an express train was heading downtown.
I was wary about a long line and wait like last Saturday but there was no need. Things were going as they should, the Path was running so there wasn’t hundreds of other people waiting for the Hoboken bus. I was home by 11:00 and watched Saturday Night Live before heading to bed.
Bill phoned from Atlantic City, lovingly concerned about my wellbeing. I reassured him that I was home and doing alright.
If 6 was 9