Night Shift

092310

  “There is something genuinely unnerving about this place at night,” Ellen says, glancing around at the dark shapes of the stock room.
  “Yeah. It’s reaaaaal spooky, now where did Allan say the packaged shirts were?” Todd replies, futilely squinting against the inky depths before them.
  "Over by the baler.”
  They stumble their way over to the giant cardboard-crushing machine, their hands on the multitude of boxes that make up the maze they weave between. Todd puts his hand on a delicately balanced pile of crates and the whole tower comes tumbling down with a crash. Ellen screams a short, succint scream that she immediately hopes was covered by the cacophony. It wasn’t.
  “Oh my gawd El, you really are freaked, huh?” Todd says, his stupid grin audible.
  “Shut-up,” She snaps back, “I’m just not pumped about the dark, okay? Let’s drop it.”
  “Sure, sure.”
  Ellen storms on whilst Todd stoops down to pick up the mountain of footwear that fell onto the floor, the smell of leather rich in the air. Pair by pair he loads the shoes and sneakers back into the crates.
  God damn it Ellen thinks to herself, embarrassed, as she fumbles amongst the stock further ahead, looking for the formal shirts amongst the various articles of menswear. She’s shuffling through it for a while with no result before she finally pulls out her mobile phone and casts a pale blue light across everything. It makes it worst. Shadow bleeds into shadow, shapes shift with every twitch of her hand and the cellophane-wrapped ties illuminate eerily beneath her. She still can’t see the shirts.
  Not everyone has to like the dark, she continues, not even sure she’s convincing herself that such a phobia – at her age – retains a shred of normalcy. She briefly wishes she was at home in bed before remembering the time-and-a-half pay that working nights brings. Stocking was boring and in this case, dark, but damn it paid well.
  She gives up and resigns to heading over to the breaker in the corner. Both she and Todd had avoided it at first; it had a tendency to give you a small but thoroughly nasty shock when you touched it. Knowing the zap was coming was the worst part of it all.  
  “Todd” she croons sweetly, hoping to be able to convince him to turn the lights on. There is no reply. “Oh come on Todd, – sudden silence? – just a little clichéd, don’t you think?”
  Still nothing.
  Ellen huffs away an inane panic that’s just barely perceivable in its building before marching back to the shoes. He isn’t there, the remnants of his clean-up still scattered haphazardly across the floor.  
  “If you think I’m cleaning up your mess buddy-”
  She stops to listen, holding her breath and straining intensely for even the slightest sound. A whisper of a chuckle, a shifting of weight, the squeak of leather on linoleum. Nothing.
  “-you’ve got another thing coming.” she finishes meekly.
  There’s a loud sound from behind her, a mechanical grind that is the baler churning into life, crushing the cardboard inside of it with all the ruckus such a machine can muster. Ellen jumps at the sound and shivers at the chill tingling down her shoulders as she turns on her heels. The little red light on the side is lit up and she marches towards it, appalled at Todd’s audacity and more than a little outraged at her own reaction.
  “You’re a jerk, you know that Todd?” she calls out as she slams her fist on the stop button. “I should report you to Allan, you know how bent out of shape he gets when untrained staff use this… thingy.”
  There’s still nothing in the silence but the slow winding down of the crusher.
  Whatever she thinks, now trying to cover fear with indifferent cool, he can stay in here for all I care. She starts making her way over to the door.
  “Okay Todd make sure to bring the shirts when you-” she sing-songs, the final lilting lyrics catching in her throat as she spots a silhouette in the hall.
  “W-Who’s there?” she asks unsteadily.
  “Me, doofus,” Comes Todd’s reply. He’s walking on the spot, shuffling his feet against the carpet.
  “What are you doing-”
  “Going to turn on the lights, no point in us looking the dark. Chrissie told me this discharges electricity so I won’t get shocked.”
  “I’m pretty sure that builds electrical charge-,” Ellen begins quickly, “-but no, you…you stupid, I mean what are you doing out here?”
  “You stupid?
Really?”
  “Bite me,”
  “Anyway, – you stupid – I’m pretty sure I just explained that-”
  “But you were just-”
  “Just what?”
  “You were just messing with the baler-”
  “Dude, no I wasn’t. Allan chewed me out but good last time I laid a finger on that beast.”
  At that second, somewhere in the shrouded room behind them, the baler bursts into life again, startling the both of them with it’s ferocity.
  “Whoa what?” Todd says, obviously as surprised as Ellen.
  “Did anyone come in whilst you were out here?” Ellen asks quickly.
  “No, no-one,” Todd replies, looking nervously over Ellen’s shoulder into the stock room. “You know, I don’t think I’m too pumped about the dark either.”
  “So not worth time and a half
  “
Totes.”
  “Say we couldn’t find them?”
  “Totes.”
 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
This one goes out to my sister from another mister j-dizzle what what!!! She asked for a spooky night shift, I wrote a spooky night shift. That’s how we roll. Oh and the header image? I couldn’t find a picture of a spooky stock-room so have a picture of my favourite actress at the moment, Anna Kendrick. She’d be a perfect Ellen.

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~ by Joseph Blame on September 23, 2010.

One Response to “Night Shift”

  1. BOOM awesome. Totes

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