Tuesday, September 15, 2015

William Myrl; Letters to No One (24)

Dear No One,

I have completed my first full week as an assistant clerk at the tailor shop. There are three of us; the inventory guy, the "manager's clerk" who does the actual clerking, and myself. I am learning to fill out the daily metrics, do the payroll bookkeeping and the purchase orders, as well as keeping track of the myriad checklists and forms that are filed away never to be known again. There isn't really enough work for three people most days. So I organized a mess of files that hadn't been looked through in five to ten years and helped update the Safety Data Sheets for the various semi-hazardous chemicals that sit around the shop. I'm supposed to learn both their jobs so I can take over if either of them leaves or is fired. I was only brought on because the manager's clerk has so little time that he could be shipped off to a lower level at a moment’s notice.

It's a strange job. We have computer to use, with Microsoft applications and naught else. The CD drive was glued closed after a CD burning fiasco a few clerks back. It's not connected to the internet, of course, and any printing we do comes out of the office copier and is saved for possible review. The chief worry of the supervisor and the manager is that equipment be stolen or misused, because they do place a certain level of trust in us that isn't common in most person/prisoner contexts. I don't intend to rob them of their office supplies. It wouldn't be terribly difficult, but surely in bad taste. This is the best paying position available on the compound, starting at .55 cents an hour. It is amazing to me what people will endanger for a roll of tape. I suppose we do not become criminals because of our facility for long range planning and consequentialism. Too bad.

There are a few faces that don't approve of mine. Other inmates who wanted the job or at least wanted the job to go to someone who wasn't me. It comes to nothing in the end. We eat lunch in the shop. There is a stair into a loft cage with chairs and tables. A cozy, cramped cafeteria. People have claim on their spots, some of them have been sitting in them for years. Silly, but understandable. One of the many small ways we attain some fragment of control and normalcy; being around the same people in the same ways. No one likes change. Those who have spoken to me have all been friendly, however, and I don't anticipate any issue from that quarter. Months will pass, and I will become an accepted part of the system rather than someone who appeared one day out of nowhere and won the most coveted of positions.

I will write again soon. I had news that I wasn't likely to have my player again for some while yet. Fiddlesticks.


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