12:50 AM: The Job at Whole Foods
I have a job as a checker at Whole Foods; I’m working there with Lobo. The registers are arranged like the seats in a theater, with rows of them on an inclined floor. There is just a wall where the stage ought to be. I have a card that I have to insert into the register to make it work; the register reads the bar code imprinted on the card. There are two versions of this card; one is the size of a regular credit card, and I use it when I log into a register, but the other is about three inches by a foot, and it’s got computer circuitry on one end, and a card like the first on the other end. I think I have to use this one to log in and out of the system on a daily basis.
The manager is a young woman; I keep trying to place her face, but can’t think of who she is. It may be Teresa B. from the acting class. Similar to her, at least – petite, blond, smiling. I ask her if I can check in at a different register, and go back and forth between two different ones; she tells me that I can’t do that. It has something to do with having to give away free animal crackers – apparently, that’s what she has to do when she has a customer complaint.
I notice at some point that I have a barcode imprinted on my left shoulder; it doesn’t look like it’s branded or tattooed, it looks like what happens when you sleep on a textured surface and it imprints on your skin. I hadn’t noticed myself being shirtless before this, but I can see the imprint on my skin, and I don’t appear to have a shirt on.
I’m talking to Lobo, and tell him about how I have to check into the register with the barcode, and I show him the code on my shoulder. This makes him really mad – apparently it’s a new system, and it bothers him because he thinks it violates everybody’s privacy. He storms off in a huff. I have to explain it to the manager, and I tell her that he left because of the barcode system.
Then, the theater is set up with seats, not registers. We’re going to watch some sort of performance or show. I go and sit down in a seat, and the guy in the seat behind me puts his feet on my shoulders. I give him a glare, push his feet off, and move over a seat.
Then there are men coming and taking people away. We’re going to some place where we’re going to take classes of some sort. They carry us in these strange sling-like things, each person is carried between two of these men. Some of the people in the theater were veterans, and they don’t have all their limbs, so the slings were designed specially for them. The slings are bands of steel or some metal, and the people are suspended between them.
I have somehow cut the big toe of my right foot. One of the guys carring me looks at it, and seems pleased to see that I’m bleeding; it’s like it’s a manly thing, that I’ve cut it and haven’t worried about it. The guy who is carrying the end by my head asks if I cut it today. He takes a dull knife and cuts my left shoulder, where the barcode was (but didn’t seem to be anymore) – it seems like it’s just a test to see how I react, and it doesn’t hurt me much, and he seems pleased. It’s like a bonding experience. They take us to an underground area, it reminds me of Marty’s, where the kitchen goes under the stairs.
They’re going to teach us some sort of self-defense class. I am excited. They put a foam pad on the floor. One man has a plastic piece, it reminds me of the shape of a patella, or one of the little dishes I use for spices. He’s going to teach us how to fake a shooting death; the plastic piece is to cover the body so that it won’t get injured. There is a little machine gun on a stand here, too. There’s something on a sign or a chalboard about how to make it look like somebody dies, then comes back.
They give us some food. I have something that looks like ice cream and whipped cream; I figure it’s safe, so I start eating it. When I get closer to the bottom of the dish, though, there’s cake underneath it, so I stop eating it, and I talk to a guy about how I can’t eat it, and why. There are two men in the classroom with us now to teach us. One of them says he used to have sprue, but it cleared up; I start telling him about how it never really clears up, and he shouldn’t be eating wheat.