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Authors: Zané Sachs

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Sadie the Sadist: X-tremely Black Humor/Horror

BOOK: Sadie the Sadist: X-tremely Black Humor/Horror
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This book is a work of fiction. Any similarities to people, living or dead, are coincidental. If characters in this book remind you of anyone you know, please contact a psychiatrist or the police.

SADIE THE SADIST Copyright 2014 by Zané Sachs

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cover by Jeroen ten Berge
Formatting by TERyvisions

Table of Contents

for

all the good, hardworking people in supermarkets

and other service industries

Sadie the Sadist

by

Zané Sachs

Corn

I’m just
thinking
about killing someone.

Most nights, when I get home from work, I lie in bed and stare into the darkness, my hands on fire. That’s what comes from cutting, shucking, wrapping corn all day. My hands go numb, so does my brain.

But tonight my brain is working double time.

To do my job, you not only have to be a masochist, you need to be stoic: head down, no complaints, just keep cutting, shucking, wrapping. I do it for insurance and ’cause I need the money.

And maybe I’m a masochist.

Sometimes I call myself Sad Sadie, cry myself to sleep.

Not tonight. Tonight I’m sick of being sad. I’m ready to
think positive,
take charge and change my life.

I flip the switch. Light floods my bedroom, sends shockwaves through my brain.

My hands hurt when I flex my fingers. I imagine them encircling his neck, thumbs pressing into his larynx, his face the color of a beet.

The corporation has this slogan:
Our People Count
. All day long—as customers push carts along the aisles, comparing cans of beans, boxes of spaghetti, butchered animals, dead fish—the store pipes in music. Between songs they blast this message:

Enjoy shopping here?

Consider a career with us.

You’ll loooove it!

Our people count.

Count what? Ears of corn?

(My career is chopping corn.)

They keep it cold in Produce. Since they started this remodel it’s been close to freezing. The vegetables last longer in arctic conditions—keep those carrots happy. No big deal if people lose a few fingers to frostbite. It’s so cold, the heat of summer feels like the dead of winter. I wear a heavy sweater and wool socks even in the dead of summer.

Is there a
dead
of summer or did I make that up?

It’s the dead of summer now.

Chop, chop, chop.

Shuck, shuck, shuck.

Wrap, wrap, wrap.

No human should work like this hour after hour, day after day, for weeks on end. I told the store’s Assistant Manager they need a robot.

He was not amused.

Said, “Keep chopping.”

His name is Justus. Sounds like justice, but it’s not. He’s the kind of guy a lot of women go for: athletic, handsome, and a jerk. He struts around the supermarket looking for holes—empty spaces on the shelves. Then he comes down to Produce and tells me to chop more, shuck faster, get that corn upstairs. Once I mentioned processing so much corn is too much work for one person, suggested chopping, shucking, wrapping should be a group effort. If everyone in Produce chipped in, the job would be more efficient, go faster, could even be fun.

Not only did Justus ignore my suggestion, he added a third corn display—a
huge
endcap. (That’s what they call those displays you see at the end of an aisle, enticing you to buy stuff you don’t want.) Told me, “Keep it filled.”

That’s the kind of guy he is: Type A personality.

A for Ass.

That’s why I can’t sleep tonight.

His sorry ass is on my mind.

I push off the covers, get out of bed. Trying to distance myself from the throbbing pain, I pace my bedroom, stretch my fingers, shake my arms. This numbness hurts like hell—way beyond pins-and-needles, more like jolts of electricity short-circuiting my nerves. My hands look swollen and pasty, like rubber gloves filled with water.

We go through lots of rubber gloves down in Produce.

I say
down
, because vegetables and fruit are kept in the store’s basement. The basement is also where you’ll find the Produce cooler and the workroom where I chop and shuck. After checking on the corn displays upstairs—5-packs, 3-packs, 9s—I head down. Thanks to the remodel, we have a new freight elevator. It’s scary cool.

Management posted a day-glow pink warning sign:

Attention!

