I took a factory job – By Mr_Outlaw
I never should have dropped out of college.
The difference between Zuckerberg and I is astronomical, but I was delusional enough to think otherwise. I wasn’t completely hopeless, though. I had an idea of what I wanted to become. But that’s irrelevant here.
This is the story about how I ended up at the factory.
I was living by myself in San Antonio at the time. My folks were kind enough to give me a bit of “moving out cash”, and I was also working part time during school. That’s how I’d been sustaining myself. But as much as I love them, there was no way in hell that I was moving back in, that just wasn’t an option. After taking up a few temporary stints around the city, the bills started piling up. In addition to that, I’d also been fired from my part-time. Not that it mattered too much. I was making peanuts there.
I started looking everywhere, trying to secure another steady source of income. But that turned out to be quite the process. As my bills started stacking, so did my rejection emails.
At first, I was being selective, trying to land something that was considerably higher than the minimum wage. That was just wishful thinking.
In the end, I decided to settle for a 9$/hour gig at a local restaurant. But then I found something better.
A lot better.
It was a singular flyer taped to the side of a bus stop shelter. I looked it over and was put into a state of absolute incredulity.
We’re looking for some hard-working individuals to help out in our new factory! Starting rates at $21/hour. Please email or give us a call if you think you’re up to the task! No previous warehouse experience required.
That last line got me. No fucking experience needed.
Now, if I were smarter, then I could’ve seen where this was going. If something’s too good to be true… you know the rest.
But I suppose that desperate times don’t only yield desperate measures. They also make you disregard the concept of reality.
I decided to give them a call later that day. I thought it’d show more initiative than sending an email, I don’t know.
After a few rings, a younger sounding woman picked up.
“Hello! This is the Dolus Company, Marie speaking. How may I help you today?”
I tried to do a quick recollection in my head. Had I ever heard about a “Dolus Company?” I hadn’t. But it’s not like I’d know about every company in Texas, so this wasn’t an immediate cause for concern.
The phone call went surprisingly well. A bit too well in retrospect. But hey, desperate times.
We’d set up an interview for the following day at around 9 AM.
Things were starting to look up.
That morning, I drove out to the factory address. It was kind of on the outskirts of town, but that wasn’t the biggest problem. It was only a twenty-five minute drive, and there would be little traffic on the way there.
I suppose that you could call the place medium sized. I mean, I haven’t seen too many factories in real life, so it’s hard to make an apt comparison. It was located to the side of a narrow road, right next to two large cornfields.
I parked in the lot adjoining to the road, which was about ¾ full. I got out of my car, straightened my tie, and slicked my hair back one more time before walking in.
The lady had told me to go to the manager’s office, which was apparently located to the left of the entrance as soon as I walked in.
I found it easily enough. The door was closed, so I knocked. And knocked. I must have stood out there for 5 minutes, but nobody answered.
At first, that is.
Assuming that the guy was simply late, I took a seat on the chair directly parallel to the door. However, I was surprised when I started hearing movement coming from inside. It sounded like the shuffling of feet, along with multiple hushed voices conversing.
Eventually, the door opened up and I was met by a tall, bulky man dressed less casually than me. He shook my hand and kindly introduced himself as Winston.
When I walked into his office, I’d realized that it was only the two of us in there. I could’ve sworn that I’d heard somebody else. But maybe not. I contemplated asking about it for the briefest moment, but I decided that there was no benefit in doing so.
We sat down and he began asking me some questions. Most of them were regarding my physical strength and endurance. I was in pretty good shape myself, and that was evident from my not-so subtle wardrobe choices, so those were no problem.
In fact… everything seemed fine about the whole process. No red flags just yet, aside from the bizarre delay in the time that it took him to open the door for me.
I was supposed to come in at 7 AM the very next day. Early start, but whatever. Beggars can’t be choosers.
It was a generic place, with assembly line production and heavy machinery sprawled across the wide, concrete floors.
I was given a rundown of exactly what I’d be doing and how to do it. The factory’s production was mostly focused on vehicle accessories, like trailer hitches.
However, my job was even easier than I initially thought it was going to be. Since I had a forklift license, all that I had to do was transport materials from one end of the factory to the other. It was hardly strenuous, and for the first few days, I’d estimated that I was only actually spending about two and a half hours driving back and forth. The other five and a half simply comprised of waiting around for somebody to finish sealing the shipping boxes. I actually managed to get a hefty amount of reading in, which was great.
But I doubt that you wanna hear about all this. To summarize, the job was a cakewalk for the first few weeks. The only peculiar thing that I’d really noticed was the fact that a lot of the other workers sparsely ever spoke to me or even to each other.
My interactions were mostly limited to the two other new guys that had been hired – Chad and Sergio. They were chill enough, and our conversations were about as normal as you could expect for 3 dudes in their early 20’s working at a factory.
It was during the 3rd week where the first interesting occurrences began to manifest. I was doing my usual rounds, when I noticed one of the assembly line workers sitting absolutely still. Now, I expected them to take breaks. They were human, after all. But this woman simply wasn’t moving.
