Canned Soup Lunch

Oh, yeah. You know something, this whole canned food thing I have been shunning for a large portion of my life had never really appealed to me. I would think about it very rarely unless I was coming down with a cold, which would lead me to the purchase of a few cans of chicken noodle soup (from the fine folks at: http://www.campbellsoup.com/)(no, I wish I got paid for recommending businesses) and wait out my cold or flu until it came time to stomaching real food again. Recently, I, on a whim, decided to make a purchase of several cans of Progresso soup because, hey, $1.25 for a lunch sounds pretty cheap compared to a $5 burger at Wendy’s. I would get just as full in the meantime, right? That turned out to be very true.

I’m thinking that I might make canned foods a more regular part of my diet. I consume WAY too much bread (as I mentioned in an earlier post of mine, I work at Panera) and I rarely ever balance it out with fruits, vegetables, and other forms of nutritional intake. By rarely, of course, I mean never. GMOs aside, what better way to make a stack of quarters go as far as a can of soup that a burger simply couldn’t touch? I’m thinking about regularly obtaining maybe 20 cans of whatever happens to be on sale each check. Saving money would be highly ideal, but I don’t see how money would be anywhere close to as valuable as food if the dollar decided to be allowed to crash finally.

This is a short post, and my thoughts are too scattered to really make a good post right now. I just happened to have this on my mind right when I started eating the lentil soup. Plus, I am working on reading my way through Stephen King’s It, which might be why I’m terribly distracted at present.

Until the next time I arrive here, peace out.

Rate My Horror Story

It never occurred to me until just a moment ago to share my writing in various rooms besides Facebook. I’m kind of an older person, and at 30 I’ve complacently accepted Facebook as being the primary means through which to maintain contact with people (a certain percentage of whom I have never met in real life due to Farmville and FarmTown friend request hysteria). I don’t really write a whole lot, but I do read an astounding amount of information and articles online — in fact, a majority of the time I spend reading when I’m not sleeping or at work has led me to believe that if I had never spent so much time on the internet, I would positively have amassed quite a collection of books to form a personal library. Verily, I have not (though not obvious to you, the reader, because you haven’t seen my book collection). Among my favorite authors, of course, would be my own Prince of Darkness of Horror, Edgar Allan Poe. King of the short story, I’ve read plenty of his works, as well as having fully obtained a substantial amount of reading during my Goosebumps days; these two authors alone being practically the only influences I have had when it came to writing the story I’m about to post below, my style might be considered amateur. But I do believe that if I want this to be read, I should share it everywhere.

I posted this originally on My Morning Story (http://www.mymorningstory.com/) under the same user name. And so, here is my submission.

“‘It was a gruesome sight. There had to be at least sixteen bodies in the house altogether when we arrested Bronson and searched the premises. Nothing could have been as wicked as this man was in his brain. His actions have rendered the entire community silent with foreboding, and even that is putting it lightly. I believe that if this man is to be sentenced, it must be one lifetime per murder!’

The judge and the jury looked at Officer Jared as though they were solving a greater puzzle than the description he had provided. His eyewitness testimony regarding Michael Bronson’s accusation as prime suspect in the murder of sixteen adolescent children (both male and female) was compatible with the testimonies of the first responders, so the validity was compliant and provided overwhelming evidence against the accused.

The judge began her speech: ‘In the case of Bronson v. Edmonson, with a total count of sixteen charges of first degree murder, the defendant is found guilty of all crimes presented herewith.’ From here, as she had done hundreds of times before, she proceeded to name each victim and pronounced Bronson guilty. With each name, the associated family broke out in tears that one could only describe as pain beyond anything felt collectively before. Oddly enough, however, the judge made a recommendation for Bronson to undergo hypnosis. The purpose of this was so that psychologists could receive an accurate account of how each murder took place. This way, the details of the series of murders could truly be evaluated from a first-person perspective.

