Funnily enough, I actually wrote this at work. Apparently Kroger is inspirational.
I don't think people realize how utterly boring it is to bag groceries. I have the honor of experiencing this first hand in eight hour shifts during my very limited spring break. The entire process requires me to stand at the end of a little conveyor belt and place food in plastic bags. It's exhilarating. My only hope is that Boss Man will fire me soon. It had to be coming. Half the time I either showed up late to work or disappeared at random times during the day on account of ghost fighting. But I wasn't really hopeful. I'd been working here an entire year and other than give me evil glares and crappy hours, Boss Man hasn't fired me yet. Granted, it's confusing as to why he puts up with my "slacking tendencies", but I really shouldn't complain too much. After all, I'm lucky I can keep a job between crazy parents, crazier ghosts, and an upcoming senior year.
I just wish it wasn't so boring.
I live a very exciting life, and by exciting I mean ceaselessly moving. I wake up late, rush to school only to arrive late, stay after for detention, ghost fight, go to work, ghostfight, deal with crazy parents after shift, attempt to do homework, and then ghost fight till 3 am. Maybe I should be thankful for the long break from my daily life that Kroger provides for me, but it does the exact opposite. I'm always jumpy and a little paranoid. It's just too weird to do nothing but stand in place and stick food in bags. I'm barely moving, and thats just not normal for Danny Phantom or Fenton.
I've been toying with the idea of just quiting. The only reason I have the job is money for college. Jazz is in her freshman year at Harvard and Mom and Dad pretty much put every penny to her college fund, forgetting about their academically challenged son.
I guess it doesn't matter anyways though. It's not like I'll make it far in college anyways, if I even get into one. Whose going to protect Amity?
I scowled bitterly as I shoved an innocent box of hamburger helper into a plastic bag violently, thinking about all the things I'm missing out on because of my stupid ghost powers. It was times like these I wish I didn't even have them.
"Good evening, Danny Fenton please come to guest services. Danny Fenton to guest services." The garbled intercom echoed around the massive grocery store and I just barely caught my name in the last sentence.
I sighed and pushed away my scowl, knowing any mean facial expressions would just give Boss Man the opportunity to make me clean the bathrooms again.
"Fenton, I want a floor sweep, now." Boss Man's gruff voice cut through the buzzing chatter of the customers as I approached the service counter.
"Yes Sir." I replied in a bored tone, although a little confused. Every one knows floor sweep is a pointless job because the floor is always immaculate. Why was he giving me this useless job? Usually I got all the crappy, difficult jobs, not the crappy, easy ones.
Two more employees walked in and I recognized them as fellow grocery baggers. They clocked in and walked over to the check out lanes, filling in the last of the spots. It quickly became obvious to me that Boss Man had hired more people than he needed, leaving one person, oh, like me, with nothing to do. That's why I was sweeping the immaculate floor. I rolled my eyes irritably, not liking my time being wasted. I could be at home doing homework or hanging with Sam or Tucker. I never get to see them anymore.
I sighed and dragged a long red broom from the cleaning closet, pushing it in front of me and proceeding to walk around aimlessly to look productive. In retrospect, I guess it wasn't too bad of a job. It was way easier to disappear for ghost fights when I was out of Boss Man's hair and sight. Sometimes I think he sticks me on floor sweep just so he doesn't have to deal with me. Why the heck doesn't he just fire me?
I paused in my sweeping duties as I glided down isle 4, coming to a halt in front of a red box with an oddly colored Tucan on the front. I grinned. Seeing Fruitloops cereal always makes me laugh.
Customers were as rude as ever, blocking isles and refusing to move two inches so I could get through. People were annoying sometimes. Of course, those few nice folks you get always make up for the bad ones, usually leaving me with my mood slightly up lifted.
Milk was on sale. I should remember to tell Mom. Oh look, fudge was on the Managers Special today, only .99 cents. Dad would be ecstatic.
I passed down the empty cleaning supplies isle, fought my way through the snack isle, waged war through the frozen section and finally moved wearily down the less populated international foods isle. Floor sweep was like ghost fighting in it's own right sometimes.
"...Heard he'll be here at seven. The managers are frantic, making sure everything is perfect." Some back-stock chick was talking.
"Well duh, of course they are. Isn't he like, the CEO or something?" Another woman popped her bubble gum.
"No, I think he owns tons of stock in the company or something. Or it was he bought it out, but has someone else running the business. I dunno, whoever he is he's important and the managers want us to..."
I moved passed them, not really caring. Apparently there was some big-wig coming to inspect the store. So that's the real reason I'm doing floor sweep. I yawned and stretched, feeling my back muscles groan in slight pain because of a recent fight with Skulker. I glanced at my watch and noticed that it was a little passed six. Ugh, three more hours.
As I was busy mentally lamenting about my endlessly boring job, something insignificant caught my eye. Poptarts had a new flavor, Sugar cookie.
