NEEDLES, CA – The announcement that a supervisor at a southern California glass eye factory is contemplating transferring from the second shift to the first shift has filled many of the company’s employees with trepidation. Shift Supervisor Willimet Kendrix confided to friends that she is indeed deliberating a transfer to the first shift. Willimet’s twenty-three year old son, Jimi Hendrix Kendrix, said his mom is aware that her decision could provoke hostile reactions from some of her coworkers.
“I told my mom that no matter what the consequences, I’ll be there for her.”
Willimet’s supervisor, Jerry Cramps, said because Willimet has been with the company for twenty-one years she has the right to transfer if she so chooses.
“Yep, it’s company policy. Once you’ve been here that long you can change shifts by filling out the necessary paperwork. Of course, you’re going to have to deal with the consequences of disrupting the pattern of living that many of your coworkers have grown accustomed to.”
The policy of the Glass Eyes “R” Us company states that if Willimet transfers to first shift, someone from the first shift will be required to move to second shift. Jerry Cramps said when that happens, “it’s best to stay low and draw the curtains.”
“Couple of years back one of our workers transferred from the first to the second shift and by the time all was said and done, we had two employees in the hospital, a family member on life support and another employee in jail. People don’t like their routines messed with. No Sir-ee, Bob. I been on the first shift goin’ on forty years now. If I was forced to work second shift, the monotonous routine my wife and I share would be undermined. Since she hates being alone I’d be at work every night agonizing about who she was with and what he was doing to her. If somethin’ like that were to happen I assure you, I’d be back on the pipe faster than you could say gum disease.”
Cletus Coco works on the first shift. With less than two years at the company he’s on the bottom rung of the seniority ladder. Unless someone with more seniority volunteers to work second shift, like it or not, Cletus would be forced to change shifts.
“If I have to work second shift my whole life is gonna be screwed,” Cletus barked, lighting a cigarette with trembling hands.
“I just joined the bowling team and we bowl on Tuesday nights, not Tuesday days. So, not only would I not be on the team anymore, but I just spent $68 on a new team jersey. That shirt was special made to my body contours. You think they’re gonna give me a refund? Huh?”
Cletus’ lips trembled as he flicked his ashes.
“My girlfriend works days. If I work nights, when we gonna see each other? What’s she going to do when I’m workin’, watch Hoarders by herself? She told me when we started seein’ each other that she can’t watch TV alone unless she’s drunk. Who’s going to hold her head when she throws up?”
Cletus said the two of them have discussed him quitting his job.
“We’d probably have to move back into the trailer with my mom. That wouldn’t be that bad except that my mom’s a racist and my girlfriend’s grandmother was born in Poland.”
Whatever decision Willimet Kendrix ultimately makes, it’s going to be some time before the warm embrace of routine wraps its comforting arms around the workers of this southern California glass eye factory.