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art and poetry » Stories.

phi_'s avatar
5 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
I like stories. We should share some. This just happened with my mom a few days ago:

I was talking with my mom about her uncle, Jeff. They're the same age. He still lives with the remainder of my family in West Virginia in Princeton living off disability from some back injury/injuries and odd jobs around town. She had just got off the phone with him. "Oh, shit, John. He's crazy." I laughed.
"What happened now?" I asked.
"He just got his first cell phone so now he's calling me every day. He just calls and yells, 'Hi, Mo!' then just rambles on about his day."
I didn't think this was too out there, but she continued, "He called to tell me he got out on bond yesterday. 'I came home the other day, Mo, and someone took all my shit!' It's probably drugs. I don't know. But then he said he knew who it was. It was a 'known criminal.'" She paused a bit, judging my reaction, "Do you know what he did? He went up to the store and bought an axe handle and went to the guy's house. 'I knocked on his door and just beat the snot out of him. Sent him to the hospital. Not sure how I didn't kill the guy, I beat the holy hell out of him. Anyway, I got a court date for attempted murder next month, don't tell your mother, and I'll still be coming down to visit you this winter. Maybe you can find me one of those Mexican women. I know they don't age well, but it's fine.'"

lucas's avatar
5 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
haha, that's pretty good. i'll work on coming up with a story. my life isn't too colorful these days.
asemisldkfj's avatar
5 years ago
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asemisldkfj
the law is no protection
wow.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.

So my friend's house is probably haunted.

I think you all know me well enough to know how I feel about anything paranormal/supernatural/religious. But I'm willing to give on this one.

This is the same house that my brother and I lived in for a year a ways back. (Side note: to this day, neither my brother nor I have any memories regarding our shared bathroom. We used it. But neither of us can actually remember using it.)

Anyway, the house belongs to my friend's parents. They have their own place elsewhere in town and my friend just lives in this otherwise empty house. My friend, Renz for short, is pretty boring. He works, he sleeps, he watches TV. He cleans, doesn't do any drugs, just kinda chills. He's also pretty fucking fearless and hard to catch off guard.

That's the necessary context for these little bits.

First, in Renz's childhood bedroom there's a small door in the closet leading to a section of attic. It closes with a real doorknob, has real door jams, etc. It's a door, only about 3' high and 2' wide. When you close it, it stays shut. You can pull, push, jiggle, shake. It stays shut. But every few days or so, we would come home to find this door open and whatever was by it knocked over. We thought racoons were getting clever and left it at that.

About a year or so after my brother and I moved out, I get a call from Renz.

"Hey ... did your brother ever own a ouija board?"
"Nah, we've never owned own ... don't think I've ever seen a real one, either."
"You sure? Did Schlem?" (Schlem is another friend who lived there briefly after we did.)
"Don't think so. Never heard him talk about one."
"You sure?"
"YES. Why?"
"Man, I went to put some boxes in the attic behind my closet and there was this fuckin' ouija board just all set up."
I laughed into the phone pretty hard, "Really?"
"Yeah, man. If it ain't yours then I'm just throwing it out."
"Fine with me."

He did throw it out. And it wasn't because it spooked him, he just didn't want one and figured why keep it around. That's the kind of guy he is.

Periodically he will also hear someone running around upstairs or up and down the stairs or beating on his walls. He's called the cops a few times because he thought someone was robbing the place and didn't realize he was home. Cops search the place and nothing is even out of place anyway so they leave. I went over to his house one of these times and the cops were on their way out. He spent the next month with his pistol under his pillow.

Lights upstairs will turn on and off, doors will open and close fully. But that's really been the bulk of it. We laugh and taunt the "demon" as we call it. We keep it real.

I swung by his place today to pick up a few boxes of VHS tapes a friend left there. We sat out back having a cigarette.

