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Chapter 2: Dick Nibbler’s Duties
The temperature outside that morning was twenty-one degrees but the frequent thirty-mile per hour gusts of wind would momentarily drop the temperature into the single digits. There was no snow on the ground and every yard was a dark greenish brown and littered with leaves of the same color. Despite the yearly blizzard, the color of Nebraskan winters is grey. The winter months in Nebraska are best described with an emotion, and that emotion is depression.
Dick and Bo Jackson arrived at Sun-Mart and entered through the automatic doors at the front of the store. It had been another long and uneventful journey to work, other than Bo trying to take an orange windmill lawn ornament from the yard of an elderly couple’s house. Bo would pull the ornament out of the ground and Dick would tell him to put it back. Bo insisted that someone had lost it and he simply wanted to find the person and return it to them. This was a moderately clever ploy to keep the windmill considering Bo Jackson’s low level of brainpower. After nearly five minutes of arguing Dick angrily grabbed the windmill from Bo’s hands, jammed it back into the ground at the front of the house, and told Bo to “get walking or else” in a stern manner. The elderly couple watched this event unfold as they sipped Yuban coffee from their matching mugs while staring out the front window. They were entertained by the argument between the two strange men that walked past their house every morning, and they didn’t really care if the mentally challenged man stole the windmill lawn ornament. The windmill had been a gift from Reader’s Digest that they had received in 1992, and it didn’t quite mesh with the color of the house anyway.
Dick and Bo walked through the checkout lanes, through the middle isle, and into the back warehouse of the store. Dwayne was holding his clipboard in his left hand and a sugar-free Monster energy drink in his right.
“Well if it ain’t motherfucking Dick and B.J. About fucking time you fucking idiots got here!” Dwayne said as soon as he saw them walk through the swinging doors of the warehouse. The time was 6:50AM and Dick and Bo Jackson were early. This didn’t matter to Dwayne though. It didn’t matter what time anyone showed up for work because in his eye they were always late. Dwayne was supposed to be at work by 6:30 but he had only arrived there five minutes earlier.
Dwayne Johnson was the morning manager at Sun-Mart. He worked between the hours of 6:30AM and noon. He was a twenty-two year old Industrial Tech major at the University of Nebraska in Kearney, with a minor in Physical Education. He was fairly clever despite his common overuse of swear words. His nickname was
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“The Rock” because of the former wrestler and current actor that shares his name, although physically he carried an uncanny resemblance to a young Jerry Seinfeld. He was born and raised in Kearney and had been working at Sun-Mart since the second semester of his sophomore year in high school. He had worked his way up from a bag boy to the morning warehouse assistant manager. He hated his job but he told himself that it would look good on his resume. Little did he know that his future employer at the corporate offices of Sport’s Authority in Denver would pay no attention to his former work experience when they decided to hire him two years from now.
“Clock the fuck in and get your goofy asses over to the cereal boxes. We’ve got a whole shit ton of Honey Bunches of Oats to unload before Rick gets here at nine.” Dwayne said with a fake worried look on his face as he raised his energy drink towards his lips to take a drink. Rick was the warehouse manager and he probably wouldn’t arrive until 10:30 at the earliest. Rick was a fifty-five year old overweight man that had transferred from managing the children’s clothing department at Alco in Ord to his current job at Sun-Mart in Kearney. He was a slightly arrogant man that liked to portray an air experience and worldly travel. However, Rick had only traveled outside the state of Nebraska six times and had only flown in an airplane twice during his fifty-five years of life.
Bo wondered off towards the area of the warehouse where the crates of cereal boxes were located. Dick walked over to the check-in area to punch both of them in on the clock. Above the punch-in clock was a calendar that listed who was working that day. Dick saw that both Tia Lebutte and Jacey Munch were scheduled to come in at eight. This made Dick pleased, as Tia and Jacey were his favorite cashiers. He punched in his own time card and Bo’s with a smile on his face.