**********

The hypnotist, Dr. Allyn, had prepared for the weekend for the appointed hypnosis of Michael Bronson. He spent all of Friday and Saturday reading the newspapers and online reports of the case. Understandably, he was worried. He was about to place under hypnosis a very brutal beast of a man whose sympathy for human life was as void as the expressions on Bronson’s face had been during the entire trial.

A knock at the door confirmed that the appointment had arrived. ‘Come in,’ Allyn responded. The door’s handle turned, and the door silently opened. Here stood Bronson, and a team of police officers and doctors who would evaluate everything during the hypnosis, and as such provide aural and visual witness from various, professional points of view. Allyn stood up but stood bluntly still as Bronson walked in with the usual chains and cuffs that any inmate would normally wear. Bronson, however, was not what he had expected to look like.

Unlike the towering evil he had imagined before, here stood a very well-manicured man, with a military fade and a pencil-thin mustache. He had very kind eyes, and didn’t seem to have much muscle mass at all. He stood a measly five-foot-three. Not quite as grimacing as initially thought. ‘Hello, Dr. Allyn,’ Bronson said. ‘I understand that you’ll be hypnotizing me to get grueling details about the murders. I must regret to inform you that although I have been found guilty of all sixteen murders, the pace at which each murder took place is probably going to appear to be unrealistic. I assure you, however, that I will try very hard to allow you to proceed.’ At this point, one of the doctors injected a very strong sedative straight into Bronson’s neck with- out warning, and Bronson reacted with surprising tranquility. ‘He should be ready in a few minutes,’ the doctor told Allyn.

As promised, a few minutes later Bronson was in a very relaxed state of consciousness. Allyn told the group of doctors to place him on the couch, and afterward to remain silent throughout the entire trance. They lifted him, placed him on the couch as requested, and then all took their seats and produced notepads upon which to write their personal notes. Allyn began to turn towards his desk to retrieve his pendulum, but stopped to a sudden ringing of chains and shuffling on the couch. Allyn looked and quickly became frightened upon hearing a voice that did not sound like Bronson’s, but came from his body as though it were natural. The voice began to speak in tongues, and Bronson’s soft brown eyes turned into a deep, bloodshot red and unnatural veins appeared throughout his face. The officers and doctors were quick to try to subdue Bronson, but he gained an unnatural and inhuman physical strength which quickly broke the cuffs and the chains which had bound his arms and legs. This now beastly-looking creature began to whip the heavy chains around with extreme force. The two police officers nearest Bronson were slashed into several pieces, beheaded and pooled the floor with blood almost immediately. One of the four doctors tried to run, but the beast quickly tackled him, and opened its jaws very wide, and crushed the doctor’s skull with a very gross crunching sound, then dug its claws into the chest of the now-dead doctor, and ripped the ribs apart and spilled organs everywhere.

Allyn and the remaining team quickly rushed to the door for their lives, and managed to get past the beast without injury. Just as quickly, it gave chase and jumped onto the back of the slowest doctor in the group and used its claws from both its feet and hands to gash open his back, splintering spinal bones up and down the full length, ending at the skull and knees and severing the body in half. The two police officers turned around and gripped their pistols with sweaty, shaking palms and opened fire upon the beast. They first shot at the beast’s torso, and these bullets only temporarily stunned the beast. One officer opened fire directly between the eyes and the beast fell slowly, and fought to regain its balance. The officers continued to shoot at the upper torso and head, until no movement was detected. The frightened team had returned to the brutal scene, for no reason other than to look at the beast the officers had shot at. Upon arriving, they found a short, Caucasian male with a pencil-thin mustache and one eye. The other eye was completely gone, as it had been pierced by a bullet during the execution. The upper chest cavity was a mangled, twisted mess, with broken ribs opened to reveal a heart which had stopped beating. Bronson’s body lay in a wreck on the white linoleum hall floor of the hospital.

