Writing Prompt: You’ve spent an eternity in Hell, and now you’re getting a promotion.
Chuck stared at the hands of his watch. He’d been wearing an analog watch for millennia at this point, yet he continued to consistently misread the time. The damn hands were so similar – why hadn’t he died wearing a digital watch? He counted the notches until he reached the smaller hand. One, two, three. The minute hand was two further. 3:20pm. Ten minutes left.
Chuck looked back at his computer monitor. He had been reviewing inventory for the past thirteen days straight while his inner-city coworkers cackled behind him, mocking his every insecurity. For almost two weeks he had sat there, counting each individual thread on every returned thong, bra, and item of lingerie, then adding it into the “thread count” tab of his excel sheet. Occasionally he would stop to rest his eyes, but the manager would—almost without fail—immediately appear and scold him for his poor work ethic. The only break he had been permitted was the two minutes and seventeen second reprieve between his shift change from thread-counter to Time Warner Cable customer service rep in the room across the hall. That wasn’t for another six days, though, and Chuck could already feel his bladder overflowing for the second time that day.
“I is tellin’ you girl, he gonna piss his panties again,” said a coworker behind him. “Just wait.” Laughter continued to fill the room, only slightly overcome by a re-run of House Wives of New Jersey, which had been playing on repeat for as long as Chuck could remember. Every woman in the show, however, seemed to be bickering back and forth about how tiny Chuck’s penis was. He tried to return his focus to the threads of the bra he had been counting, but his mind simply wasn’t into it today. He normally didn’t care about the tedious nature of his employment—it was better than being a waiter, he always told himself. Plus, the nature of his job helped to keep his mind occupied; counting upwards towards infinity on a near constant basis was somewhat calming.
Numbers were always a big aspect in his life. He had been a mathematician while alive. Chuck was particularly fond of the number “eighty-seven,” and would almost find excitement as he approached it. But his employer had recently banned the number “eighty-seven,” replacing it instead with “Chuck is a faggot.” He found that this negated the sense of near-excitement he had previous experienced as he climbed toward it. As such, he had been in the market for the past few weeks to find a new favorite. Chuck had briefly considered three hundred and forty eight, but quickly discovered that it, too, had been added to the banned list. It had been replaced with a terribly racist term for half black, half-Mexican people. This turned him off to it. Likewise, his second replacement choice—one thousand and ninety two—had simply been swapped out for the numbers “9/11/2001.” Chuck also found that offensive, and decided it would not work out.
“… God damn he ugly, girl. And can you believe how short he be? He the shortest guy here. Everything on him is so tiny, except that nose. Massive-ass nose…”
Chuck stared down at his watch again. The hour hand was still on the three, but the minute hand had moved almost to the six. Chuck felt a rush of air hit the back of his neck.
“Chuck, are you serious?” said a voice from behind him. It was the manager, once again catching him off guard. “You are the most lazy, insignificant, useless person I’ve ever come across. All you do is sleep all day. I can’t believe how pathetic you are. It’s no wonder no one ever loved you. I’m docking your pay for this week, I will be taking it instead. Get back to your work. Also, your hair looks stupid today.”
Chuck sighed. He hadn’t been paid in, well, ever. All he had been able to afford was the meat paste included in boxes of taco Lunachables, which had long since expired. He didn’t really mind the flavor, though. In fact, he quite liked it. Unfortunately, a ban took place centuries ago which resulted in the meat paste being replaced with a finely compressed slab of frozen animal feces. It remained free, however, which was affordable for Chuck, and so he ate it every day.
“…Girl I telling you, his breath smell like shit. It smell so much like shit…”
Chuck glanced up his monitor. The spreadsheet had crashed as it always did, meaning that all of his work this week had been destroyed. Of course he tried to save it several times, but it never worked. He had submitted many tickets to tech support, but nothing ever really came from it. They would tell him a representative was to arrive between 9:00am and 11:00pm. No one ever came. His watch vibrated slightly, signaling that the alarm he had set had gone off.
Chuck stood up, his legs felt weak under his body. He hadn’t walked in almost two weeks. The floor was warm under his bare feet as it always was, thanks to the broken A.C. that still hummed aggressively in the back of the room blowing boiling hot air. He was soaked in sweat, urine, and feces, and could tell he didn’t quite smell his best. He had been allowed a shower one time, but the water was a relatively uncomfortable 276 degrees Fahrenheit, and was also entirely made of wasps. He did find a bit of peace in that shower, though, and would not mind doing it again. Unfortunately, due to a policy change, the showers were banned and replaced with a very large vending machine that always got stuck after you placed your order.
“…He is fat, you so right. Definitely getting fatter, too…”
Chuck pushed the door open walked out of the room, limping slightly as his body got accustomed to the movement. He crossed the empty white hallway which extended in both directions infinitely and stopped outside the wooden door in front of him. It had a glass window with drawn blinds and read “DISTRICT MANAGER” in big, bold letters. He raised his fist and knocked.
“Come in,” said a voice from inside. Chuck turned the handle and opened the door. He hadn’t been able to use handles to open doors in decades, ever since a ban took place that replaced almost all door handles with stickers of Chuck’s mother naked. He stepped in.
“Chuck, welcome. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” It had. Chuck hadn’t seen the district manager in thousands of years, ever since he had enacted a policy swap that replaced Chuck’s shoes with large pouches of wet sugar. He opted not to wear shoes any longer, which was unfortunate as a recent change had been enforced that swapped several floor tiles with shards of broken glass that looked identical to floor tiles. This caused him much pain. “You’re probably wondering why I called you here today, Chuck.”
He was, indeed, wondering. He shook his head, as he could no longer speak due to a company policy change that kindly requested Chuck’s mouth be replaced with a vagina consistantly plagued by a painful yeast infection.
“I’ve been watching you lately. You do good work when you aren’t slacking off—which is a lot of the time—and I wanted to offer you an incentive to stay around with us. I spoke with the other managers, all of whom hate you and your stupid face, and we’ve agreed to offer you a promotion. We think you would be a wonderful fit in the Thread-Counter, Time Warner Cable Customer Service rep, and Official Waiter to Over-Privileged, Indecisive White Kids with Violent Tendencies and Uncaring Parents position, which just became available. This would add an additional nine weeks to your typical work rotation, and would increase your pay to giving us six dollars every day. So a negative six dollar increase. You will also be disallowed to use your left eye, as a bonus. Do you accept this?”
Chuck took a moment to think the offer over. He had never been too fond of being a waiter, but change was always welcome in his life. And his right eye was also his preferred eye. Plus, the negative six dollars would definitely help him toward moving out of his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend’s apartment’s closet. Chuck nodded in agreement.
“Great, you begin your new position immediately. Also, we have decided to remove your right eye as well, as an additional bonus.”
Chuck could no longer see, but felt things were definitely moving in the right direction. He smiled and tried to walk out the door, which, due to a recent policy change, had been replaced by a large, spiky wall.