ASKING FOR A SMOKE BREAK
by SAM JAM
1. Hey Boss, is it chill if I take a fifteen minute break outside, smoke a cigarette, all while, slightly misting at the eye and contemplating how I ended up working at a grocery store in the middle of the worst global health crisis in decades? Alright, thank you very much. See you in a bit.
2. Yo Boss, fine if I go out back, sit on the ledge in the loading dock, intensely chain smoke at least three cigarettes while remaining mindlessly fixated on an immediate spot on the concrete wall a couple feet in front of my face? Then come back inside and absentmindedly cheer on eldery customers struggling to use their debit cards at my register? Cool?
3. Hey Boss, would it be fine if I took my break and did my thing again? You know, where I lay down in a near fetal position, plug my airpods in, rip off my face covering, inhale the sweet smoke of a light green menthol spirit, and emotionally fuck the saddest song I can find on Spotify? I think I’d give better customer service on register next hour if I did. Thanks.
4. Aye Boss, was wondering if it would be a good time for me to go take that routine break I normally take, where I leave in a good mood, joyfully walk across the parking lot to my car, smoke a cigarette, ponder the vast infinitude of our universe and it’s relation to my meager paycheck, get bummed out, and slowly mope back across the parking lot with an empty look in my eyes that makes customers feel weird? Sound good? Awesome.
5. Hey Boss, was wondering if I could go on that break I normally do after being on register for an hour where I run across the street, stand in that one damp dirt patch in the tall bushes that was previously occupied by a transient person, whip out my lighter, yank down my mask way under my chin, smoke my cig, and imagine yelling at and punching all the people who wear their masks under their noses? Awesome. Be back in ten.