I took the time to pause in my tedious work and look at all the different flavors of Poptarts as they sat in their blue boxes. I think they could make their own grocery store of flavors. They'll start having full course meal flavors and protein substitute flavors any day now. They'll probably taste like crap though and then their entire business with fail because of the stupid mistake of introducing totally weird flavors. The berry blast thing was bad enough. It looked radioactive.
Yes. This really is what I think about when I have nothing to do. See why this is such a bad job for me? If I'm not careful I'll end up plotting world domination out of sheer boredom. Vlad would be so proud.
"Clean up on isle 9, clean up on isle 9." The garbled voice vomited out of the speakers again and I groaned. Since I was on floor sweep that means clean up is my problem. I just prayed it wasn't salad dressing again. My hands smelled like vinegar for days after that mess.
I reluctantly ambled over to isle 9, taking my sweet time. Thankfully, it wasn't salad dressing, not thankfully, it was chocolate syrup. Now this may sound good, but some kid had taken the liberty to open and dump several bottles of the dark chocolaty treat all over the place, leaving copious amounts of sweet goo dripping off of shelves and flooding the floor. Perfect. I smacked my forehead.
"You've gotta be kidd-"
"You certainly got the smaller stick, didn't ya son." An customer came up from behind me suddenly, making me jump ten feet in the air. I hated it when customers did that.
"Yeah, my boss hates me." I shrugged, plastering on a smile over my scowl and hoping he'd leave soon. I wasn't a very happy person when I had to scrub sticky chocolate from floors.
Sighing, I leaned the broom against a shelf and left to get the necessary cleaning supplies. Honestly, I had no idea how I was going to clean this mess up. Usually I'd use this weird Spill Magic stuff that looked like blue dust bunnies and turned liquids into solids so I could sweep it up. But chocolate syrup wasn't a liquid, it was goo, so what the heck should I use?
Scratching my head, I decided to grab the whole cleaning cart from the closet and just try different things one at a time until one worked. It was a stupid plan, but I didn't really care. Hopefully I wouldn't be done in time for the big-wig that was supposed to show and Boss Man would finally fire me.
After dragging the cleaning cart to isle 9 and shooing a few kids away, I set out cautions signs and grabbed paper towels, staring at the daunting task as it dripped from shelves and puddled all over the floor. This was gonna take forever.
---- - - - -
Turns out that Spill Magic stuff was not a good idea to use. When I poured the blue dust bunnies on one of the puddles, it fused with the chocolate and suddenly adhered to the floor like gum, resulting in me looking like a total idiot to all the passerbys as I glared at the useless cleaning supplies.
Grumbling angrily, I tried to find some way to remove the sticky blue-brown gum. Paper towels stuck to the mess, the mop was already dyed a permanent brown along with the once clean mop water, I wasn't allowed to use regular Lysol or anything because there was already some weird cleaning agent in the flooring. I didn't really have any options left except for water and scrub brush, so I resorted to literally scrubbing the floor with a bucket of hot water and brush, using the gross mop water to wash out the brush and dip it back in the less than pristine water. Rolling the sleeves of my uniform up and bending over a particularly large puddle, I leaned over the mess and got to work, low obscenities streaming from my mouth. This was the sight that a very amused Vlad Masters saw me in.
"Why Daniel, you look like a regular Cinderella."
I froze and spun around, my stomach dropping and face stricken. What the heck was he doing here? This was a normal persons, not rich, full of cheap food, grocery store.
"What the heck are you doing here Vlad?" My expression changing to irritation quickly.
"Nothing that concerns you-"
"For once." I grumbled and Vlad rolled his eyes.
"-Actually, I'm here simply to check up on one of my business."
Wait, Vlad was the big-wig? Duh. Totally should have seen that coming.
"Fantastic. How about you go back to checking and I'll get back to working." I scowled, returning to my task and wishing he'd go away. No such luck.
"Ah, Daniel, you misunderstand me. As part of my job I need to make sure everything is running smoothly within the store, especially the employees, and I've gotten plenty of complaints about a certain black haired, blue-eyes teenager who barely does his job." Vlad leaned against the clean part of the shelf, grinning from ear to ear.
I slowly turned back around, eying him suspiciously.
"Are you here to fire me?" I couldn't keep the hopeful elation out of my voice despite the suspicious glare.
Vlad laughed, standing straight, mirth in his eyes.
"My dear boy, I'm the reason you still even have your job. Why would I fire you?"
I stared at him, totally not getting it.
"Huh?" I asked intelligently.
Vlad rolled his eyes, smirking cruelly.
"As I said, I've gotten many complaints about you. Had I been anyone else, you would have been fired ages ago, but why would I fire the son of my best friend." The last couple words were heavy with sarcasm, making my glare deepen.
I can't believe that all this time, Vlad has been the one saving me from termination. There was just no logical reason.
