“At three months you get the option of, basically, never actually working again.”
“Here at Aid Rite you will never ‘watch the clock’ and you will NEVER have a bad day at work!”
“Life is waiting for you outside of Aid Rite!”
“Aid Rite, never take work home with you!”
“Aid Rite, where you will be your own dog!”
The boxes keep coming non-stop. There is a constant motor hum and an insistent clickityclack that the boxes make when they move from the conveyer belt to the rolling pins. My box cutter makes a shish-shish-shish-shish sound as I rotate the box. When a box hits the exit conveyor belt it makes vvvhhheeesshhh sound until the box catches up with the belt speed. The workers on both my left and right are faster, but they don’t care about my speed. The boxes keep coming…hummm, clickity-clack, shish-shish-shish-shish, vvvhhheeesshhh…they keep moving. There is almost no sound. The seconds tick by slowly. My productivity sheet says I cut 30,000 boxes daily. My manager wants 50,000 cut daily and wants me to plug in when my option is given tomorrow. I am nervous.
They say when one plugs in that it goes black for a moment, like a three-second blink, and that’s it. That some days, after being plugged, you’ll find cuts on your hands or that some of your muscles are sore but that’s it. Your day of work is completed in as long as it takes to finish a three-second blink. There are other options, like being plugged and watching your favorite movies all shift, but most opt to take the three-second nap. Coworkers tell me it’s great. They say that it’s like being on vacation for a living.
There are no educational programs while plugged in. When you’re off of work, it’s always off so you can spend time with all your family and friends. Aid Rite is lobbying for lowering the legal starting age for a worker to thirteen and also wants folks who are good at video games. One of their sayings is, “Dexterity leads to prosperity.” And many of my co-workers believe it.
Plugged workers get pay increases with time and also anytime they are updated. Being updated is having a download put into a bio-drive that has grown into a worker’s brain. It programs a plugged worker to cut faster and, in down time, relieve muscle soreness. When Aid Rite first started the program twenty years ago, workers would become crippled with arthritis because plugged people only used one side or the other, and muscle build up would inversely affect the body as a whole. At that time, workers would only have one job that they could be programmed to do and they would not switch from one day to the next performing their onus with different sides of the body. That has changed; all programs are now ambidextrous. New programs are coming out all the time. Unfortunately the bio-drive updates that pay best are those that also expand the bio-drive a little bit, and because of this there is less room in the cranial cavity. However, these are the updates that pay BIG and only a small change in personality can be detected by those who really know a worker.
“At Aid Rite, a little bit can make you ZIP, ZIP, ZIP all the way to the bank!” Aid Rite gives special incentives to families that become Aid Rite employees too. Like getting in free to the Aid Rite amusement park.
“At Aid Rite we are all one and one for all!”
So many of my friends and family are now plugged that I still do not know why I am a nervous wreck this morning. I should be calm. It doesn’t look so bad. Also, I know what I’m going to say. I’m going to decline their offer. My uncle became a manager for higher pay. Since then he never gets any of my jokes. My mom too. She used to love to paint. I love writing classical music. My brother camps all the time, but he can only go on weekends and complains that it’s a lot of work constantly packing up and putting up and tearing down camp for one night. None of them get holidays off. My niece has seen almost every movie known to man, but can only recall bits and pieces of them. My life is boring, I hate cutting boxes and I hate working. I wish I could write my music all of the time.
“Here at Aid Rite you can write your music ALL of the time!”
I met my manager once, while at a bar, before he became a manager. He had just been hired and he kept waxing on about how he had a great disdain for corporations and how they seemed to be taking over the world. His discourse was thought-provoking. I saw him again, after he became a manager at Aid Rite, while in the restroom of a Hooters and he just kept on talking about “Dem tit tays” and pointing and laughing while he peed all over the toilet paper roll. This thing was going to interview me the very next day!
“So Mr. Page you have been with Aid Rite now for about three months. What impressions do you have of our company? You know I really prefer to call it a family.” I could tell he was different. Different from the guy who hated corporations. Different from the buffoon peeing on the toilet roll. He was being eloquent in a scripted sort of way. Like playing a programmed computer in a game of verbal chess. Though this program did not respond to you other than saying “I see” to your what, when, how, and why questions. “Of course by now you have heard of our plug- in option program called Freedom, Mr. Page? It is a splendid way to start your new career with our Aid Rite family. I myself have taken the plunge into this brave new world of happiness! Happiness, Mr. Page, complete and unhindered happiness with almost no strings attached.”
“Mr. Page you still seem to have doubts about whether you could succeed in our family. Rest assured, I know you would be great!”
“I must also remind you that those that do not join our wonderful Freedom program do not usually reap the financial rewards of those who do. Also, our statistics show that they usually do not last more than four months here at Aid Rite. And, Mr. Page, we have a no rehire policy.”
“I see you are still unsure of whether you want to be a part of the Freedom program. Perhaps you would like to see our corporate movie in our very own company theatre?”
“Swell, Mr. Page, just perfect!”
(A flash of white light and a high pitch whine)
18.104.22.168…22.214.171.124…126.96.36.199. Here at Aid Rite we are all fami1ly. That’s right, family. One large family where all are one and one are all. That’s all. We don’t work to1gether, we plug-in togeth1er and move as one. We go on family outings together. Sometimes we even go to the Aid Rite amusement park and garden and have fun, fun, fun. We are all one and one are all. 1. It will seem that all you do is play, play, play, Mr.Page. There is no time to work at Aid Rite. 1. There is no time to worry and only time for hobbies. 1. And music Mr. Page, MUSIC! Music that was 1 written by YOU. That you can share with your Aid Rite family. All are 1 and on1e are al1. We are 1one and we bleed as 1. Our heart beats as one. 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111. AIDRITE1111IIIIIIISSSSSSS11111111FREEDOM1111111111FREEDOM IS AIDRITE1111111111111111FREEDUMB1111111111111111111111ONE11IS11ALL11AND11ALL11ARE11ONE. (Another flash of bright white light and a high pitch whine) 188.8.131.52…184.108.40.206…220.127.116.11.
I saw a flash of light and heard a high pitch whine. I don’t even remember the movie. It seemed like a three-second blink. When I looked at my watch it was eight hours later. I felt normal, but I was tired, almost like I had been cutting boxes all day except like I had cut more than I ever had before. My workmates were congratulating me for joining the Aid Rite family and wanted to buy me drinks at the Aid Rite bar.
I don’t remember signing anything. Now when I go to work it only seems like a three-second blink. I write my music all the time and never work. I do seem to cut my hair and shave all the time and it seems as if my birthday comes four times a year, which is fine by me. My old friends and family don’t seem to get my jokes anymore or like the songs I have written after I became a manager at Aid Rite but my Aid Rite family can’t get enough of them! It’s funny. I don’t remember being plugged-in. I don’t know why I was nervous that day at my option interview. My worries back then seem so small. I don’t have any worries now that I have my Aid Rite family. That thought now makes me very warm inside. I will always have my Aid Rite family! I love my Aid Rite family!
“Here at Aid Rite. Aid Rite is LOVE!”
This is the first time Bob, a HUGE Twilight Zone fan, has been published. Check out Bob’s collection of short stories Amalgamation 5150 on sale @ Amazon.