The plastic was clear and quite thick. Long strips from the door frame all the way to the floor. But all she could think about was the globule of snot slowly following gravity’s pull down the other side of the plastic strip. The trail was more than a foot long and she couldn’t fathom the nose it shot out of. She watched it creep down a few more inches and then it struck her that it could just as easily have been something coughed up, which probably started as snot anyways, so it all just equaled the same disgusting mess. She hated her coworkers. With that, she turned around and went back to the break room.
She’d taken lunch already, but the thought of going back to the counter to deal with more rude retirees wasn’t something she could bear, so flopping back down at the table seemed like a plan. Her phone was dead and that meant her only entertainment, if you could call it that, was the local news droning on the small TV on the counter. The remote was gone and the channel buttons didn’t work, so channel five was always on, though thankfully the volume was low enough that you could tune it out if you had someone to talk to. The only interesting thing about it was seeing how screwed up the closed captioning was compared to what the newsreaders were saying. It was like the person doing the captioning was almost deaf, but the truth was the text crawling across the screen made for a better version of reality than the one coming out of the reporters’ mouths. Right now, she desperately needed to believe in a better world. Working fifty hours a week in a small town grocery store was not the life she aspired too, even for someone with low ambitions and a limited skill set.
She closed her eyes and laid her head down on the table. She tried to summon the courage to face the rest of her shift and imagine a night spent out drinking and laughing with a fun and sexy girl. A night she felt she deserved by chance at a minimum and by merit for sure: she worked hard and had no one to go home to.
She didn’t realize she fell asleep until the drool made her cheek stick to the vinyl tablecloth. She woke up to see it was after nine, which meant she could clock out. Time had slipped by but she was back where she always was. Alone.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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