Alex coughed into his face mask and looked expectantly at the Reception desk in the small medical lounge outside his doctor's office. He was uncomfortable sitting in the rail sided chairs the clinic offered. They were a tight fit for his 387 pound body.
"Alex Tellveccio? " A starched white priestess in mask and gloves raised her head from the office clipboard, scanning the lounge.
"That's Me." Alex piped, pushing his bulk out of the chair, he waddled to the inner sanctum door, and waited for the nurse to admit him.
The door opened, and evil clone of the receptionist gave him a brief professional smile. "Dr Kyle will see you in room eight" The nurse pointed down the small hall to the last room at its end.
It would be the last room, Alex thought sourly, but nodded at the nurse and made his way to the examining room, where with the aid of the small stool there managed to scoot onto the pallet.
Dr. Kyle entered thumbing a thin dog eared file, and looked up saying, "How's that diet coming?"
"I switched to diet pop," Alex said helpfully.
Dr. Kyle stroked his chin, eyeing Alex, and said, " I think you should find some, ah, moderate form of exercise to help increase your calorie burn rate. I wouldn’t suggest it to an older man, but at your age, perhaps a part time job for the summer, mow someones lawn, or something that would guarantee a regular schedule of activity would be helpful."
Alex shrugged, working to remove something from his left nostril. "Mom takes care of me. Money is always tight, but she still comes through with my allowance on time, and gets the laundry out. That’s all I really need. Anyway, we are all supposed to stay home if we can"
Dr. Kyle's face tightened. "Your poor mother is too old and frail too be coddling a big strapping lad like you. Besides we are talking about your health here, not your mothers."
There was more of this in the same vein, and then the weighing in, the chest thumping, tiny cold flashlight in the ear, and so on. Eventually Alex found himself back on the street, and made his way to his favorite coffee shop, It was still closed of course,but he stopped outside long enough to pick a paper out of the squat lock box. There wasn’t a lot of classifieds in the Daily, but one item caught his eye.
Wanted: MACHINE GREASER
No experience required. 2 hours only.
Apply 222 Dexter Drive
Two hours didn't sound too strenuous, and he had promised the doctor he would do something. Best of all, it was only a half block away, so Alex sucked it up and made the heroic half block walk, ending before a nondescript red brick building, with a couple of black smoking stacks poking skyward in the rear.
The receptionist passed a small clipboard and pencil stub through the window, and Alex was pleased to note the applications Brevity.
Social Security number:
Marital status: Sex:
Well, thought Alex, it was only for two hours. Probably paid minimum wage, they likely didn’t care about the details as long as you showed up for work. The weight thing bothered him though.
"Is there a weight restriction for this job?" He asked the receptionist.
The receptionist shook her head. "Actually, quite a few successful applicants here are a little overweight."
Alex passed the clip back through the window.
"Please have a seat. The interviewer will be with you shortly."
A middle aged harried looking man bumped through the anteroom door and shook Alex's hand. "Just the man were looking for, no doubt about it. Machine greasing requires a special jumper though, for obvious reasons. You mind wearing one?"
Alex looked surprised at the fast response, but shook his head.
"Good, good. Come on back and well get you fitted up."
They passed through the small office area and through a heavily built door into the factory proper. Giant grey machines shuddered and cycled, armatures shuttling round in tight mechanical routines, with a great deal of squealing and shuddering.
"Should have asked what the pay rate is." Thought Alex, as they approached another jumper clad worker who was busy wielding a huge wrench at the base of one of the automations.
"Bob, Alex. Alex, Bob. Alex is here to help grease the machines. You want to get him started?" the harried interviewer asked.
Bob looked Alex up and down, nodded and said "You'll do. Follow me."
"Gee, sure is noisy in here, hot too," noted Alex, following the blue jumpered maintenance worker to a small door at the plant's rear.
"Yeah, we are way behind on maintenance, good thing you're here. Go on in" said Bob, "and get an empty locker. Strip down and put this on." He said passing a
TyVek jumper, bound in a paper strap to Alex.
Alex passed into the locker room, found an unoccupied olive green locker and changed into the rather comfortable jumper. It wasn’t often that any kind of clothes fit him properly, and he was thankful for that. He swung the locker door shut, frowning. No lock. He would have to ask for one, or buy one if he was going to be using the lockers regularly.
Bob was waiting outside when he emerged. "All set? Remember your locker number?"
"One sixty three," said Alex.
"O.K.," said Bob, "let's go."
They walked to one of the large grey machines, and Bob opened a hatch affixed to a large hopper.
"What you do is, lean way down into the hopper here, and then follow my instructions. Be careful, it's slippery," noted Bob.
Alex looked into the deep black hopper, but couldn’t see anything , so leaned in as far as he could and stuck his arms out ahead of him, feeling around.
Suddenly a couple of gears set in the hoppers bottom started up, snagging at the jumper, pulling him in.
Bob quickly grabbed at the boys legs and pulled him up dumping him entirely into the hopper, then banged the lid closed and hit a button. There was a grinding noise, a burbling, gloping sound, and the machines in the shop seemed to quiet down some.
The harried interviewer trotted over and wiped a handkerchief over his balding head. "That’s a lot better" he said. "How long did it take?"
"Less than an hour total since he hit the front door, my reckoning" said Bob.
"Probably ought to change the ad, we're still saying two hours." The Interviewer noted.
Bio: So, I write largely science fiction and fantasy, and fantasy/humor. I do novels, short stories, Serial short stories, Novellas, all that. If all goes well, I expect to be posting a good deal of both here. What else can I say? I like walks in the rain and ice cream? I sketch, play blues harp, have been known to program for fun. Gamer? Yeah, I'm a slacker. Ran Plotters of Dreams for writers before it was virtually shut down save in title by Yahoo cuts in service, for ten years and counting. Ive moderated other groups, and obviously, writing is a passion. -Want to make peoples day, send them on vacation, make them chuckle occasionally.