Keep all hands and body parts inside the elevator

At all times

There’s no sensor to stop the doors

Stand clear!

Body parts.

That’s a giggle.

The elevator door slides open, revealing a metal mouth. A slab of steel moves up, as another slab descends—beyond the lips of steel: a metal grill. The grill’s teeth lift and I step inside the mouth, careful not to touch triggers which (I’ve been warned) will set the jaws in motion. Once the jaws begin to close, there’s no stopping them. Those slabs of steel could crush a skull, easy as a watermelon.

I press
B
, hear the beeping sound, and stand back from the door.

The elevator deposits me in the bowels of the building, next to Produce, across from the trash compactor. The compactor is big and smells like crap. Not surprising, since we toss a ton of rotting food into the pit. They tell you, don’t climb into the compactor. Like anyone would step into that hole of filth. But I guess someone has, or why mention it?

When you open the compactor door, a blast of stink comes out: moldy vegetables, putrefying chicken, fish guts, the Assistant Manager’s decomposing torso. (Wishful thinking.) To dump garbage, I lift the bag past my shoulders, above my head. I’m in good shape, but I’m only five foot two, and bench pressing trash bags filled with corncobs isn’t easy. Bits of corncobs weigh a lot. The bags are too heavy for me to toss, so I use a broom to shove the trash all the way in. Then I press a button and the compactor crunches everything. The compressed trash is deposited into a giant dumpster. They keep the dumpster locked, so divers can’t steal food. You wouldn’t believe how much good stuff we throw away.

Once, I asked Justus if I could buy a roasted chicken for half price.

He looked at me like I’d suggested he rob a bank, and said, “That’s against corporate policy, Sadie.”

Then he tossed a dozen chickens into the compactor.

The basement is a twilight world, shadowy and creepy. To save energy, the lights are on a sensor, so unless something is moving, the hallways and the rooms are dark. No windows. I push through the heavy plastic doors leading into Produce, catch a whiff of cilantro, and wait for the sensor to detect me. The fluorescents flicker on, revealing crates of vegetables and fruit stacked to the ceiling, some on carts called U-boats, others on square pallets, so big and heavy that you need a pallet jack to move them. I can barely squeeze into my station. Any day now, I expect an avalanche of vegetables will smother me. The Produce guys process celery, lettuce, broccoli, that kind of stuff, at the sink up front. They pull off bad leaves, wash the produce in a salt solution, and wrap it with a band, so it looks nice.

I work at the triple sinks, in back, near the walk-in cooler. Actually, my workstation has four sinks. One for washing Salad Bar containers and utensils, a middle sink for rinsing, and a third sink for soaking in a chlorine solution. Across from the triple sink, there’s a stainless steel counter and a deep utility sink with a garbage disposal—that’s where I wash my fruit and vegetables. A line of knives hangs on the wall: three machetes for cutting things like watermelon (or heads), two chef’s knives, and a selection of paring knives.

Did you know a sharp knife is safer than a dull one?

A sharp knife leaves a cleaner cut.

My job title is
Salad Bar
. Before corn season hit, my days were varied. First thing, I’d check the Salad Bar and process the vegetables we needed, then I’d work on fruit. I especially enjoyed cutting and arranging fruit, because it made use of my artistic talents—carving melons, selecting berries, peeling kiwis—paying close attention to color and texture as I arranged fruit in containers. Then I’d make specialty items like stuffed mushrooms and veggie kabobs, assembling them so they look appealing. I consider myself an artist of found objects. Right now I work with fruit and vegetables, but I plan to experiment with different mediums.

The point is, before corn season, my hands never went numb.

Before corn season, I enjoyed my job.

Cut fruit was my priority. I’d design it, bring it upstairs, and display my creations in the cut fruit case at the entrance of the store. I took pride in my work and enjoyed interacting with customers. I’d give out samples, make suggestions, help people find things—spent lots of time doing that.

BOOK: Sadie the Sadist: X-tremely Black Humor/Horror
8.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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