The Temp Job – A Short Story

Some jobs are worse than others, and some are plain hell. When you’re desperate for money, there is no telling which job you’ll be willing to take. I remember the first job I took, years ago at a food processing plant. It was a place that made flavored powders, much like the ones you’d find in a cup of noodles in that little packet.

I needed the money, and I was just starting off working this job hating it after only the first ten minutes. I was working the sanitation department, and the smell of soy sauce mixing with the water in it’s powder like form was nauseating. I never will truly forget that smell.

During my training, I was told never to go into this back room, which was sealed off and had men going in and out with crates full of god only knows what. I wondered why they told me so seriously, as if I was trying to enter a military base without clearance. My job was just a simple task of just cleaning containers of the leftover residue from the last cooked batch.

It wasn’t glamorous, and half my co-workers spoke so bad in English I could hardly understand them. I had been in a high school long enough to know when they we’re trash talking me in Spanish. I remember hearing one of them saying something in Spanish that really caught my attention.

One of them asked the other, “You got the special shipment today”. The other replied “Yeah, this is the largest yet”.

I found it suspicious for a simple food flavoring factory to consider something a special shipment. What’s that all about?

Days later I was asked to spend a few hours of overtime, into the late night. Desperate for the extra money, I could never refuse. I spent hours upon hours in an unbearable session of working alone in a room with a drain in the floor soaked up to my knees, washing out barrels. I felt lightheaded, and ill, and my hands we’re tingling like I had some sort of neuropathy.

I wondered why I had this feeling every time I went to work. I felt like my appendages were in some severe pain. I pushed through the unpleasant shift. A curious personality, left alone, and feeling ill sought out to take a walk to clear my mind for a few minutes.

Everyone was gone. Seeing this, my curiosity got the best of me, the restricted door I was told to never enter was unattended. I walked up to it and opened the door. What I saw shocked me beyond all belief.

I stood there in the doorway, afraid to take a step inside of the dimly lit room. I didn’t know what I was looking at and my curiosity got the best of me. I searched around and found large jars filled with pills and a box of empty ibuprofen bottles laying next to them. There was a bright room in the back separated by a thick plastic divider like you would see in a walk-in freezer. I move one of them to the side and see a complete set of body suits enough to supply a full hazmat team, followed by beakers and vials of all shapes and sizes. There was a cooler with trays of clear substance, almost like clear plastic glass. It was at this moment that I realized. I was working for an undercover meth lab.


I went to walk out the door when the manager approached me with a small handgun and said “I’m sorry brother, you weren’t supposed to see that”.



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