The Secret Lives of My Coworkers-1Submitted by monkeyswithguns at 2008-09-17 11:41:16 EDT
Rating: 1.93 on 39 ratings (39 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
What I know:
Rebecca works at the desk across from me; she checks all the orders as they come in off the fax for mathematical errors, shifty salesmen who try to slip by an under-priced order, and incomplete paperwork. She’s approximately 40-45 years old, and was hired for the purpose of helping our accountant keep track of where all the money is going and coming from, but as usual here, she’s ended up being primarily a sales-woman.
She owns dachshunds, and is fanatical about them, as evidenced by the framed picture of the dogs, with the frame being dachshund themed, and I see her wearing a dachshund T-shirt, usually on Fridays.
She’s married to a trucker, who previously was a state trooper, whom she met while working as a dispatcher, before she began working at her former job for DHL, before she got laid off and came to work here. She talks about him almost as much as she talks about her dogs.
She has at least one son, who is apparently the same age as I am, and who, while she doesn’t seem to quite be proud of, still loves the way only an empty nest mother could, by talking about him as though he needs her to care for him still. I get the impression that he’s done some fairly nefarious deeds, or isn’t the son she wished he was, and when she speaks of him, I feel a slight pang of guilt for the way I’ve acted, and wonder what my mother thinks of my own misadventures.
She once worked for the Department of Justice, in Germany, during the height of the Cold War, and occasionally regales the office with her memories of being in the border zone, being sure of dodging the sentries, to trade cheap American cigarettes to East Germans for cheap Russian vodka, and how she met her first husband that way, when he didn’t turn her in the time they caught her.
She talks, quite often, and at length about all these things, but nothing other than these subjects, which I assume is due to her lack of available social interaction outside of the office.
Now for some pure speculation on her secret home life:
I see her getting off of work, and driving home, to sit alone with her dogs. She probably calls her husband, and talks about the traffic, and asks him to be sure to eat something green tonight, instead of the usual truck stop steak, waffle, and eggs combo (with optional grits.)
After eating a Lean Cuisine™, then feeding her dogs, she proceeds to clean the entire house, even though it was never really dirty to begin with, and afterwards she pops some valium, and then goes to take a bath while reading the latest romance novel or whatever it is that 40+ year old women read while taking baths.
She probably lets the dogs in the bathroom during this, to serve the same purpose as the valium, which is to deter the overwhelming sense of loneliness, and drown out the screaming inner monologue telling her that she's alone, all alone, except for her dogs, but they don't speak English.
She repeats this process nightly, except for the 2 or 3 nights of the week when her husband comes home. On those nights, they sit and eat a prepared meal, nothing extravagant, but healthy, home-cooked food, talk about what he’s seen on the road this week, which of their friend’s are getting divorces, or dying, the funny little thing that the “comical” dog of the group did this week.
Saturday comes, and he’s still home, not due to ship out until Sunday, to meet a delivery deadline of Thursday in Boise, Idaho for a truckload of potato bags that were manufactured in Nicaragua. He won’t pick up any potatoes though, because his trailer doesn’t have the optional air-conditioning unit, and he doesn’t have the unit because the shipping company he works for is being hit hard by the economy, and it’s cheaper for them to simply send him to some small town, the name of which I couldn’t begin to imagine, 30 miles south, to switch trailers at their NW facility, and deliver a load for General Mills products, of which kind he isn’t certain, as the pallets are all shrink wrapped to the point of obfuscation.
But none of that matters, because it’s Saturday night, and this is the one night of the week when they really live it up!
They both get dressed up for the show, hop in the Impala, and drive up to Atlanta, where they’ll head to the swinger’s club “2 Risqué” where they will engage in acts that would make Ron Jeremy blush with a couple whose names they don’t know, and don’t want to know. The anonymity of it all is a big part of the thrill. He mounts the other woman, who doesn’t really want to be there, but she enjoys not having to think for herself, and having her husband decide what they do, and when they do it.
Rebecca meanwhile is being pissed on by the other guy, and a short asian man walks up to do the same, remarking “What a wonderful toilet! Isn’t this great!?”
The other man ignores him, and after they both finish, he tosses her a towel to wipe her face off before they tag-team her. She doesn’t mind that the asian guy joined in, but wishes he had followed proper etiquette, and concludes that he’s probably a new member, and wonders if he’s just very wealthy, or where his own partner is.
On Sunday, after sleeping in until 8:30, which is difficult because of their age, he gets into his big rig, and drives across the state line into Alabama to their loading facility in Tuskegee. Though he makes this trip every week, he doesn’t realize the significance of the city to the black community, and why would he, since he’s white, and knowledge of the experiments won’t help him in any way.
Rebecca will spend the afternoon tidying up the house needlessly, and perhaps if she has the time, she might go to the Dairy Queen for a sundae before resuming her regular routine.
What she doesn’t know is that the asian guy at the club had Hepatitis, which he transferred to her through a open wound along her gum line where she flossed a bit too hard, trying to get the piece of hamburger out before they went out on their weekend adventure. Nobody wants to engage in humiliating acts with someone who has leftover food in their teeth. She knows this because the third time they went there, some asshole told her so while spanking her, which bothered her, because her oral hygiene is none of his goddamn business, and nobody likes being caught with food hanging from between their teeth.
She won’t find out about this for another 6 months, during which time she’ll infect 12 other people, though that’s really just the beginning of her new contribution to the world. Before it’s over, her initial infection will have mutated, and become the primary cause of liver failure and death for over 350 people.
As she lies in the hospital bed dying, she’ll briefly smile and have a little laugh to herself, because she gave birth to a killer, who was far more successful than her son, who also contracted the mutated form from a shared needle. She considers them to be twins before she dies.
Later that week, we hire a new lady to fill her position, and she doesn’t talk so much as Rebecca. I’m conflicted over this, because while the mindless chatter annoyed me to no end, the un-nerving silence and blank stares from this lady frighten me a bit, but I ignore it, and continue to write stories that few people will read.