"Man, so that fuckin' thing is messing with me again," Renz said.
I chuckle. "Did it open a door and then close it like a responsible ghost?"
"Nah... I was playing ME2 last night. Just chilling. Didn't even have the volume up very high because I had been on the phone with Tiff. And then something just started beating on the wall behind my headboard. Scared the fuck outta me. Then from the TV came this god awful scream. It wasn't a screeching, or feedback, it sounded like someone in fucking pain. And it was loud. The speakers were starting to crack and distort like I had the volume maxed out. I shot outta bed before I realized the game was probably just messing up, so I closed the game ... and the scream just kept fucking coming. I started changing the channel on the TV thinking the PS3 was messed up, but it didn't matter what I did it just kept fucking screaming. Finally I just unplugged the fucking thing from the wall and went outside for a smoke."
I looked at him, kind of in disbelief, and laugh again, "Bullshit."
"Why would I lie about this?"
"I don't know, but that's pretty ridiculous."
"Well it fuckin' happened."
He looked serious. And tired. I don't think he went back to sleep, but he never said as much. I didn't ask. It clearly had upset him, so something had happened.

Oh, and while I was living there I had my dogs. They used to sit upstairs and bark and bark and snarl and then they would stop and whimper and piss all over the floor. I just thought they were being stupid, but maybe not. Maybe the place is haunted. *shrug*

asemisldkfj's avatar
4 years ago
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asemisldkfj
the law is no protection
I need to experience this.
Carpetsmoker's avatar
4 years ago
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Carpetsmoker
Martin
Are you *sure* your friend doesn't do drugs?
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
Yeah. It's probably all just weird coincidences ... but we'll find out I guess.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
r1, link
phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
This is the story of how I ended up promising my manager not to laugh and then hang up on customers.

(lots and lots of foul language. and the dialogue is verbatim, though I can't remember quite all the creative language the customer used.)

I was waiting for my delivery to come out of the oven; it still had another 6 or 7 minutes remaining. The phone was ringing non-stop. CSR up front was busy. I answered.

"Thank you for calling Pizza Hut, my name is John. With this be for delivery or carry out?"
"Are you a fucking manager," he spat out. His voice was clean and intensely focused if that makes sense.
"No, sir, I'm not. But short of refunding a credit card I can help you. What's wrong?"
"I've called three or four fucking times, and the bitch answering the phone kept putting me on fucking hold. I'm fucking furious and you shitheads need to learn how the fuck to run a god damn business, you dumb fucks. If I need to call and complain to your fucking GM or corporate number I fucking will. And I'm so sick of that dumb as a rock fucking bitch, and she should be fucking fired right fucking now."
"Huh... okay, I'm sorry about that. But I can help. What do you need?"
"I want to know if you deliver to my fucking house."
"That I can tell you right now. Just need your address. If we don't deliver there, I'll give you the number for the Pizza Hut that does for sure."
"Good, I'm glad someone there can fucking do something. That dumb cunt couldn't do shit. She was pissing me off, that fucking cunt."
I paused. Growing up in East Texas, one thing that is hammered into us from birth is that you never, ever talk about or to a woman like this. It will get your teeth knocked out. (I've seen it happen.)
"Yeah, I'm not going to help you. You can't talk about people like this and I'm not going to put up with it."
"Then you're a fucking cunt too, you prick. You dumb motherfucker, you ..."
"Yeah, that's fine," I sighed, "I don't care."
"I want to talk to your fucking manager right fucking now, you dumb cunt motherfucker."
I had to put him on hold for this. The very thought of it made me titter.
"Please hold," I laughed out and muted the phone (we don't have an actual 'hold' function on the phones). I went to set it down and grab the manager but stopped about halfway there.
"Fuck this guy," I thought, and hung up the phone.

I thought for a minute before calling out to the manager, "I think you're gonna have a very angry guy call back in a second. He's an asshole and irrational. Fair warning."

