Monologue of a Co-Worker Recorded while Polishing Silverware at the Stanford Faculty Club
Hey what’s up, you mind if I sit here? I figure you’re polishing silverware, I’m polishing silverware; we might as well polish together. Also, I’m avoiding management. Management has this rule, we’re not allowed to wear jewelry on the clock. But you see this diamond stud in my ear? I never take it out. It’s there to remind me of who I am. I’m not just a common waiter; I’m only eighteen. I got career potential. Management is a little upset. If I sit here, they might not notice my earring. You mind? Thanks!
So, how long you been working this crazy job? I been here two weeks, but I’m thinking of quitting. When I first signed up for this job, I signed up to be a server. You see how we’re washing forks? That is not what I call serving. It’s better than the last job I had though. The last job I had was at Pet Mart. You know, the pet store? But I don’t work there anymore. Why not? I don’t know. I guess because I got fired. I guess because I was stealing. What was I stealing? I don’t know. Just stuff. Merchandise. Not that much actually, just everything I could get my hands on. Actually, some of the stuff I got was really sweet. Like one time, I stole these two fish tank filters. You know those things that filter out the water in your fish tank? Do you have any idea how much those things cost apiece? Like a hundred and fifty bucks. Each. Yeah, so added together that’s like almost five hundred bucks. I don’t have a fish tank myself, so I gave them to a friend. My friend Ed, he raises goldfish. He didn’t actually need two filters ‘cause he’s only got one tank. But I gave him both anyway because I look out for my friends like that. Plus, I didn’t really have a use for them. You should see his tank now. It’s like, the cleanest damn fish tank you’ve ever seen. Did I ever steal actual fish? Yeah, I stole a few fish. I stole everything. No, no birds. A couple of other animals. A hamster, once.
I guess I don’t know what all exactly I stole ‘cause sometimes, I’d just let my friends come in, and take whatever they wanted. I’ve got their backs like that. Didn’t I know I’d get caught? Yeah, I guess. I mean, I knew there were security cameras and all, I just didn’t think anyone ever watched them. Plus, I didn’t really care. It’s not like I wanted to work at Pet Mart forever, you know? They have all this inventory that gets dropped off on the first floor. But they want it set up on the second floor, and they didn’t even have a elevator. So we had to haul that shit up the stairs every single day. Man, that pissed me off. That’s when I decided well hell, I’m gonna get all I can out of this crazy job. So I called up a friend of mine who has this German Shepherd. I said, come on down to the store. Then I gave him a shopping cart, and he walked up and down the aisles and put anything he wanted in it. Then I just let him walk right past my register without paying. He did that a bunch of times. That was one spoiled German Shepherd, man. It must have had the summer of its life. It was in, like, dog heaven. I look out for my friends like that.
Money? Yeah, I stole money. I didn’t at first, but I sort of built up to it. Like, first I stole merchandise, and then animals and then after a while, I started cleaning out the cash register. What I would do is: lots of times people don’t want their receipts, right? So I’d save up the receipts and at the end of the day, I’d run them back through the cash register, like people were returning stuff. But of course no one was actually returning anything, and I just put the money straight in my pocket. It was a pretty sweet system, but it didn’t work perfectly because, say I ran a receipt for $13.95, right? Instead of $13.95, I’d put fifty bucks in my pocket.
One day, I came in to work and the inventory guy was there. I was like: oh, shit. I knew what was going down. The manager called me into his office. The manager was actually a really cool guy. Like, I was cool with him, and he was cool with me and we were cool with each other. But he had to call me in his office ‘cause at that point I’d stolen like half their stuff, and the shelves were sort of empty. He was like, hey man, I had to call you in here ‘cause half our stuff’s missing, and we wanted to ask: have you been stealing? I was like: oh hell, no. Then he said: look man, we know you’ve been stealing ‘cause we caught you on camera. So you’d better just confess, okay? So then I was like, yeah okay, I stole some stuff. He said: what stuff? I said: well, you know … some plants and a couple of fish, and I basically made up a list of stuff I’d supposedly stolen. He said it came to about two hundred and fifty bucks, and they’d have to send me a bill. (But to this day, they’ve never sent me a bill, I swear to God.) Then he asked: did you ever steal money? I was like: oh hell, no. And he said: okay.
After that I worked at Roy’s Coffee.
I didn’t work at Roy’s for very long either though, ‘cause I got fired. Why did I get fired? I don’t know. I guess there was sort of this tiny problem with, you know, drug consumption. Oh yeah, and I also got in trouble for stealing. The situation with the drugs was this: you know about whipped cream, right? You know how it comes out of cans? Well the cans have this thing inside that makes the cream shoot out. But if there’s no whipped cream in there, the stuff that shoots out can make you high. It’s like, methalene dioxide or something. Not carbon dioxide, but the other stuff. When you breathe it in, it makes you light-headed. Yeah, it’s sort of like that game you play with your friends when you’re little, the one where you kneel down and hyperventilate, and then you stand up fast and have one of your friends slug you in the chest, and you pass out cold. You never played that game? Serious? Wow. Well anyway, it’s sort of like that game.
It wasn’t just me doing it either. It was a bunch of people. Actually it was everyone who worked there. Me and this girl I knew, and the day-shift manager, we’d do it the most often. We’d sit on those sweet couches they have at Roy’s, and get high together after hours. Me and that girl, we both got fired. The day-shift manager? Well no, they didn’t fire him. I mean, it’s pretty hard to find a good day-shift manager and all. The stealing part went this way: one day, before I got fired, that same girl came in. She asked me to make her a drink, so I did. And I gave it to her for free, because she was a employee. Only, she wasn’t on the clock at the time (actually, she’d already been fired) so they said it was stealing, and they fired me. I know, it was hella unfair. It was bullshit. Oh yeah, and before I made her the drink, I let her fill up a huge bag with whatever she wanted in the store, like coffee beans and sandwiches and shit, and I let her walk out without paying. Know why? That’s right! I look out for my friends like that.
Yeah, I knew the security camera was on. Why did I do it then? I don’t know. No, I don’t like getting fired. I mean, I know I don’t exactly go out of my way to avoid it, but it still kind of sucks to get fired, you know? I didn’t tell my parents about it. I just told them I didn’t feel like working there anymore. What would my parents say if they knew the truth? Well, to be honest, I think they secretly know.
Anyway, now I work here. Man, we have to polish a lot of silverware. Do you think the manager likes me? I hope he likes me so I get a raise faster. Hey look, these forks fit right in your pocket. Hey, by the way, we’re co-workers now, and that means friends. So I just want you to know that I’ve got your back. I’m looking out for you now. If there’s ever anything you need, just let me know.