Working 9-5 | Teen Ink

Working 9-5

December 20, 2021
By froglover1319, Manchester, Missouri
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froglover1319, Manchester, Missouri
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Author's note:

I love frogs. Based on a true story.

The sweaty comforter lay over him, crawling with bed bugs. The alarm began to ribbit as it does every day, and Angus slapped the snooze button, before dozing off again. His dimly lit apartment was littered with food wrappers, overwhelmed by dirty laundry, and swarming with silverfish. The stench from his empty McDonald’s bags was just as unbearable as it was to walk through his mess of a mountain. Empty McDonald's bags stashed in the corner made his whole apartment smell like armpits. When the alarm rang five minutes later, he used all of his energy to push his well-fed body out of bed. He stretched for a few seconds before hobbling over to his broken mirror. Looking back at him was a 5’4, obese, 43-year-old African bullfrog. The white tank top he wore hardly fit him and reeked of body odor. Frowning, and tired of his reflection, he turned away and began to get dressed for work. After throwing on his apron, he shuffled downstairs and had his usual breakfast: dried mealworm cereal and pork rinds, along with a glass of room temperature water. He read the daily newspaper as he savored his meal, the most interesting article being about how his neighbor tried salad for the first time. Gazing at the clock on the stove, it was 8:45 am and he realized he was behind schedule. Not wanting to waste any more time, he skipped brushing his teeth, the stench of pork rinds and mealworms lingering in his mouth. He jiggled out the doorway and crammed himself into his car. Swerving down the street, he managed to make it somewhat close to his nine o’clock shift being five minutes late.
Mellissa stood, arms crossed, in front of Angus before he could clock in. Her belly was so fat she could hardly keep them crossed. Her hair was tied up in a knot and she glared, holding her clipboard.
“This is the third time you’re late this month,” she grimaced.
“I’m sorry, I overslept again,” Angus apologized, looking down.
“Well, you know the rules. If you show up late, you work late,” She frowned and pointed at the cash register, demanding him to get to work. Angus trudged along and clocked in at his register. There were few customers in the store. Barely anyone would shop this early, he often wondered why they would open at such an early time. The sounds of carts rattling became tools clacking, scanners beeping transformed into the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP of vehicles, and customers talking turned into construction workers. Each customer he checked out was like greeting a fellow coworker. His scanner was his hammer, and he fixed and built things. The receipts printed out at each transaction were blueprints to build. The register was the forklift he dreamed of operating.
His daydream was interrupted when a jar of olives was slammed on the counter. He looked up and saw a woman in her mid-40’s. Her mouth wrinkled into a frown and her skin was caked in makeup. Her hair looked as if she had straightened with a toaster. He winced at her appearance, smelling at least twenty sprays of cheap, floral perfume, before reminding himself to never judge anyone on how they look, and asked, “Did you find everything okay today?”
“No. You’re always out of pork rinds. My husband hates you guys, you don’t know how to run a store,” She replied in a gravelly voice.
“Oh, I’m sorry we’re out. I love those, too, though! Maybe next time you come we will have more in,” Angus said, trying to sympathize with her.
“Well, looking at you, I bet you eat a lot of pork rinds,” She pointed to his belly, which spilled onto the counter.
“What do you mean?” Angus looked down at his belly which growled, knowing his lunch break was soon.
“I mean look at you,” She laughed, “I bet you had to take a bus today to work since you can’t even fit in an SUV.”
“Excuse me, ma’am, but you should be grateful I showed up today. There are only five other people who work here besides me,” Angus defended himself, trying his best to not raise his voice. Anger spewed from her eyes and she continued slamming down items. Pringles, hotdogs, cheese spray, white bread, and a glass jar of mayonnaise. She slammed it so hard that it cracked the glass and mayonnaise erupted onto Angus’s apron.
“Just scan all of these! I have a balayage at 11! I’m tired of waiting!” She yelled, not caring that her mayonnaise had exploded. By now, the whole store was silent and the handful of customers that were shopping had stopped and stared. Melissa had looked up from her phone and noticed what was going on, beginning to walk over.
