Monday, April 8, 2013

The Man who hated Children

Come meet Ungolf, a man in his early twenties. He hates children. You are not allowed to hate anybody these days: it hurts their feelings. But Ungolf has an adaption strategy for that: he just does not tell anybody except people he trusts. He works with children, you see. He hates in private, in secret, when nobody is watching. But why? Nobody hates children. I asked Ungolf: how did you come to become a child hater?

It started when Ungolf got his first job. It was at a fast food restaurant. There, they had a children's play center: slide tubes, slide sheet, ladders, and safety netting surrounded by cushion-y impact mats. A new guy, he started on the night shift. The night shift manager, the least competent of management (hence enfeoffment to the night shift) was an employment equity hire whose understanding of procedure and policy only extended to the first page of the Managers Manual, and to the first sentences of paragraphs through to page ten. Ungolf's only task was mopping down the children's play area, which he did at start of shift and end of shift. The rest of the time he was left alone in the video surveillance closet, reviewing video surveillance tapes; he would highlight questionable customer behavior for referral to the corporate customer care department.

It was cleaning the children's play area that started Ungolf down the path of hatred. Mopping up cheeseburger vomit that had welded itself to an inaccessible section of slide tube was not fun. The mop water, turned blue from the refreshing fruit scented cleanser, dribbled out of the bottom of the tube into a puddle of older, crusty puke. Inevitably, Ungolf climbed into the tube for better scrubbing leverage. The powerful fumes of refreshing fruit combined with stomach acid overwhelmed him: Ungolf slid down the tube, slid through the rivulet of mop water and puke, and landed with a splash in the puddle of vile at the outlet, below.

The night shift manager, the least competent of management wrote up Ungolf a reprimand: Staff are not allowed to play in the Children's Play Center. The night shift manager, for his part, got a reward star for writing up a staff member when he logged into his night shift manager menu the next shift. He resolved to keep up his good work and keep finding fault with Ungolf. As for Ungolf, he stuffed his puke and fruit scented uniform into the dirty uniform bin, and took someone else's fresh uniform. He was only allowed one fresh uniform a week, and could not bear to wear his barf crusty issue. The saving of the situation was that Ungolf's slide down the slide had scrubbed it clean of cheeseburger vomit; an unpleasant reality not lost to Ungolf.

There was no vomit in the children's play area the next night shift. Ungolf's only dilemma was dealing with the mandatory refresh training module he had to perform on the computer because of the Staff are not allowed to play in the Children's Play Center write up. It took ten minutes. It was narrated by the cartoon character that was the corporate mascot. Ungolf got a ten on the quiz at the end of the module. One of the memes in the training was you can always ask your supervisor questions. So, Ungolf went out and tried to explain to his supervisor, the employment equity hire sentenced to the night shift because of incompetence, as to why he was in the Children's Play Center, what he was doing, and why being written up for 'playing' was wrong. The supervisor said nothing much intelligible, and, at this first opportunity, wrote up Ungolf for Bad Attitude, for which he, the supervisor, got an achievement star.

Ungolf did not know about his write up for Bad Attitude until after he had to clean up the diarrhea event on his next shift. Not only was there a trail of shit in the slide tube, but there was a blasphemous diaper stuffed under one of the cushion-y mats. Ungolf told me that this was when he first realized that he was capable of hatred of a child. It was soon followed with hatred of parents when Ungolf watched the parent of the hated child on the surveillance system. Ungolf, when he told me, paused to look into his beer before he continued his story. Apparently, it was the mother of hated child was the one who had taken the shit dripping diaper and squished it under the mat. There was also video of the manager, Ungolf's night shift manager, masturbating in the women's washroom. Filled with vengeance, Ungolf flagged this as an episode of customer behaving badly.

The Bad Attidude write up was the last thing he had to deal with before going home. It put Ungolf in an extra foul mood. It took ten minutes to get through the interactive module, and he only got nine out of ten on the end of module quiz. He went home. His parents had let him move into the basement. It was a refuge.

That morning (which was his night being as how he was working for minimum wage working on the night shift), Ungolf had a catharsis. He told me he realized that talking to management was futile, so he resolved to never do that again, ever. He also realized that working for an idiot meant working for an idiot; and that only an ober-idiot would allow the hiring of idiots in management. Ergo, he realized that his employer was only good for what he could get out of them, no more. A social contract had been broken; like our assumption that children are innocent and automatically deserving of respect and care. No more, said Ungolf. Children are the creatures that barf, shit, and stash diapers. They are the spawn of parents; there are myriads of them. They are a zombie horde, and Ungolf was just a lone human.

His cynicism was rewarded the next shift. He was given a demerit star for playing in the Children's Play Center, again. He had to do exactly the same refresher course on the computer. The questions were exactly the same, in the same order. When you ask Ungolf about this, he laughs hysterically. After the redundant course, he found out that his report to the head office about his supervisor masturbating in the women's washroom had been rejected: they only wanted to know about misbehaving customers. Supervisor was not a customer. I think Ungolf's mind snapped at that point. That was the day he started smoking.

Ungolf was out back when the night shift supervisor came out to curse him for smoking. Ungolf punched him in the throat, which was unexpected. There was a sort of broken office chair out there by the trash bunker: Ungolf sat the supervisor on that as he was groggy, then wheeled him into the walk in freezer, to cool down. Ungolf came out for another smoke. Not much happens in a fast food joint around three in the morning. He looked at the full moon and started another smoke, then threw it away as he was starting to feel sick.

The supervisor said some awful things to Ungolf when he went in to check him. Now, Ungolf was not a simple, common criminal. He was not the type to make a souvenir video of his crimes, or brag about them to police informers, or prance around in gang gear. Then again, he was not a victim of the enduring legacy of colonialism in Africa, so he could not expect free legal advice, a university degree in prison, or a civil service job when he was paroled. So, he dumped a bucket of fruit fresh scented mop water on his supervisor in the freezer, and let him be until the end of the shift. Then he put a garbage bag over the corpsicle, and wheeled him out into the dumpster. It was corporate garbage day.

Nobody much noticed the supervisors disappearance. The garbage truck guy did not notice the corpsicle siting in a chair when he dumped the trash into the back. The landfill staff did not notice anything, even the extra flock of seagulls circling around the fresh fruit scented rotting meat pile. Does anyone notice anymore? Things like people driving without their lights on at night? Why do people step around lunks standing in the doors of subways, buses, stairways, and elevators? Ungolf wondered at this in the weeks (now months) after he took the supervisors advice to chill out seriously. And, in the weeks after, more feral children appeared in the Children's Play Center shitting, barfing, biting, and spitting. Nobody notices, parents do not care. Ungolf cleans up the shit, barf, pulled hair, and spilled teeth. All is modern, diverse, and progressive.

Ungolf, because he got no write ups for four weeks received an achievement star.

I, Fenris Badwulf, wrote this. I care.

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