Gary Steve awoke from his coma.
Although he was initially happy to be alive, this relief was temporary - his manager, Drake Pool, was standing in front of the hospital bed holding a mirror. In it Gary saw a disfigured face. It wasn't the same disfigurement his dysphoria made him always see - this was true deformation. The near-deadly speed of the conveyor belt had indeed ***ed his face. The surgeons had done what they could, but they had little to work with. Since Gary's Buyzon insurance wouldn't cover a face transplant, the surgeons had just covered him in duct tape. They ran out of tape mid-procedure.
"Sorry, bro. I wanted to be the one to show you, since I'm your manager. Your face is crazy, and it's probably gonna scare people. But Tonya wanted me to tell you she thought what you did was so brave, she's leaving me for you," said Drake Pool.
Gary Steve still had not quite regained his wits, something he was already short on.
"Really?? Where is she?"
Drake began laughing uncontrollably.
"I'm playing, bro. She ran out of here once she saw your face! That conveyor belt did more to you than I did to your mom last night!"
Something suddenly snapped in Gary Steve. One could attack his masculinity, his sexuality, even his mother (who had disowned Gary long ago for being a "bitch"). For the first and last time ever, Gary was about to be a man.
"Listen here, you goddamn knuckle-dragger. I've put up with your abuse since they made your caveman ass a manager, even though I'd applied for the job numerous times and was more than qualified. The only thing you're qualified in is making your little protein shakes and being an asshole, and you're too stupid to do those right! I don't know what Tonya sees in you, but you don't deserve those titties. I do. You don't deserve your manager position. I do. You are a disgrace to the Buyzon name and if the general public knew that people like you were running the place, they'd get their dildos elsewhere. If you disrespect Tonya in front of me one more time, I will kill you. I will kill you."
For once Drake Pool had no retort, no accusation of homosexuality at the ready. This was a new feeling - Drake Pool was actually impressed by Gary Steve. After he regained composure, he spoke.
"Alright, tell you what, Gary. That's the first time I've ever seen you stand up and make your voice heard in two years of being your manager. You want a promotion so bad, bitch boy? Let's see what you got. I'm gonna give you three days off, paid, and when you come back in on Monday you're gonna be training the new crew. Let's see if you can handle it. I'm outie five-thousand, dork."
Gary took a long drag on his juul and said nothing as his knuckle-dragging nemesis dragged his sorry behind out of the room without the same swagger with which he had entered.
After a long weekend of fantasizing about how Tonya would surely think he was sexy in the orange safety vest given to designate trainers, Gary walked into Buyzon on Monday morning a new man. Almost. He was still nervous, but he was ready to train. Ready to prove himself to the innumerable naysayers who had metaphorically taken a crap on him, and sometimes literally, as Gary had once had his lunch sabotaged by a pooping prankster. Security footage managed to disappear. Gary grew livid just thinking about it.
"You people will never take a *** in my soup again! And if you do, you'll be the ones eating it!! Not me!"
Gary was already slipping back into his old ways. Somehow his emotions had taken over to the point that nothing could stop him from exclaiming these thoughts out loud, rather than keeping him to himself as a calm and collected trainer would be expected to do. A crowd of onlookers laughed, but Gary remembered a coffee cup he had once seen that said "Zen." He repeated the word.
Still out loud! ***!
Gary put his hands in his pockets and walked away, ignoring the peanut gallery. He approached the manager desk, where Drake Pool was standing with his ever present clipboard and his trademark smirk, over which all the women swooned, even lesbians.
"Gotta be honest, Stevey Steve, my man. Not a great start to your new life as a trainer. But hey, I get it, bro. Pressure. I remember the pressure I felt when I was first trusted to train people... hey, on second thought, I wasn't nervous at all. That's also when I met Tonya."
Gary wished to remain silent, but instead uttered his new mantra again.
"....ooookay, buddy. Anyway, let's get this show on the road. Places, everybody!"
Drake Pool played Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" on the loudspeakers to let everyone know that we were to make all the newcomers feel welcome and cared for. Buyzon had hired psychologists to figure out which song would soothe first-day workers the most, and it was that.