The lights suddenly began to flicker without pattern, then altogether turned off. The emergency lights failed to activate, and the whole hallway was pitch black, with the exception of the sunlight emanating through windows on either end of the hall. ‘We have get out of here,’ Allyn said. ‘I don’t know what the hell that was, or what just happened…’ He suddenly broke down and wept in total fear. Four people were brutally slain, and neither the two police officers nor the three remaining doctors could explain what happened, even from a professional standpoint.

All of a sudden, the officers fell to their knees and emitted a shriek of pain before the sound of chains was heard very close to them. ‘The windows! Get to the windows quickly!’ Allyn shouted. They decided on the window nearest the office where they had all gathered before. They began to dash madly and one of the doctors tripped and fell. The other two ran faster after hearing a yelp of pain and what sounded like someone having their head smashed into concrete repeatedly. The yelps stopped, but the cracking and squishing sound continued for a few seconds afterwards. Allyn and the other doctor continued to run towards the window, and successfully reached it, but Allyn saw the other doctor running much faster directly towards the window. ‘Slow down!’ Allyn screamed, but the doctor appeared to ignore him. He then appeared to start slowing down, but then was shoved by an unseen force straight out of the window. Allyn couldn’t help but to look at the falling man plummeting to his death, and heard the sickening *thud* of flesh contacting the cement twelve stories below and seeing the blood and brain matter spew out of the orifices.

‘Oh, my…’ Allyn could only utter these words before a very sharp pain rushed through his sides and stomach. His lungs felt as if they were about to explode, as if they were being grasped by something. The last thing he heard was the sound of chains being swung around, so fast that they produced a whirring sound, and finally the sound reached his ear.”

http://www.mymorningstory.com/2011/11/hypnotic-mutation-halloween-contest-submission/

Repetitive Work Can be Stressful

I work at a restaurant which flaunts its style as being greater than your average fast food restaurant, all the while actually serving up some great food for the health-conscious. The place to which I refer is called Panera Bread. Yes, everyone — it is a greater job to hold than fast food. This is actually my tenth month working for Panera. Because of its heightened atmosphere in regards to the wall art, the striking yet warm colors, plentiful lighting, booths and tables galore, and all-around balanced music on the radio, many people realize that their average fast food diet seems to be doing them a terrible favor and turning to the few alternatives; juice diets, gluten-free diets, and other fad diets which don’t last much longer than a few weeks (none of which I currently follow, if this is what I may have inadvertently indicated). Outside of the bread, obviously, Panera has some feel-good, guilt-free soups on the menu which will not lead to extra pounds on the scale over time. That being said, nothing seems to have ever made work more difficult in the fast food (or namely, in our example here, fast-casual) than actually being a successful chain for the foodie who wishes to eat sensibly, as well as appealing to a different class of citizens altogether.

Let’s start with what I do. Due in large part to my physical strength, my primary area of expertise is the dining room. This includes all of the following: stocking condiments; brewing four different coffees before their one-hour expiration for the duration of each shift; replacing the creamers (half-and-half and skim milk) as necessary; brewing tea as necessary or before their eight-hour expiration; stocking the quickly-depleted soda lids, straws, napkins in about five areas; replacing about eight sanitizing buckets before their three-hour expiration; resupply the line workers with bowls for half salads, bowls for full salads, soup cups, soup bowls, soup spoons (for our new broth bowl menu items), spoons, knives, forks, and grey trays; resupplying the cashiers with their yellow trays, coffee mugs, and silverware as necessary; cleaning spills, resupplying toilet paper and paper towels to the restrooms; keeping the hand soap filled properly; placing the cushions outside for the patio every morning that I work, wiping down tables in between all of this for patrons who have decided to leave their trays on the table during rush hour; and of course, keeping the supply of hot water for our variety of hot tea options updated every now and then. Not to mention, due to my height, are countless requests by the shorter workers to obtain items from 8 feet up without the use of a ladder. I also failed to note until now that, by far, the greatest demand in what I do lay in the fact that I have to wash every single dish which comes to the bus tubs (these are plastic bins which are designed to hold large amounts of stoneware dishes in the event of a rush hour. And these are utilized very, very frequently).