He did call back, maybe 2 or 3 minutes later. My manager answers and spends 10 minutes on the phone with the guy and actually manages to get his address, to which we (thankfully) don't deliver. This guy wants the numbers for corporate complaints, as well as the GM's number, and said that the "dumb cunt" and "the dumb fuck John" need to be fired ... and on food stamps. I'm still not sure how that makes sense as some angry demand. The manager gives him the corporate number, but won't give out the GM's number. Instead, he makes out a note for the GM to call him tomorrow morning when he gets in.

After all that, the manager calls the GM to prep him for what is coming. They talk a while about everything then the manager comes up to me.

"John, yeah, you can not laugh at a customer then hang up on them. Like ever."
"That guy was being irrational and referred to my coworker and myself as 'cunts,' I stand by that action, regardless of how petty it was."
"No, that's fine. But really don't do it again."
I laughed pretty hard, "Okay, I promise I won't laugh at any more customers and hang up on them."

Tomorrow I get to open with the GM, so I'm sure I'll get to go over it again after his conversation with the crazy guy.

And Sunday morning we have a store-wide meeting on customer complaints and proper protocol. So much fun.

lucas's avatar
4 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
damn.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
I've never experienced quite the amount of vitiriol as I do at this store. It's such a shit job with even worse pay. While that guy is definitely the angriest customer (non-customer?) I've had to deal with, there are plenty. At least a few a day. You'd be amazed at how many times I've had someone scream "THERE AREN'T ENOUGH FUCKING TOPPINGS ON MY FUCKING PIZZA, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU DUMB FUCKS?" (Verbatim from last night.) I spent two years unemployeed and borderline homeless at times, and this isn't worth it. I got a raise, from $4.25/hr to $4.30/hr, and they asked me if I was happy about it. How does one appropriately show thanks for a whole extra nickel an hour? That means when I end up on yet another 13 hour day, I make an extra 60/70 cents on a paycheck that barely breaks three digits? That's an extra $2 per week! My god, what gracious benefactors. This corporate sharecropping nonsense is going to be the death of me. And it will be a slow death. Without healthcare ... because they pay me so little even the ACA doesn't help me. For real, I was told I just wouldn't get penalized for not having insurance, but I can still go ahead and spend an entire paycheck a month just to cover the god damned premium. That's why I hung up on that guy. Because I deal with shit day-in--day-out for nothing, with a bunch of selfish coworkers, and all with a big smile while upselling with action words to some angry asshole who is upset his pizza arrived 10 minutes late last time he ordered.

Rant done. I gotta go to work now.
nestor's avatar
4 years ago
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nestor
nestor
no words, man. hope that improves. i don't think i could handle it.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
You just have to vent it out. UH gives me more headaches than work does anyway. *shrug*
asemisldkfj's avatar
4 years ago
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asemisldkfj
the law is no protection

I got a raise, from $4.25/hr to $4.30/hr, and they asked me if I was happy about it.



how does anyone in their right mind expect someone to respond to this? with genuine gratitude? you'd have to be a serious fuckwit to even ask this question with a straight face and not immediately kill yourself. I watched someone complain about only getting one snackwrap at mcdonald's earlier today and then ask "why doesn't anyone have nametags up here? I want everyone's names," and then the manager reply, "that's not going to happen. you want another snackwrap?" then she stormed out. minimum wage jobs are fucking criminal.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
I love how management will bend over backwards to pay their employees as little as possible. As one of the cooks at work, who just quit the old-fashioned way of no-call/no-show, said, "If they pay the minimum, they're going to get the minimum." At least this company doesn't drug test. Small victory there.
lucas's avatar
4 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
i think that's a widely-held belief by labor economists, too. you have to pay an efficiency wage (a higher amount) to elicit real effort and care. if you pay the minimum, workers give zero fucks. and rightfully so, especially when that's in the $4/hour range.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
lucas, that makes sense. They way they pay us is way more complicated than it need be, too. If my reported tips plus my $4.30/hr wage don't come to minimum wage, they are legally required to pay the difference. Example, with plenty of rounding:

If I work a 10 hour shift, at minimum wage (in Texas, $7.25/hr), I would make $72.50. At my $4.30/hr wage, a 10 hour shift would yield $43. If my reported tips only come up to $20, I'm still $9.50 short for minimum wage and the company would pay that to me on my paycheck.



