If she were wrapping those tacos as though her life depended on it, she would be dead. Yet maybe some part of her was already. Maybe you had to be, to take on a job like this. It was always Alaina’s opinion that most people were dead. That’s how they were able to work. One couldn’t think too closely about what working actually was in order to be able to do it. Ergo a certain “requisite” shrinking of the brain cells so as to be able to function. Which, yes, Alaina admitted, seemed antithetical to functioning. And so, because of this collective diminishment of brainwave activity on the part of humanity so that they could live in service of capitalism, they all seemed mostly dead—zombie-like. Just as this girl was, the one Alaina had been given ample time to dub “the slowest Chipotle wrapper in the world.”
And it wasn’t one of those “white bitch” things where she was acting like a diva about “being served.” A person of any color or creed would be unable to ignore the Flash the Sloth tendencies of this girl. Someone no older than seventeen, therefore a person who should technically have the agility to, well, move quickly. Dexterously. Or at least not so goddamn slowly. Alaina tried not to glare, tried to pretend that she wasn’t noticing at all the sudden bottlenecking of the line and how even the cashier was glancing over at her to see what the holdup was with ringing up this latest customer at the trough. It certainly appeared as though Slothy was making no notice of it so why should she?
Alaina made quick eye contact with the cashier, a quintessentially acne-pocked teen whose hair was likely too greasy for even his peers to allow him to set foot anywhere near the prepared foods. Although Alaina had graduated from high school seven years ago, she felt lightyears away from this phase in her life, and had little to no empathy for “what it was like” anymore. She just wanted her motherfucking tacos so that she could sit outside for a bit before having to return to her office prison. But no, Slothy over here had to go and ruin any such “grand” plans. God, when had she become such an adult? When had she lost her understanding of what it was like to have a truly shitty job? The kind so shitty that you shouldn’t even bother with it at all because it pays literally nothing. Particularly when factoring the ratio of time put in to effort required. But Slothy was reinventing the wheel here. Not only was she putting in time, but she was also managing to put in an artful sort of “effort.” She kept starting over again whenever the wrapper would fall off, spontaneously crumpling in her hands. She managed to make foil do this. Perhaps because it wasn’t used to being so overhandled.
Whoever trained Slothy in “Chipotle wrapping” hadn’t done so with care. Or rather, likely ran out of patience for how slow-moving she was. How dull her brain. But again, it bears noting that one simply must dull their brain to be able to work the kind of the jobs this world has to offer. Alaina herself was aware of a certain “white noise” sensation inside her head ever since she started at Prentice & Co. Yes, just another generic, eponymously-named company that gave no actual insight into what the business did. Those were usually the “highest-paying” jobs a college graduate could hope for. Though never so high-paying as to actually be able to get oneself out of debt. Alaina herself had mountains and mountains of it. Certainly more mountainous than the scant amount of chicken the first “preparer” had decided to place in the taco shells. She was starting to question why she came here. Once upon a time, maybe it was because it was “quick” and “cheap.” Now, however, it was not only rather expensive (curse you, inflation!), but also impossibly slow thanks to Slothy.
And where was the onsite manager in all this? If Alaina had been tasked for that role, she would have fired Slothy so fast it would make her head spin right off her dainty little neck. Then again, a detached head wouldn’t have made much difference here, cognitive skills-wise. As the line behind her continued to mount, what was most shocking of all to Alaina was how willing everyone was to endure this subpar service for the sake of even more subpar food. Had America really let its standards sink this low? And then she remembered the 2016 election and came back to reality. Yes, this is what people had “learned to live with.” That was the big trick in society. Get people so accustomed to a shitty existence, that they’re just grateful they can get anything at all.
After approximately five minutes had passed and Slothy still couldn’t get the hang of the “patented” Chipotle wrapping method, Alaina finally said, “You know what? Can you just hand it to me? I don’t need it wrapped.” Either not registering or choosing to ignore the vexation in Alaina’s voice, Slothy shrugged and proceeded to hand over the “goods.” As she did so, the contents spilled out over the edge, falling onto the counter and everywhere else it was within reach of. The cashier stared down at the innards and then back at Alaina, as though looking to her for guidance about what to do. The stand-up thing to do, obviously, would be to make Alaina another order and comp her for it, but the thought of waiting around once again for Slothy, the slowest Chipotle wrapper in the world, made Alaina shudder with disgust. All she could do in that moment was simply turn and walk away, lamenting, One day, these people will be running the country.
Back out in the world, where things moved a bit faster, she unlocked her car door and started to get inside. Out of nowhere, Slothy called out to her, “Miss! Excuse me, Miss!” So presumptuous for her to call her by a gender-based title. When Alaina turned around, she saw Slothy moving with stealth speed—of the variety she could have only dreamed of for the wrapping of her order.
As she got closer, Alaina could see that, in Slothy’s hands, she carried a perfectly wrapped trio of tacos. “We didn’t want you to leave without another order,” Slothy announced when she stood face to face with her customer. Alaina smiled, thinking, Ah, that’s actually sweet. One day, these sweet dullards will be running the country. That is, if there still is a country.