"Why don't you just fire me?" I asked.
"Because I enjoy causing problems for you." He grinned maliciously.
"Perfect." I growled, "As if my life wasn't stressful enough."
"Your life could easily be much better if you'd simply drop your ridiculous hero complex and come stay with me, you know." Vlad leaned back against the shelf, watching me as I turned back to my work.
"Yeah, and my life could also be much easier if you didn't exist, but we all can't get what we want." I scrubbed the floor viciously.
"I disagree. I get what I want on a regular basis." Vlad picked as his nails in a bored fashion.
"If that's the case then how goes the plan to get the married woman and her kid?" I shot him a cheeky grin.
Surprisingly, Vlad smirked.
"It's actually going quite smoothly. I already have the kid working for me." He grinned smugly.
It took a moment for that to process, but when it did I felt like I'd been verbally smacked in the face. Vlad was my boss.
"Ew." was about all I could manage.
Vlad took in my disgusted look and rolled his eyes.
"Really Daniel, would it honestly be that bad to be my apprentice?" He scowled.
"Probably not, but there's this whole 'renounce-your-father' thing that I'm just not cool with." I shrugged.
"Your father is an idiot." I heard Vlad mumble as he glared at the Club Crackers.
"Your an idiot, Vlad." I mumbled back.
"Says the C student."
"Hey." I turned and brandished the gross scrub brush at him. "You know damn well I wouldn't suck at school so much if it wasn't for crack heads like you keeping me up all night."
"I have a novel idea, Daniel. How about instead of blaming everyone else for your problems you take responsibility for your actions and face the fact that it's your fault your grades are so miserable."
I glared furiously at him.
"Like your one to lecture me about blame and responsibility, you hypocrite." I spat.
Vlad glared furiously back.
"I advise you to watch your tongue, little badger. You shouldn't get yourself caught up in things you can't handle."
I laughed harshly.
"Stop treating me like a child just because you can't handle the truth, Plasmius."
Vlad was fuming. It was awesome and I was so dead later.
"So, you ready to fire that lousy black haired, blue eyed employee yet?" I broke in, interrupting our glaring stalemate.
"Not even close, boy. I do so relish the fact that, despite your years of adamant refusal, you are working for me in some way." he smirked cruelly.
I resumed glaring at him, but Vlad ignored it, looking at his watch.
"I should be getting back to my evaluation. Can't waste all my time on you, now can I?" Vlad brushed invisible dirt off his sleeve.
"Of course not. Obsessing over things is unhealthy after all." I gave him a look, but he ignored it again.
"I'll see you soon Daniel. Have fun scrubbing the floors like an urchin." He turned around to leave and I flipped him off.
"Tons." I replied flatly, returning back to the chocolate sauce.
I had a feeling that Vlad wasn't finished though. The way he just abruptly walked away left a bubble of apprehension in my stomach. I considered following after him as Phantom, but Boss Man would be pissed if I didn't finish cleaning this mess.
Ugh. I can't believe that I work for Vlad.
Seriously, how messed up is that? I know it's not how either of us envisioned it, but still, it's so gross to know that he's my boss. Should have guessed though. He owns practicality every business in the country.
My scrubbing steadily became more violent and harsh, that bubble of apprehension refusing to leave. It was just too weired the way he suddenly left. He has to be planning something. Or am I just paranoid?
A sudden chorus of screams and several flashes lit up an isle in the far corner of the store. I swore furiously and quickly dropped the scrub brush, instantly rushing to the isle under siege to see what the problem was. There were several more very familiar pink flashes of light up ahead, accompanied by an odd sound that I couldn't place. I was just about to jump into the store room and go ghost when the blasts stopped. A curious feeling spread through me as people stopped screaming and instead started staring down the attacked cereal isle with gaping mouths.
I ran faster, pushing my way pasts the crowds and meeting the mother of all messes.
Melted marsh-mellows hung and dripped from every shelf, long, white, sticky strands spread across the entire isle like spiderwebs. Random bottles of vinegar were smashed across the ground, mixing with the pools of melted ice cream and creating a ghastly smell. Random foods from three isles over had mysteriously made there way here and somehow exploded, leaving bits of pickle, cracker, noodle, and everything else clinging to the marsh-mellow. Cereal was strewn everywhere, almost all of the boxes ripped open. The final clue was the Fruitloops, reduced to nothing but a pile of ash.
"Good evening. Danny Fenton clean up on isle 4, Danny Fenton to isle 4."
All I could do was stare at the vomit of foods dripping and falling to the puddles on the floor with squelches and splats, my furious breath increasing as I realized I had at least two hours of work, past my shift, ahead of me.
"VLAD I'M GONNA KILL YOU!"
I really wanted to stick a kinky, chocolate syrup joke in here, but I couldn't find a spot to put it. T_T Bummer.