The Night Shift

17 Dec

This month’s long prompt on Story Dam was to describe the people who make up the world in which our character lives.

Olivia has a lot of peeps in her world. The following short introduces you to the ones she hangs out with at work.

* * * * *

Olivia Hanson clocked into work at 2:05 p.m. and her boss, Sam Dubaugh, called her into his office at 2:05 and 14 seconds. Olivia loathed Sam, as did everyone else who worked at Garretson Enterprises, except for Stephie Klinger who was screwing him in a desperate attempt to be promoted to the front offices.

Yeah, like that would ever happen.

Olivia!” Sam barked out again when it took Olivia too long to snap to his command.

“Alright, alright,” Olivia muttered under her breath as she slid her timecard back into its slot and crossed the narrow hallway to Sam’s office.

Sam glared at her over his cluttered, metal utility desk as she slumped onto the chair across from him and waited for her daily butt-chewing to begin.

“You’re late.” Sam leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his barrel chest.

Sam was always trying to look intimidating, but Olivia didn’t know why he thought he needed to. He was a huge son of a bitch, made of rock instead of flesh. He intimidated everyone just by breathing. Everyone, except Olivia.

“Sorry. It won’t happen again,” she promised, not sounding the least bit sorry as she sucked on her fountain Dr. Pepper. They both knew damn well she would more than likely be late again before the week was up, but this routine of theirs was scripted and that was her line. She was obligated to say it. “Can I go now?”

“That’s your fifth tardy this month.”

“Sixth actually, but we’ll stick with five because it wasn’t my fault this time. Honest.”

“Uh-huh,” Sam grunted. He never believed her.

“Seriously! I got into an accident at the Get ‘n Go.”

“You back into the pumps again?”

“No,” Olivia grumbled. “A Dodge pickup.”

Sam’s frown deepened as he continued to stare her down. She stared back. Neither of them said a word as the second hand of the wall clock swept two full rotations around the number plate. Without breaking eye-contact, Olivia brought her lips back to the straw sticking out of the gigantic Styrofoam cup, and sucked.

“Don’t let it happen again,” Sam finally said, dismissing her with a wave.

He was a pushover.

Olivia took her time putting away her purse and slipping on her smock, and by the time she perched on her little stool it was 2:17 p.m. and Louise tsked in disapproval.

“Sorry.” Olivia did her best to look apologetic, but as soon as Louise turned her back, Olivia stuck out her tongue.

Louise hated Olivia with a passion, and the feeling was more than mutual. The woman was older than dirt and truly believed her shit don’t stink. Olivia had no clue if Louise’s shit did or didn’t stink, and she hoped she never found out.

Carla Rain bit back a laugh as Olivia nanny-nanny-boo-boo’ed the back of Louise’s head. Carla was a five-foot-tall, ninety-five pound, fifty-five-year-old alcoholic with a dirty mouth and no kids. She said if God wanted her to have children He would have handed them over to her fully potty-trained and old enough to drive her to the liquor store. She tried marriage once and didn’t like it, but was too cheap to get a divorce. The last time she saw her husband was in 1994. As far as she knows he’s still alive. No one’s ever told her otherwise.

“Spring washers today?” Olivia groaned. She hated the little parts, especially when she had a hangover. She’d be cross-eyed and half-blind before ten.

“Just for another few hours,” Carla assured her. “And then it’s battery contacts.”

“Awesome,” Olivia said, heavy on the sarcasm.

Garretson was top of the line in all of its manufacturing practices, except one—quality control. Armed with nothing more than a pair of calipers and a thick book of CAD drawings, Olivia and the other girls made up the entirety of the Quality Control Department. They sampled less than one-half of one-percent of the product going out the door. Most days Olivia just tried to look busy. Her job was pointless.

“Looks like someone had a good time on her date last night,” Izzie said with a smug smile. Of course she was smug. She was the one who had set Olivia up.

Newly-married and annoying about it, Isabel “Izzie” Bergman was Olivia’s best friend and the person responsible for Olivia being condemned to a life of misery at Garretson in the first place. On the morning Izzie went to apply at Garretson, she had sat in her car in Olivia’s driveway, dressed in her Sunday best and laying on the horn, begging Olivia to come with her. Since Olivia was already up and somewhat dressed, and had nothing better to do that day anyway, she had tagged along.

When the HR manager told Izzie what the starting pay at Garretson was, Olivia quickly calculated it as her way out of South Juliette and across the tracks to the greener pastures of Northside in no time at all. Without thinking it through, or even bothering to ask what the job entailed, Olivia quit her minimum-wage, cashier gig at Dickie’s Drugs via text message and signed her life away alongside Izzie.

Olivia worked one day and hated every second of it. The room was sweltering hot, dirty and loud. The metal dust floating in the air coated her teeth with grit. Worst of all, the smock they issued her smelled like Corn-Nuts. Everything about it sucked—big time. At exactly midnight, she ripped off the stinky smock and peeled out of the parking lot, swearing at the top of her lungs that she was never going back there again. Ever!

But she did.

She went back the next day, and the day after that. She never stopped going back. On her and Izzie’s five-year anniversary, Olivia swore with a wave of her fork around a mouthful of rum cake that, seriously, she was never coming back. Yet, there she was.

“Good drinks, shitty time,” Olivia corrected Izzie.

