Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell

Chapter 22
Just When You Think It's All Gonna Get Better . . .

One and a half minutes after my brief conversation with Sue, I arrive at the dreaded "top of the staircase." I suck in the last breath of semi-smoke-free air that I'm going to get until my first official break and swing open the door.

I stand by the garbage can and begin unwrapping a cough drop. I feel someone's breath on my back and hear a harsh "what are you doing?" My flat expression turns into a nervous grimace when I realize Richard is standing behind me, violently tapping his foot. He must have been waiting at the door for me this entire time. I roll my eyes back into my head and explain that I am about to insert a cough drop into my dry mouth.

Richard doesn't respond for about thirty seconds, creating an unsettling quiet. "It seems you were downstairs for an unusually large amount of time," he finally hisses. "I had a bit of a problem with . . ." I'm about to finish with "wardrobe" when Richard cuts me off.

"You have more than a bit of a problem, Mr. Ziekel. I just got done talking to Paul, and he’s not very happy about you using the bathroom without a supervisor’s permission." My mind reels in anger, "why don't you mind your own fucking business, you slimy, hypocritical bastard?!?" is what I wish I dared say, I settle for something far less pungent. "I looked all around for you, you weren’t anywhere within eyeshot, and it became an emergency. My bladder was full and I . . ." "Couldn't hold it anymore," was how I would have finished the sentence, but once again Richard cut me off before I got to the end.

". . . I don't think it takes twenty minutes to empty your bladder, Wayne. I started my stop watch when we met on the steps and it tells me that you've been downstairs for exactly twenty-two minutes." I stand awestruck and silent. I can't believe that even an asshole like Richard times me and then stands around waiting to see when I emerge from the basement. I think the managers need to be given a bit more to do. Richard stands, tapping his watch with his index finger for about a minute to bring dramatic emphasis to the fact that no one could take twenty-two minutes to use the bathroom.

I try my hardest to talk around the lump in my throat as I tell Richard how the sink malfunctioned and got my old pair of pants sopping wet. He looks at me skeptically and asks if I met up with anyone while I was changing. "I had a few words with someone in the locker room prior to the sink incident." I find myself shocked at my own honesty. Richard's eyes go red as he responds with a malicious "I know."

Before I ask how he knows, he pats me on the shoulder and gives me an out of place smile. "I'm going to have to take away another point and request that you get at least one day's suspension." My mind is going at too rapid a pace to even argue with Richard over the deduction of my point and the inevitable firing that it will cause. How could he know that I was talking to someone? Was he making it up to get my guard down?

I give him a stressed out smile and begin walking to my change bank. I turn to face him when he calls out my name. "By the way," he says with an all-knowing nod, "did you remember to zip your locker bag back up?" My heart sinks so far into my stomach that, if I were to fart, it would fly straight out of my asshole. I decide to play along with his frightening game, "I don't know, did I?" I always come off sounding like a dork whenever I'm trying to sound macho.

Richard gives me a smirk for his answer and turns to walk away. I see him laughing to himself. This day is not getting any brighter . . .

Go to: Chapter 23

1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.

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