I came in like a wrecking ball. Like a bad attitude in a bad suit. Like a minimum wage employee with minimum fucks to give. Casual employee – casual attitude. I’d worked at the airport for two years by this point, and took the news that I was transferring to a different store, over at the other end of the airport, with little-to-no interest. ‘A shitty leopard can’t change its shitty spots’ I probably said to myself, doing a wicked ‘grind’ on my ‘skateboard’ or something similarly indicative of rebellion in that show, Degrassi Junior High. I’ve never been on a skateboard, FYI.
On my first day in the new store, I discovered that Mega C (as the store was called) was actually an entirely different animal to Mega B. If Mega B was a shitty leopard, then Mega C was a gormless elderly cow who liked to lick electric fences and was scared of big flowers. Everyone was super friendly in Mega C. They made me feel welcome and inquired about my well-being. The manager invited me into her office to ‘get to know me’, rather than to yell at me for telling lies to businessmen. Our lunch breaks were sprawling hour and a half affairs. It was a weird utopia, which I gradually relaxed into, like someone who didn’t expect to be in a spa-bath, relaxes into their surprise spa-bath.
But it wasn’t to last: the entire reason I’d been transferred in the first place was as a vanguard for Mega B. Like an aggressive tumour, or a burst sewage pipe, Mega B was going to expand all the way around the airport until it had reached Mega C, swallowing it up and incorporating it into one super evil hybrid leopard-cow. The staff in Mega C were worried that things would change, and when they asked me what it was like in the other store, I would just stare into the distance, trembling.
And while that did actually come to pass, a freeway being built right through a sleepy farming community, Mega C was broken well before then – and it was because of me. Chatting one day in the tech department, I told the guys that I’d recently bought a Nintendo DS, and was looking forward to playing Pokemon on it. One of the guys was like ‘Oh, you know, I can put like, 200 games on one card for you, it will just cost you $50 for the card’. And I was like, ‘that’s great value!’
The next week, I walked into the store and wandered over and gave the dude the money, and wondered why he looked so uncomfortable. It was only when he was fired the next day for conducting illegal business transactions on the store floor, that I realised that what we were doing wasn’t actually a legal thing. The police got involved, and several more people were fired, as a black-market ring was apparently flourishing in several sections. The store was riven apart by suspicion and doubt. There were grim rumours of a ‘narc’ who had dobbed in all these people – these employees who nearly all supported large families and came from lower socio-economic backgrounds. But it wasn’t a narc, it was me. I was the gormless cow, gormlessly wandering in the crime pastures, sleepily ruining everything for everyone else.