“What was wrong with Ryan? He’s a nice guy with blonde hair, blue eyes and he’s a Northsider—everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Quit being so picky.”

“Have you ever actually talked to the guy?” Olivia asked. “He could put Ambien out of business.”

“I’ve never met him. He and John golf together.”

Olivia laughed at the mental image. “Since when does John golf?”

Izzie’s husband, John, was a trash man for the city of Juliette. Every inch of his body was covered in tattoos and his goatee hung down to the middle of his chest. He was a scary-looking dude, but somehow he came across as cute and cuddly at the same time. It was weird.

“Three weeks ago maybe?” Izzie said as she thought about it, causing her perfectly-plucked brow to furrow and her pretty, little nose to wrinkle.

Izzie was so pretty and perfect it made Olivia gag. Mainly on her own raging jealously.

“Why were you late today?” Stephie asked. Since Stephie was screwing the boss, she thought that made her the boss, which pissed Louise off, because Louise thought Louise was the boss. It was laughable, especially when they tried to boss each other around.

“None of your business,” Olivia answered.

“Sleeping off your hangover?” Carla guessed.

“No, I backed into some guy at the Get ‘n Go.”

“Was he cute?” Izzie asked.

“I have no idea.” She hadn’t looked at him. “Knowing my luck he was probably hot as hell, and I just smashed up his truck.”

“He was probably your Carl, Jr.,” Melanie Neilson chimed in. She sighed with a dreamy, little smile as her hands fluttered up to her heart. Her eyes teared up and her chin began to quiver. Her hands fanned her face as she tried to fight it, but she lost the battle and ran for the restroom. No one followed her. That was just Mel. She cried all the time.

Melanie was only twenty-five, the same age as Olivia, but already married and divorced with four kids. Her ex, the aforementioned Carl, Jr., was supposedly a good man who just couldn’t kick a meth addiction. Melanie was certain he would find the Lord and get clean.

Their love for each other bordered on obsession. She only divorced him to get better government assistance after their fourth child was born. If she had waited a few more months to file, she would have received the assistance anyway. Carl, Jr. was arrested just outside of Omaha for driving the wrong way on I-80, nearly killing a family of four from Maryland. He was sentenced to five-to-ten in the State Pen for possession with intent to sell, and Mel was lost without him.

Izzie took a deep breath, and Olivia rushed to pop her ear buds into her ears and hit shuffle on her iPod before Izzie could exhale. Whenever Izzie took a deep breath she was about to delve into a long and winding, painfully-tedious story about John and how fabulously wonderful he was.

Usually it was one Izzie had already told Olivia the night before between shots at Kitty’s Place, the bar they currently favored because George Gregory Valish was the bartender. He was hot and made their drinks strong. Olivia would give her first-born to the devil for one night in heaven with George, and she had told him as much late one night after way too many whiskey sours. He had yet to take her up on the offer.

The night limped along and Olivia ran out of Dr. Pepper by the third hour. She took two extra smoke breaks to make up for it. Izzie and John were trying to make a baby, so Izzie rushed home at exactly midnight, leaving Olivia on her own as she walked into Kitty’s with just enough time to suck down three beers before last call. She threw a quarter into the jukebox, eliciting a collective groan from the room as the first bars of John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” played.

“You need to pick a new favorite song, Liv!” George called out as he slid a bottle down the bar to her usual stool.

“Aw, you all love it and you know it,” Olivia dismissed with a smile. She always smiled whenever she looked at George. It was an involuntary, knee-jerk reaction to how incredibly hot he was. Dark hair, tan skin, the face and body of a Roman god. Sexual perfection.

As Olivia perched on her stool and chugged her beer, George leaned in close and asked, “Who’s the guy you were with last night?”



“Some guy, Ryan, that Izzie hooked me up with,” Olivia said with a roll of her eyes. “She thinks he’s perfect for me.”

“Izzie’s wrong.”


George just smiled and moved back down the bar without another word.

“When are you gonna to grow a pair and ask me out?” she hollered after him.

“Someday, Liv,” he promised with a wink. “Someday.”



6 Responses to “The Night Shift”

  1. bridgetstraub December 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    I like it. I want to hear more about her and George.

    • Donna December 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

      What do you want to know about them? George isn’t one to kiss and tell, but Olivia doesn’t mind. You can ask her anything! LOL 🙂

  2. Carrie December 18, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    This was very entertaining. You painted a good picture of the characters who worked with Olivia. And I love the “unrequited” feelings passing between her and George…I wonder if she completely changed her personality, became more quiet and mysterious, he’d finally ask her out?

    • Donna December 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

      LOL He probably would, but Olivia tends to be her own worst enemy when it comes to love, (and life in general.) She’d push harder instead of backing off.

  3. brandontheduncan December 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Once again, smashing our little challenge all to hell. 🙂

    You do very well with character creation. Why haven’t you written more books? Time? What? I get hobby, etc… but you should really get busy becoming a full timer with loads of anticipation carrying your name all over. Just sayin’.

    • Donna Sturgeon (@Donna_Sturgeon) December 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

      I would love to be a full-timer instead of a hobbyist, but for some crazy reason my kids seem to think they need to eat. They’re weird like that. LOL I dream of the day I can quit my day job and crank out bestsellers every seventeen days. Until then, I set my alarm insanely early, mainline coffee, and eke out a few measly paragraphs at a time.

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