Sure, that seems to be a lot to remember, and mechanically, I am about as automatically wired to perform this job beyond the capacity for all others as I would be mechanically wired to auto-pilot anything. In the short ten months that I have worked at Panera, I have become an Associate Trainer for the dining room. By default, it seems that everyone has considered me to be capable of performing this job so much so that I exceed the skill of even those who have been here for many years. This is highly unfortunate for me because I also have to greet customers as they are asking me to wipe down tables; some of them like to chat about this-and-that. This takes away from me some capacity for perform my work accurately. But then again, I do it so often that I might even talk to a customer for upwards of 45 seconds before resuming what they call a “travel path” (the purpose of which is to resupply any depleting materials from the condiment stations, as well as busing tables before customers might leave a mess to clean for others who are intentionally waiting for a family to leave so they can get a booth despite all the empty tables to which they have easy access). And this I do five days a week, and have done for just about 7 months now.

In order to become an Associate Trainer, you must certify in three positions and have a level of expertise and knowledge sufficient to performing your job prior to being sent to a trainer class. I have held a certification for sandwiches and dining room (trust me, memorizing 13 or 14 different breads for specific meat combinations which are by default (unless requested otherwise by the customer) is a daunting task, in addition to having to summon these combinations in the blink of an eye, for those cashiers can fill a screen of orders quite rapidly). The tertiary of these which granted me Trainer status was obtaining my certification in salads. In actual despite of these three certifications, my primary area is dining room.

So what gives? Well, it seems that, although I may have certified in all three of the required stations, since I perform so well in the most difficult area of Panera I’m simply a great asset in terms of cleaning dishes and whatnot. Of course, I am not bragging about anything. I do forget from time to time that something runs out while I am busy with washing dishes. The straws run out frequently while I’m there. As do the mustard, olive oil mayonnaise (pretty delicious stuff, if you ask me), napkins, coffee, tea, lids, coffee sleeves — so I don’t perform perfectly. I’m far from it, but I’m so very much assigned my position that everything I need to know comes to me as quickly as simply typing out this post. This makes me the most efficient dining room worker in the eyes of the management whom are in charge of assigning the scheduling, noting my extraordinary height as being an advantage except for where I may actually have minimal use — in either the salad or sandwich station.

Both stations are designed such that each ingredient can be quickly accessed by the person working at that moment. But in my case, being very tall (I was last measured around 6’7” in the Navy, which is around two meters, give or take several thousand nanometers), when standing straight up I cannot see any of the ingredients in the back rows of these little refrigerators. I have to bend down to access them, and even when I can do so, there is a great amount of stress placed on my lower back, exacerbated by the fact that the leverage on the fulcrum which is my lower back is increased each time I extend my arm out to reach those ingredients. This makes me really badly suited for even doing such jobs. I get in the way and it makes me appear clumsy. How I earned my certification in these two stations without much injury is beyond me, but I do know that even though I can be called back to those two stations at any time, the reality is that I hold those positions so infrequently that it always seems to be a challenge to perform those two jobs correctly.

Working at Wendy’s and Sonic proved to have the same effect. I was too tall to reach the furthest sections of the fries without stooping considerably. I actually suffered spinal injuries in the Navy, and although I do get compensated for it, I am certain that these low-paying job are of even minute benefit for my back. Not only that, doing the same thing over and over while being tired of that particular position will lead me to a burnout, an action which I fear looms over the horizon in the future. When, I cannot discern. But when it does happen, I fear that I will have a very definitively difficult time recuperating and feeling motivated enough to look around for another physically-demanding job. Maybe I’ll look to attending college again after some time self-learning some mathematics.

Until the next time I arrive here, adieu.