This pay scheme is fucking dumb. Not to mention that tipping is presented to the customer as a way to show gratitude for excellent service. It allows the company to pay us less, because our pay is determined by the gratitude shown from the customers (this coming from a company with a >$1bn net income). This requires us, the employees, to bend over backwards and break many a company policy (under instruction from the managers) all so that the customer will be properly satisfied. Kinda like satisfying the capricious Caesars of Rome, if you want to be extremely cynical about it. I don't agree with this scheme, but I'd deal with it just fine if it weren't for one thing: the customer can unilaterally break this social contract with impunity. And then scream at me. People have bad days, I get it and I don't usually bat an eye when someone starts talking loudly to me.

The shocking lack of empathy from customers, combined with the universal holier-than-thou religious conservatism of suburban/rural Texas where I work, presents us with little hope for improvement. It burns us out, most burn out quickly, and forces us to quit. Turnover. More new people come in and slow things down because we have to train them and get them up to speed. Now things are slow. Pizza going in slow. Being delivered slow. It happens. But when you have to hire new people every 2 months, you get a lot of slow days. A lot of late orders. A lot of irritated customers, which means no tip and plenty of yelling and store credit. Then they use the store credit another day... and it's on time! But the pizza is free so they don't tip again. They got a free meal; I got stiffed twice. TNSTAAFL... externalized to the employees. Since I'm not being tipped I must not be providing good customer service, so I should just "try harder!" Oh, by the way there's been a lot of complaints from customers about late or wrong orders, so the DM decides to fire a couple of people. So it's time to train new fish. Oh hey, a pattern. Color me shocked.
lucas's avatar
4 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
i could analyze that pay scheme using some personnel economics, but i'm in the middle of a game theory field exam (it's a 24 hour take-home). i think the basic story is the pay scheme is optimal if pizza hut would never ever need to pay the difference. but if they ever need to pay that difference, then they're going to see some fraction of their employees give zero fucks some of the time. there's much more analysis possible, but i think this is probably correct (given standard assumptions).

yeah, sounds like awful personnel management to me. isn't it amazing how wrong such big corporations can get things? you'd think they'd hire someone with some sense, especially with thousands of employees. it's fucking comical.
Carpetsmoker's avatar
4 years ago
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Carpetsmoker
Martin
Call me a communist, but IMHO most minimum-wage jobs should be paid at least double on account of being so shit.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
I feel like the entire minimum wage debate is centered around "how little can we pay people?" And that is a tremendously shitty mindset.
phi_'s avatar
4 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
lucas:

Thinking back to your comment about optimal pay schemes... you're right, it's ideal for the company whenever they don't have to pay the difference. Less cost for them. However, that means they're hoping they don't have to pay the difference. By relying on customers to pay them. But by and large everyone understands how shitty food service people get treated and tipped. Keep the wage low enough, and there will be enough turnover to ensure coverage of the store-- even if by a bunch of newbies and overworked managers that are too stuck to leave. This makes some economic sense, but is so shitty. How could this be an acceptable practice for a company? How did we get here? :-/
phi_'s avatar
3 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.

I spent 5 hours at the dentist today. Got a crown put on yesterday, then last night the entire tooth broke. They had to post the new crown today. More work will be done on Tuesday. I finally got dental insurance so I'm blowing through it as fast as I can. If I don't lose this job soon, I will probably quit.

I've seen the lowest of humanity at this job. A co-worker was murdered, beaten to death in his bedroom, another got hit by a drunk driver and was somehow found at-fault for the accident so is barred from driving for us for three years. Another driver was held up at gunpoint the other day. She just started about a week and a half ago. The guys descended on her with a gun and essentially fondled her to make sure she wasn't holding out--she only had $15 on her. She cried and cried until she got back to the store. I had to sit with her outside and help her call the police and then I had to call the corporate risk management hotline to report the robbery. They spent more time asking me about the food that was taken than the poor girl. I mean, I get it to an extent. They can't do much for her via questions, and once they ascertain her identity it's just paperwork at that point.

