Rory rolled over in bed and looked through the half opened curtains. The sky was trying to turn into twilight outside the windows but it was hard to noticed because the grey clouds blocked everything out. He sighed and wondered what was become of summer.
Listening, Rory could hear a few birds twittering in the distance but that faded as the rain started to drip down. He carried on watching as at first it drizzled then poured. The urge not to get up took him. His phone was only a roll to the other side of the bed away and he had his manager on speed dial.
He needed the money so badly though and he could’t offered to get fired from another job. Getting up, he went to turn on the bedroom light but as his fingers touched the switched, he remember the fuse had blown last night. He turned on the lamp instead and got ready.
Rory dressed in old jeans, his work uniform’s dark blue polar top, the matching fleece jacket and black trainers. He went into the bathroom, ran the cold water tap, which squealed in protested at being turned and scrubbed his face. He brushed his teeth then tried to flatten down his dark brown longish hair. He caught his reflection in the mirror and wished he hadn’t. He looked weeks starved with a growing brown beard and dead grey eyes.
He turned away, the tap dripping behind him and the plumbing rattling. He grabbed his bag from the bedroom and went he went down the creaking old stairs, wondering if any of his six housemates were around. The living room, dinning room and kitchen were empty. He reasoned they were still out at work or sleeping or just not being in this dumpy ex-student house.
He scrapped together some kind of meal to eat later; three crackers, a bag of plain crisps, four digestive biscuits and an energy drink. He peered into the rusty bread bin, knowing nothing was going to be there but still hoping. There was a fresh loaf of bread, open and with two slices missing!
Rory grabbed it out, grateful someone had brought it then made a cheese sandwich and two slices of toast. Before anyone could appear to tell him off, Rory left the house via the back door.
He hurried to the bus stop, wolfing down the toast. When he got there, he tried to find a dry spot which was hard because the teenagers had broken the shelter again and there was glass everywhere. The bus was early and half empty which meant Rory could huddle in the back seat away from everyone else.
He watched the rain washing down the emergency door window and tried not to think about the next numbing twelve hours. This job he had gotten through a friend of a friend’s girlfriend was only part-time; Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in a warehouse.
Rory’s role was a picker which meant he went around with huge lists of orders and he had to take the items off the shelves to return them to the packers, who put everything in boxes with labels and shipped them off to the waiting vans for delivery the next morning.
He rang the bus’s bell to get off a few stops out of town then walked into the industrial estate. Warehouse, business buildings and car parks of all size grew around him. Large security fences around each one give the impress of a cluster of different islands each with their own secrets. Rory walked to one on the far edge, down a single road and pavement that didn’t want to end.
Entering the employees door, he clocked in then went to the bathrooms. The place was always clean and smelling of lemon. The hot water stayed hot, the hand dryer and fresh paper towels a blessing. Rory dried off and fixed himself up as best he could. He didn’t like to look scruffy even though it couldn’t be helped in his current circumstances and this job sort of give the impression that it was okay to look a little rough.
Rory got to work. He took some order forms from the stack, grabbed a huge cart and headed off down the aisle of shelving units. He liked at first to imagine that he was buying stuff for himself; a new pair of football shoes, a game console controller, a funny picture book. Some items he would wondered what he’d actually do with; a make up bag, a unicorn stuff toy, fake designer perfume. Other items, he dreamed about owning but then he started to be become numb to it.
He’d look at the list, see what item was next and collect it with no thought. When the cart was full, Rory would deliver it and the completed order forms to the packers. He would leave them to sort the items into the correct boxes and send them down the conveyor belts where more packers would place them into vans.
There was little else to his job but there was nothing he could do. Rory felt trapped, like a mouse in a cage who wanted out real bad. He was nothing more then a zombie here even though he had the brains for a better job, perhaps in an office? Nobody wanted a school drop out with a criminal record for stealing and vandalism though. Like his parents hadn’t wanted him when he had been born.
He got on with his working night then caught the first bus home in the early hours of the morning. It had stopped raining and the sky was a watery blue with a touch of yellow. Rory went up the front steps, down the side of the four floored house which once had been a pleasant family home but was now a demolition waiting to happen and to the back door.
He let himself in and rummaged around the kitchen. Someone had been to the food bank because there was a blue plastic crate on the floor filled with carry bags stuffed full. Rory had a look and found some tinned stuff; soup, beans, fish, veg and meat. There was packets of noodles, biscuits, crackers, sweets, rice and fruit. Also, washing up liquid, toilet rolls, soap bars and a surface cleaner.
Rory grabbed a tin of soup, a banana and a packet of sweets. He found a bowl and heated the soup up. Whilst he waited, he looked at the bags and though he knew he shouldn’t, for the food was meant for everyone to share, he took out a packet of noddles, a packet of rice and another tin of soup. He hide them in his bag to take upstairs with him later.
He felt better once he had eaten something warm and had some sweets. Almost, like normal again. He talked with the housemates that were in for awhile, watched some TV with them then Rory went to bed.
He undressed to his boxers, put t-shirt on then quietly took the food he had taken out of his bag. He slide a small plastic box out from underneath his bed and put the things in there. Hopefully, the mice wouldn’t get them.
Rory got into bed, feeling waves of tiredness pulling him into sleep. He felt torn about what to do tomorrow. Could he really stand another shift at the warehouse? He argued in his head about choices and ideas but he was too sleepy to really care.
Finally, Rory told himself that if he wanted to have a roof over his head and food in his belly then he would go to work tomorrow. And even though the little hope he had left was dimming everyday, he still clung to it in the hope that one day his life would change for the better.
(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/18/weekly-writing-prompt-146/ with thanks).