Where I Am

Last week I caught that woman in Accounts, the one with the alcoholic husband and the kid who’s always wiping his nose on his sleeve, I caught her stealing a bag of coffee from the staff room. I reported her to human resources, of course, and they gave her the sack. Things aren’t so great right at the moment, because the company has to remain competitive in the global marketplace, so there have been a lot of staff cuts. Everybody has to tighten their belts a little, do their bit. That’s why it makes me so sick to see those foreigners out on the picket lines in front of the schools and the hospitals.

There’s talk that next year I might be up for a promotion. If that happens I can afford to buy gas again for the Corolla, and I won’t have to take the bus. My supervisor says that there might even be a place for me in the marketing department one day, which means a company car and expense account. When that happens, the first thing I’ll do is get one of those Future Shop credit cards, and treat myself to some things.

Last night it was after midnight before I left the factory, and I thought I’d missed the last number 17. The only other person at the bus stop was some old woman with blood-soaked bandages wrapped around her head. She stunk like something from the grave. I don’t like being around sick people. They make me nervous. This whole city’s full of people talking to themselves, people with open weeping sores, and people with needles stuck into their arms. Everywhere I walk, there’s broken glass beneath my feet.

The building I live in is not very secure. It’s full of immigrants and welfare types. The caretaker is a drunk, and he fences stolen stuff from his apartment. I think he’s from Iran, Pakistan, Russia or Mexico. I’ve thought of reporting him to the police, but I’m afraid he’ll find out and cut my throat while I’m sleeping. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and I can hear him or somebody like him walking up and down outside my door, listening at my keyhole.

This friend of mine offered me a job across town that pays a bit more. But it would mean taking the Skytrain home and the youth gangs are at every station now. They would rather kill you than look you. Dump your body right on the tracks. I won’t even go shopping anymore unless it’s broad daylight. It’s worth your life to be caught outside after dark these days. No, I think I’d better stay right where I am.