I've been berated by management for how I run my shifts to the point that both the region manager and area manager monitor the store's security cameras on my shifts then send me e-mails and text messages about what they see. The new store manager asks me to work 17 hour shifts so he can go home early. I had one customer throw trash at me, another threaten me (then he ended up writing a silly Yelp review, so it was kind of anticlimactic), and more and more curse and scream at me until I shake. I step outside for cigarettes frequently on busy days. I need to escape that noise, that nightmarish landscape of grease and oil. The fryers hiss and howl most days, the oven just roars and bangs. My head hurts a lot, my back more so. My vacation got pushed back again, but hopefully I get to take it this time. I'm being pissy and depressed, but more often now I just sit back and try and figure out what I should be doing. What would make me happy, even if just for now.

I want to help people, even if a lot of them are miserable--and I don't feel like that's an outrageous thing to say. So I think I'm going to try and find a non-profit gig, even part time. Maybe I'll take to living out of a car/truck like a few of my employees. Maybe I will find a cheap room in town, or in the boonies, and just live a simple little life while sending most of my money to student loan payments.

In the meantime, I'm going to take another swig of Jack and rock out to some Rail Yard Ghosts before going to bed for another 12+ hour shift. I'm gonna dance and sing tonight, because tomorrow I will be back in a uniform and getting yelled at for what comes out to, maybe, ~$10/hour.

nny's avatar
3 years ago
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nny
M̮͈̣̙̰̝̃̿̎̍ͬa͉̭̥͓ț̘ͯ̈́t̬̻͖̰̞͎ͤ̇ ̈̚J̹͎̿̾ȏ̞̫͈y̭̺ͭc̦̹̟̦̭̫͊̿ͩeͥ̌̾̓ͨ
oof.
nny's avatar
3 years ago
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nny
M̮͈̣̙̰̝̃̿̎̍ͬa͉̭̥͓ț̘ͯ̈́t̬̻͖̰̞͎ͤ̇ ̈̚J̹͎̿̾ȏ̞̫͈y̭̺ͭc̦̹̟̦̭̫͊̿ͩeͥ̌̾̓ͨ
hope shit's gotten better for you phi... sounds like some dark days to push through.
phi_'s avatar
3 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
Eh, I just write out the shitty parts to 'purge' them. I'm doing fine. Life is hard and messy, but still fun.
lucas's avatar
2 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
that's good.

i worry that i also give people that impression sometimes, but i'm also generally pretty happy. :]
phi_'s avatar
2 years ago
r1, link
phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
this post has been archived.
lucas's avatar
2 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
sorry about that archive feature. god i wrote the most ridiculous software 10-15 years ago...
Carpetsmoker's avatar
2 years ago
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Carpetsmoker
Martin
> god i wrote the most ridiculous software 10-15 years ago...

Every programmer ever.
phi_'s avatar
2 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
Hahaha. Never apologize for experimenting, larz. Nothing gets done without it.
lucas's avatar
2 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
i don't remember coding this, but it looks pretty cool!

http://static.foreverlarz.com/share/ttf/priva … 161128.png

doesn't work, apparently. haha
lucas's avatar
2 years ago
r1, link
lucas
i ❤ demo
basically, there would be "privacy" link on your old revision. click it, enter your reason to hide the revision, and the level of privacy you request. i get the request, approve it, and boom. revision gets that level of privacy.

cause of course i would never just delete anything. i've edited a few records (without a proper revision) and i have to take a shower afterward each time. but i keep a tally in my user profile. you know, just to document my own abuse of my own system.

i have issues.
lucas's avatar
2 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
every week after i finish teaching (i'm usually burnt out then), i should smoke some pot and code on ttf.

then months later, i'd discover new, useful features!