“THAT’S IT!! I’VE HAD ENOUGH!” Angus erupted, slamming his grubby fists on the counter. The woman looked up, startled that he had enough courage to fight back. “I’M TIRED OF THIS JOB. I’M TIRED OF YOU,” He continued, as a customer grabbed her child and walked out of the store. By now, Melissa was standing beside the woman.
“Angus. This is unacceptable behavior. You need to calm down right now or else you’re fired,” She frowned. She was going to ramble more, but before she could, Angus interrupted her, shouting, “NO. NO, NO, NO. I’M TIRED OF YOU, TOO! EVERY DAY, I COME IN AND WORK 9-5. MAKING ONLY SEVEN DOLLARS AN HOUR. I HAD TO WORK CHRISTMAS EVE, TOO. YOU’RE THE WORST MANAGER EVER. THIS JOB IS A WASTE OF TIME! YOU’RE A WASTE OF TIME!!!” Angus began sobbing while Melissa stared in shock, speechless. The customer, only becoming angrier, jumped in and griped to Melissa, “Well, aren't you going to do something? You’re the manager after all! This store is awful!” She stomped her foot. By now, many customers had either left or walked away, in fear of the escalating situation. Before Melissa could reply, Angus fumed, “No. Don’t even say anything. I hate you, I was supposed to be off thirty minutes ago and I didn’t even get my lunch break! I’m not getting paid enough for this!” Melissa’s frown only sunk more and she became embarrassed, trying to reassure Angus, “Fine. Go to lunch now and have some time to calm down,” She looked at the customer and gave her fake customer service smile, “I will help check you out and make sure you have all your items. I’m so sorry for this inconvenience,” The customer nodded, giving Angus a glare. Before she could switch places with Angus, he shoved Melissa onto the cold ground. Both she and the customer gasped. Melissa was stuck like an upside-down turtle, her hands waving in the air as she struggled to get up. Angus looked down at her, cackling, “Wow, you’re too weak. You think you would’ve recovered from your neck surgery by now. But guess what? You’ll probably be in the hospital again now, huh?” He kicked her again, before cramming his way past her struggling body on the floor. The customer began to back away, realizing this was serious. Angus balled up his stubby, callused fingers before pushing forward and delivering the strongest punch he’s ever made. He knocked her onto the floor and she looked up at him, now forming a bloody nose. She glared at him and clutched onto her purse, raging, “You did NOT just do that,” she weakly stumbled and got up, before swinging her enormous purse at Angus’s gut. He toppled over and fell to the ground, crushing Melissa. He rolled over and got back up, throwing his entire Sumo wrestler weight onto the customer. She fell down again, practically paralyzed from the 400-pound frog. Looking down at her, he grabbed the broken jar of mayonnaise and poured the rest of the chunky topping onto her new Chanel purse. He got down close, kneeling on one knee, and grabbed her by the collar of her shirt, before grinding his teeth, saying, “Don’t you ever call me fat again; I’m not fat. My mom says I’m buff.” Then he threw her back to the ground, standing up. He pulled off his apron, exposing his bare belly to the whole store.
“I QUIT!” He yelled. He began storming his way to the exit but was interrupted by a coworker. He was a skinny, nerdy treefrog, and he patted Angus’s shoulder, saying, “Wow, Angus. That took a lot of guts. And I quit, too. Melissa never gave me my raise!” He threw off his apron as well and ran out of the store, not even bothering to clock out. Angus glanced back at his manager and the customer, both on the floor. He was proud, yet anxious about what charges he would face. Aggravated assault, harassment, endangerment, maybe even attempted murder. He glanced around and saw a few customers, all completely shocked with scared looks on their faces. One had even wet their pants. Shrugging, he began to strut towards the exit, finally free of his torture. Before he could grab the door, a tall, young man stopped him. He was in his 20s, and he was extra muscular, with short blonde hair. Angus looked up at him, confused.
“Excuse me, sir, I know you probably want to leave before the police get here. But I couldn’t help but notice how strong you were back there. We could really use you on our team,” He handed Angus a yellow flyer, which read: “HELP WANTED. WILLIAMS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY,” along with a phone number. Angus’s face lit up and he asked the man if there were any positions for a forklift operator. The man nodded, insisting for him to accept the application.
“I’ll think about it.”
He squeezed through the sliding doors, completely naked and waddled out as sirens wailed in the distance.

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