I observed her apparent detachment as vehicle lighting fixtures slowly moved past her. The bizarre part was that her posture remained impeccable. I slowly drifted towards her, trying to get a glimpse of what she might’ve been looking at. As I made my way past her, it looked to me as if she was simply staring at a spot on the wall parallel to her. I took a quick glance over, but couldn’t seem to locate anything worth staring at I mean, it was just a wall.
After a few moments of contemplation, I came to the conclusion to leave it. I mean, we all zone out sometimes, don’t we?
If that doesn’t sound particularly strange to you, I can guarantee you that this encounter was only scratching the surface.
After that, a few days had gone by in which nothing noteworthy had occurred. But then I saw him for the first time. An individual which I can only describe as “the Suit.”
I was taking one of my breaks when he appeared at the top of the stairs connecting to the next floor. Now, I was instructed to never go up there. Winston had told me that there would be no situation where I would ever need to. So I had no idea what was actually above us.
He was a tall, somewhat wiry man, wearing a 3-piece dark blue suit. Or maybe it was just a light black. To be honest, I couldn’t tell for sure.
On the surface, this would’ve been a nothing situation. He was probably just a supervisor or something. But what kind of supervisor wears a facemask? I mean, the guy was wearing a plain black facemask with what looked like black goggles on top. Black gloves as well. From the bits of exposed skin that I saw, it was evident that he was pale. Extremely pale.
I looked up at him in moderate bewilderment, trying to gauge who he was supposed to be. I nearly had a heart attack when Winston grasped my shoulder, pulling my gaze away from the Suit.
“Hey, Jeff! You keeping busy?”
“Yeah… I’m just waiting for the next set of boxes to transport.”
“Great! You know, in the meantime, you could probably help them pack it all in. Keeps everything moving nice and steady.”
He gave me a smile before inching past me and walking off. I looked back up, only to see the Suit walking back through wherever he came from.
I also saw Winston making a beeline towards the stairs, climbing them with a haste I’d never seen him operate at before. In fact, his movements almost looked… angry. He went the same way that the suit did, and I never saw him again that day.
Obviously, some questions were raised here. Like who the hell that guy was and why Winston seemed to be so intent on having me not see him.
But I wasn’t gonna ask. For some reason… that didn’t seem like such a great idea. I decided to simply keep my head low and do my damn job. Whatever was really going on… I wasn’t about to get involved with it.
As the day was ending, and I was preparing to clock out, one of the janitors nudged me as I walked by him.
“Excuse me?” I muttered out in surprise.
Keeping his voice extremely low, he whispered to me. “Did he look at you?”
I was lost for a second. But only a second. It was pretty obvious who he was talking about.
“No… don’t think so.”
The janitor just nodded at this. “Okay. Just don’t look at him.”
I tried asking him some more about this, but he simply told me that he was busy and couldn’t talk.
Okay… what the hell was going on here?
Those were the first few weeks. I still don’t know what the woman was staring at or who the Suit is, but hopefully I’ll never find out. I’ve read stories like this. And they never end well.
Alright, you know how I said that I was going to lay low? Well… nothing ever goes perfectly, does it?
Since one of the other forklift drivers had called in sick to a night shift, I had to fill his place. The shift itself was from midnight to 8 AM. Extremely obscure hours, but it also paid 25% more. So I didn’t complain.
In addition to that, there were considerably less workers, which consequently meant less work to actually do. I was probably on the forklift for 10 minutes per hour. The day was so slow, that Winston decided to have me do inventory in a back room. Easy enough. I was just supposed to count bumpers.
But the room itself… that was something to be desired. The floors were cracked and dusty, while the only sources of illumination came from a few incandescent bulbs dangling precariously above me.
It is what it is. I thought. Before I started counting, I decided to take a look around the place. There was a singular locked door to one side, as well as a window on the other. The room that the window led to was presumably pitch black, because I couldn’t see anything through it.
I didn’t realize how bizarre this really was until about ten minutes in.
There was a window… but no door leading into the room. Not unless the door on the other side was connected. But then that would have to be one large room.
I went back over to the window and tried looking through it again, mostly out of sheer curiosity.
It was so dark that it honestly could’ve been completely covered, and I wouldn’t have noticed.
After about two minutes of intent staring, a knock from behind made me jump. At first, I thought it’d come from the entrance. But that was wide open. And nobody was there.
There was only one other door in the room. Three more heavy, rhythmic knocks rang through, confirming that it was indeed coming from the locked one.
At that moment, I didn’t know what to do. So I froze. Three more knocks. But there was another sound as well. Almost like tapping on glass. I turned around, catching what I could only assume was a hand pressed on the window for a split second.
I just made up the inventory numbers and left the room after that.
I’m not gonna quit just yet. The chances of a better opportunity popping up somewhere else is slim. I’ll just tough it out. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not in any immediate danger. Hell, it looks as if this factory has been open for years. It can’t be that bad if people keep working here, right?
But if anything else happens… I guess I’ll take note of it.