"Gary Steve, we have a saying here at Buyzon. That saying is this: 'Sometimes you have to throw a bird in the deep end.' Do you know what that means, Gary?" asked Drake Pool.
"I'm assuming you mean something like I will be facing difficulty in order to learn faster? I'm all for it, knuckle dragger," said Gary. He was trying to think of a new insult, but he wasn't this accustomed to defending himself.
"Feisty, Gary Steve. I like it!" Such was Drake Pool's charisma that Gary Steve actually believed the man.
Tonya Thompson walked onto the floor with a megaphone, although all Gary Steve noticed was her yoga pants.
"Bring in the trainees!" she announced in a game show voice. Gary melted every time he heard her speak.
A young man in a wheelchair with no arms or legs suddenly rolled into view, and a small cast of rough looking characters followed closely. One trainee with an eyepatch was smoking a cigarette, and not even Drake Pool dared tell him to put it out. As far as he was concerned, these miscreants and rejects were in Gary Steve's hands now. Still, Gary remained undaunted. He liked a challenge, or so he thought.
"These hooligans, other than the wheelchair guy, are part of the local prison's work release program. You're looking at killers and creeps of the highest level. Good luck and good speed, Gary Steve," said Drake Pool as he began to walk away.
"Don't you mean godspeed, Mister..." Gary struggled. "Mister knuckle dragger!" He felt his face turn red.
"What was that, dork?" Drake Pool replied.
To let Gary know that he had indeed heard what was said, Drake grabbed a handful of Tonya's booty. They went to the secret break room to have intercourse for eighteen dollars an hour (and they went for hours). But for Gary Steve, it was training time.
Gary tried to remain cheerful in the face of adversity, but his house of cards was even weaker than most. Before Gary could even explain the different box sizes required for packing, one of the trainees interjected.
"Oi, there a bathroom 'round here, mate? I've got to take a crap!" said the old man.
"Ah, you're from England? Heh, I admire honesty in a worker, but we really don't use words like 'crap' here. But yes, you may use the restroom." Gary was proud of he handled the situation, but he soon discovered he had not actually handled it.
"You're a right cunt, mate," was all the old British man said. First there was a round of a ooh's and ah's, then followed by deafening silence. The pressure was on Gary Steve to prove his leadership.
"Heh, isn't your humor over there supposed to be a bit more subtle? Have you heard of Monty Python and The Office?" Gary thought this would score him points with the crowd for some reason.
"No humor about it, lad. A cunt's a cunt, and you're a cunt if I ever laid me eyes on one."
Gary was speechless. His brain went into maximum overdrive trying to come up with a rebuttal.
"Argh, we want the other guy to train us! The one with the hot girlfriend!" said the man with the eyepatch.
The crowd agreed, and they were beginning to sound like an angry mob of fish from a Spongebob episode. Gary knew that his next words would be crucial in defusing the situation.
"He may have looks, great posture, and a beautiful girlfriend, but if you want to learn how to really do this job, stick with me." This won Gary no favors.
"Argh, it be putting fleshlights in boxes, matey. I say you're a right cunt, just like the British crewman! We want the other guy!"
Suddenly the wheelchair kid started to rev up his chair and he launched himself at Gary Steve with astonishing velocity. Before Gary knew it, he was on the ground being repeatedly run over.
"Ahhgh! My organs! My ballsack! Get off me, you ***ing freak!"
The old British man took out his cane and whacked Gary in the head. The man with the eyepatch stuck his hook hand up Gary's butthole. Onlookers watched with astonishment, but none intervened.
Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity of a beating, a member of the HR department came running towards the scuffle.
"Break it up, break it up! Gary Steve, did I just hear you call this disabled person a freak?"
"You saw what they were doing to me!"
"Gary, if you can't be sensitive to the differences of others, I will personally see to it that you never train another person in the building ever again. Come on everyone, let's go find a real Buyzon worker. Drake Pool is who you people need," said the HR guy.
"Oi, he better be the man with the hot girlfriend, and not another cunt like this tosser."
Gary remained on the ground in astonishing pain, both physical and mental. Every shred of hope was now gone. He had run out of tears to cry. But in the mid-day silence of the warehouse, he could just slightly hear Tonya's moans coming from the break room. Now he could cry.