Field Report from Organic Man

Written by Lord Lansdowne

After finally escaping the clutches of evil of my last job, I pulled my vanishing act and landed working somewhere else. I'm being ambiguous on purpose, as I do not intend to be found by anyone. In fact, so elaborate has been my disappearing scheme, that as far as management is concerned, I'm an half Indian, half Korean immigrant from Australia with a French accent, seeing how bizarre the name I've given them is. The only real thing about me is the accent, which I can't fake. I just speak funny.

My job is fairly simple. I work in the organic department of a store and I take care of everything that has at to do with it, from vitamins, to supplements, down to cookies called Bowel Buddies which, well, you can tell by the name what they do. This job isn't rocket science, and more than half the people I work with have been very good at making sure this is a fact. Fortunately breathing is a rather primitive ability which requires little thinking, or we'd be short on staff.

Management, upon realizing I had previous experience working in a store, gave me plenty of responsibilities, but my pay is still crap. I've also been given a book the size of War and Peace to read, so I can learn what every single fibre, vitamin and oil in the universe is good for. I haven't really been studying very hard. On the bright side, when University will start, I'll still be able to work part-time, earning enough to at least pay some basic necessities. All those second-year University babes who have suddenly developed "sensibilities" to non-gluten-free products, will be mine for the taking. They'll melt in my arms, just hearing me mutter words like "omega three," and "flax seed supplement."

While on break today, I met a guy I, apparently, work with. This is the first time I saw him and the only reason I'm aware that he exists, is because he saw me sitting outside reading, and decided to have a talk with me.

His name is Jimmy.

I really didn't want to talk to Jimmy because I was a little bit too busy pondering about some weird situation I am in, with my life--all right, it's a love story, but it's so pathetic, I'm ashamed of it myself. I really wanted to sit there all by my lonesome and torture myself in my thoughts for the whole duration of my break, but this guy had to show up and be friendly. God, I hate friendly people. He's the second one already and I nearly killed the first.

The moment Jimmy opened his mouth, despite my best efforts not to pay attention to a word he said, I was certain of one thing: he has had one acid trip too many.

Jimmy is a fairly handsome guy. You know the sort: eventhough your interests lay with the gentler sex (an oxymoron, if any) you're just baffled how perfect looking this guy is. Except he speaks like someone who is constantly high. Take your average stoner-talk and multiply by a hundred, then slow it down a notch or two. You may get the idea. I started finishing the sentences for him.

He said a lot of things to me, including the number of pills he last took when he went clubbing and who, on staff, has the best pot. After he pointed out who this person was, it sort of all made sense. Just about everyone else here is surly and bitter, the way I like it. He's the only one that's constantly happy about working here. And I mean, happy. He also complained how, when at work, he has to remove his piercings.

I looked up to Jimmy and noticed that there isn't a visible spot that could be pierced, that isn't already pierced. He pointed at his lip. Apparently someone complained to management that he looked like a freak (oh my, imagine that). He also explained how, when he drinks, liquids squirt out of that lip-hole. At this point I had pretty much forgotten who I was thinking about so intensely, much less why. The next priority in line became looking for an excuse to bail out of this conversation, before he had a sip of the drink he was holding.

Back inside, I went behind the counter and stared at the pretty pharmacist for a while. To me it was all very romantic, but she probably took it in a "I know where you live," type of stare. I'm sure she's filed a complaint about me, already.

On my counter there are a variety of things. There is a black box with a button. Nobody knows what it does, nor has anyone pressed it. Yet. Rumour has it that it will detonate hidden explosive charges located throughout the store. If that was the case, I'd already be looking for a new job.

There is the receiver for a portable phone. It's plugged in and active. No idea where the phone went, though I make it a point to press the "Recall" button every time I'm by the counter, in the hopes that it's driving someone, somewhere, insane. In this place, it's only fair to share.

There is a small television set that repeats ad-nauseum how good vitamin E is for you. I turn it off at the beginning of my shift, for I doubt the cheerful voice drilling in my head would convince any jury of my insanity, when I'll finally snap. The young woman in the video, who looks at the jar of vitamins with vivid interest, is very attractive though, so it's a Catch-22 situation. I've actually got into an argument with another staff member about the level of attractiveness of the woman on screen. He considers her below average. Perhaps my sister has a point when she says that I obviously like "flawed" women.

There is a computer, which I am assuming serves some sort of function. I'm unaware as to what this function may be, since no matter what I do with it, I'm rewarded with the following sound: DING! Nothing else happens. Other than that, perhaps it goes to show my ineptitude with computers. All I wanted to do was SSH home and check my mail. I've long given up trying to figure it out, though, sometimes, I sit in front of it to look busy and make all sorts of DING! sounds with it.

Over the announcing system, I hear that Shipping and Receiving is holding for me, on line two. Which brings me to the final object resting on the counter: the department's phone. Our phone lacks some basic functions, like buttons to select a line or to put people on hold. Every other phone in the store has them, but ours. Rather than pressing a convenient button labelled "Line 1" or "Hold," I have to punch in a long series of numbers which, somehow, tell my phone that I want a certain line. I can never remember that series of numbers, so you can guess how many calls I actually manage to answer, in a day. This time, rather than go through the vicious cycle of slamming the phone with my fist, repeatedly, I just walked down in S&R.

S&R is a fascinating place. It looks like a food-fight took place several years ago and that it lasted a few months before a truce was signed. To say that the place is a disaster, it's an understatement. The question, "how did that get stuck there?" has been asked so many times, nobody asks anymore. Though, I must admit, the ability for certain foods to remain stuck on a ceiling and still retain a certain degree of colour and shape for so long that they're still recognizable, should seriously spark some scientific research.

Somewhere, in the dark depths of S&R, there is a toy that's about to die. It's one of those toys that makes sounds. It's probably crushed, hopelessly, behind some shipment. The sound is that of a toy that's about to run out of juice in it's batteries, so whatever happy, cheerful thing it was saying, now sounds like the final song of a dying swan. It does this non-stop.

At first this was pretty hilarious. Everytime I walked in there, you'd hear this crying sound from the toy and I'd chuckle. Two weeks later, this thing has yet to die. And I can't find it. The sound seems to come from the opposite direction of wherever I happen to be standing, while I look for it. I'm not even sure why I am looking for it, but my shrink says I am making progress with how I handle my psychosis, so perhaps this is just a flash-back of sort.

Anyway, I'm told that the order for my department has finally arrived. Not only that, but four week's worth of it, too, so slow has the warehouse been in sending our stuff in and so eager our department has been in ordering stuff that's already been ordered. But that's great, because we were very low on stock. Meanwhile, now I have no idea where I'm supposed to put any of this stuff. To give you an example, we carry a variety of organic potato chips. There are twelve in a box and only nine will go up on a shelf. We received nine boxes of one type of chip alone.

On the bright side, the much awaited order of organic mayonnaise and organic almond milk is finally here. I had poor, desperate pro-organic customers whine like little kids being dragged to school, that we hadn't had any in so long. On the not so bright side, it was crushed during transport--together with almond butter--somewhere between the warehouse and the store. Every other item that survived the delivery which isn't covered in mayonnaise, is wet from the almond milk. Alternatively, it's almond butter and shards of broken glass. The smell does not quite have the same effect of napalm in the morning.

And to think, I waited four weeks for this mess.