Teraphonic Overdubs

by G.T.

     “I am so happy that fall is comes. It brings with it a refreshment.”

     My friend, Aug, sent me this text message at 1:37 this morning. “Fall is comes”…I wouldn’t expect an English major to send me a text message with a grammatical error. He must’ve been drunk.  If so, he was in better spirits than I was at a half past one in the morning.

     At 1:37 am, I should’ve been at work. I showed up for my eleven o’clock shift only ten minutes late this time, but the store was completely dark. There were two cars in the parking lot, and one of those cars had its headlights on. I drove to that car, and the driver was one of the assistant managers. I yelled out to him, “I take it I don’t work tonight.” He nodded his head and extended his index finger, indicating, “Wait a minute. I’m on the phone.”

     Really, it was a yes or no answer, and I could’ve been on my way. While waiting, I thought of everything that I know about this manager, who’s only worked at this store for a few weeks now. He claims that he has never smoked or drank in his life. Mindblowing. His wife has his dinner ready for him everyday when he returns home after work. And after dinner, they watch Battlestar Galactica together. Sounds like a fulfilling and happy marriage. He doesn’t need to smoke or drink.

     A few minutes later, he steps out of his car and tells me that somebody driving a forklift had hit and cracked a gas line. The store had to be evacuated. That employee had to be taken for an immediate drug test. The other car in the parking lot was that guy’s, by the way. My manager said that I could work at four o’clock in the morning, and work as long as I’d like, to make up for this. I said great and drove off.

     I returned to the store at 3:45 am and waited. Nobody was around. I bought a couple cheeseburgers, fries, and a coffee. At 4:11, nobody had arrived, so I drove down the street to the gas station for gas and cigarettes. Only the essentials. I drove past the store at 4:22, and still nobody was there. I honestly didn’t want to work today, but I forced myself to feel obligated, because I hardly get sixteen hours a week. So I drove for a while, across town, turned around, and drove back. At 4:47 I drove past the store again. Nobody was there. Fuck it, I said, and kept driving.

     “I am so happy that fall is comes. It brings with it a refreshment.”

     The Fall season always reminds me of experiences of my past that happened during the Fall, or just when it was chilly outside. Usually experiences that I should’ve enjoyed, but for some inexplicable reason, never did. Like my first semester in college. It was so-so. Now I also think of the early shifts I worked at Wal-Mart last year. Obviously I did not like that job, but the early morning shift was the best shift of all. 5 am until one or two pm, or whenever I decided to sneak out. Thinking of those cold morning commutes to a job where I’d spend most of my shift inside of an even colder meat cooler, I thought of a guy who also worked in the meat department. Kyle was his name. Good guy. Haven’t seen or heard from him since I quit that job last November. I saw him driving to Wal-Mart a few months back, so I’m pretty sure that he’s still toiling away in the meat coolers and worse, the freezers. How has he been? Did he ever win the heart of that girl he fell in love with from the dairy department, who refused to have sex, but found a sexual outlet masturbating on a webcam for random old men? She once showed me photos that she took of herself with her camera-phone. They were more humorous than arousing, in my opinion. Awkward poses set to a background of a bedroom decked out in Hello Kitty décor. Perhaps she was looking for a new “client”. I thought it odd to partake, showing up to work the next day, and seeing her stock egg cartons. Retail is a very mundane atmosphere, but every so often, you meet an interesting set of characters amidst the boredom. Driving through the Wal-Mart parking lot, Kyle’s car wasn’t there. I guess that I’ll have to ask him another day.

     On my way home, I passed by my store. It was 5:11, and there were two cars in the lot, one of them being the sober manager whom I spoke to hours earlier. He must’ve meant five o’clock in the morning. Too bad, I kept driving.

     I woke up at one o’clock this afternoon, cracked open a beer, a can of Modelo, and went outside for a smoke. The television was on and tuned into one of those music channels. “Sounds of the Seasons” it’s called. The song playing was some acid jazz, electronica fusion called, Teraphonic Overdubs. Because when I think of the Autumnal season, how the leaves turn rustic, and the brisk winds of the coming October and eventual winter, I think of Teraphonic Overdubs.