Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saturdays In The Graveyard

How does a typical night go, working a graveyard shift at a 24 hour Pharmacy, you ask?

2:45pm - Finally stagger into bed.

7pm - Wake up, get a drink, take some Ibuprofen, check email. (Learn that another potential Motel has officially been crossed off the list) Briefly call wife, fall back to sleep.

8pm - Pooka wants to cuddle; briefly tolerate the big galoot, eventually telling him to go lay down; go back to sleep.

8:45 - Pooka wants to cuddle again, signals such by sitting on face.

9pm - Give up and get out of bed.

9:30 - Make a sandwich, feed the pets, gather work stuff, try not to fall back to sleep, read for a few minutes.

10:32pm - Get to work, count safe, run end of day, make list of work for evening, sort new ad tags, double check pulling of old ad tags, make clever collage of missed tags on previous manager's locker.

11:15pm - The crazies start arriving; 300lb mumbling lady, twitchy meth head, 14 year old teens goofing off, native mother with kids that she doesn't watch, the regulars, the sick folks from the ER.


12:15am - Crazies finally stop, buy Guava Rockstar, Popcorn, discuss list of work with clerk, briefly talk on phone to wife to tell her goodnight, get interrupted 3 times in a 4 minute call.

1:15am - Start hanging ad tags, follow likely shoplifter around store.

1:30am - Legitimately insane customers arrive; Tweakers asking about spray paint, Meth Heads in midget smuggling pants trying to pass fake scripts, 90 year olds buying 12oz bottles of lube, the guy that rides his bike with his oxygen tank in the flower basket in the front to buy cigs, the schizo lady that always calls you the wrong name and gets angry when you correct her, the clearance price tag swappers, the drunken bar ejects, the heavyset Hispanic lady in clothes 3 sizes too small that asks everyone she meets if they like her new shoes; a pair of firetruck red 6 inch stilettos, the cross dresser that's better looking than most of the other women in the store, the cool gay couple that freaks out my clerk when they buy the Trojan His and Hers lube, the vegan New Yorker with the large growth on the side of her face that often tells me stories of UFOs, Conspiracies, her father running a speakeasy during prohibition, and all of the television shows she tapes to watch over and over, we often discuss Commentary tracks on DVDs, the "dancers" from the strip club; just off shift, replenishing my singles supply, the hunched over man that looks like Santa Claus who follows me for hours some nights, towing his O2 tank and telling me horribly off color jokes...

2:15am - a new one; a guy comes in asking me if I can change the photo on his passport; he's lost weight, and wants a new picture. He also tells me that he's unhappy with his cat's passport photo. Sadly, he never shows me his cat's passport. The customer then proceeds to follow me for a half hour, talking about his Winnebago, his job as a airplane repairman, crossing the border in his scooter, how he chemically removed his fingerprints on accident, ("They're like Teflon, now!") his guns, lifting his shirt to show me his operation scars, asking me to stitch up a cut on his finger, and finally asking me out to see his guns in his Winnebago. Sadly, I could not leave the store and view the guns that belong to the man with no fingerprints and a face that doesn't match his passport...

3am - Finally start moving the 300 cases of Coke 12 packs that we will likely sell by Monday afternoon to the front.

3:15am - Send clerk to Rolbertos 24 hour Mexican restaurant for lunch, we (Me, him, the Pharmacist) each order a breakfast burrito, I ordered Sausage, egg, cheese & Potato with sour cream, mine comes labeled "Sasaugoa" on the wrapper and sans egg and sour cream. It appears my sour cream ended up in my clerk's Ham burro, my eggs are likely in someones taco salad somewhere... all in all, a pretty accurate night for Rolbertos. Drink Rockstar, AKA Purple Meth.

4:15am - Attempt to motivate clerk to continue stacking endless piles of Coke, finish most of ad tags. Regular customer comes in, an awesome older lady that is slowly dying. She's almost 10lbs lighter than when I saw her last week, her otherwise frail frame thrown crooked by her left leg, swollen with fluid. She tells me that her upcoming operation has a 50/50 chance of survival. I sell her Ice, a pair of pajama pants and a package of ham, and wish her luck. She tells me to cross my fingers, but not my toes, or I'll walk funny.

6am - Finally finish all of the ad and Coke, clean up store, scrub bathrooms, clean up mess from Cadbury egg fight on aisle 6, wake my clerk, asleep on the photo counter, catch breath outside in the thankfully snow free air.

7am - Light pours through the front windows, blinding me, and making me shy away, Nosferatu style. The second the sun hits, I start getting tired, eyes drooping. Browse through Sunday paper, "Shoplifting" information.

8:45 - reinforcements arrive. Flee building, the combination of clocking out, putting on my jacket and staggering into the sun energizing me slightly, though still daunted by the list of chores ahead at home, concerned about what time I'll make it to bed.....


The Grows said...

Oh to work the night shift again. I am so glad that I don't have to do that anymore. On the bright side though, you do get to meet the coolest people.

Steve at Random said...

I thank you for giving all of us a glimpse of the "night life." We had breakfast at 5 a.m. this morning at Denny's in Bismarck. I think there were some clones of your clientele having breakfast as well. Like Willie Nelson's ballad proclaims, "The night life ain't no good life, but it's my life."

Kristopher and Crew said...

I honestly do enjoy most of the customers, and the rest are great stories! There's only been a few iffy occasions, and even then they're good stories after the fact....