Tia Lebutte and Jacey Munch had both graduated from high school together in the nearby town of Ravenna and had moved to Kearney to attend college. They were roommates. Tia had flunked out of college her freshman year although she told others that she had been forced to quit due to an error made by the college enrollment office, and she planned on going back as soon as the error was fixed. This excuse was a lie and it really didn’t make any sense, but customers would nod and pretend to side with Tia’s displeasure of the imagined error while she scanned their items at the checkout counter. Jacey had never enrolled at the college as she had originally planned because she had met a twenty-one year old unemployed man at a college party that she attended on the weekend after her and Tia’s arrival into Kearney, and now she was seven and a half months pregnant.
Tia Lebutte was five foot four, twenty years old, and had fiery red hair with pale skin. She had suffered through her fair share of harassment due to her red hair color, freckles, and pallor complexion. She was often called a ginger and was told
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“Gingers have no soul!” This claim about the lack of a redhead’s soul was based upon an episode of South Park, which was titled “Ginger Kids”. It aired almost exactly seven years ago to the day while her and Jacey were in the seventh grade, and it marked the beginning of Tia’s torment brought about by the lack of pigment in her hair and skin; her mother’s Irish lineage was to blame.
Tia fought her bullies by making herself appear intimidating. She only had nine tattoos but they created the illusion of her body being predominantly covered with ink. Her smallest tattoo was on her right wrist and it was of a small USDA stamp that read ‘Un Approved’ in the middle.
Tia’s largest tattoo could be found on the top right quarter of her back. It was a tattoo of Little Red Riding Hood holding a smoking .357 magnum in each hand and standing in a Yosemite Sam fashion. Above Little Red Riding Hood was the sentence, FEAR ONLY MAKES THE WOLF LOOK BIGGER. tattooed in red capitalized letters. Dick had seen this tattoo twice and he felt a strange need to see it again. The tattoo caused a small spark of inspiration in its readers and Dick was one of them. The first time that he had seen the tattoo was when Tia had come to work wearing a tank top with sweat pants. Dwayne immediately told her to put on a Sun-Mart polo over the tank top and Tia followed his orders. The second time that Dick saw the tattoo was when Tia showed up on a Saturday evening in July, wearing nothing but a bikini top and cargo shorts. She had spent the entire day sitting around a baby pool with her friends, drinking Bud Platinum beer and teasing young men with her sexual prowess. She was rather sunburned and she had come to work to pick up her paycheck. Dick was slightly taken aback by Tia’s surprisingly attractive figure in the bikini, but he was mostly excited about the opportunity to see his favorite tattoo again. The words of the tattoo lit a small fire inside of Dick. He appreciated the fact that there was a period at the end of the tattoo’s statement rather than an exclamation point or no punctuation at all. It made the sentence more factual and to the point. The fire that was lit inside of Dick by his viewing of this tattoo would give him visions of standing up to his tormentors and taking what he wanted in life. Those visions of grandeur would last all of ten minutes until Dick once again shifted his mind back into idle as he stocked shelves and bagged groceries. Inspiration can be fleeting when it has no immediate target.
The problem with Tia was that she had become a bit of a bully herself. Some people grow in the face of opposition and others overcompensate by pushing back with too much force. During the turmoil of her youth, Tia had discovered that the best way to fight bullies was to become one herself; a common side effect of people that claim to have been “pushed too far”. Tia would often make wisecracks to obtain laughs at the expense of others, including Dick. Dick still liked Tia because unlike the rest of the world, Tia still acknowledged Dick as a person.
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Jacey Munch was an entirely different story. Jacey was nineteen years old and Dick had a crush on her. Under no circumstances would Dick ever admit his crush on Jacey because he was more than twice her age and he knew how inappropriate this crush was. She was now over seven months pregnant and even though her stomach looked as if it were ready to burst, the rest of her body and face appeared gaunt and lacking nourishment. Since the age of six, Jacey had received peer-induced punishment due to her innately odd nature and thin body.
Jacey Munch was considered to be the quiet type ever since she was introduced to the world of academia at age five. She had not been formerly introduced to the life of childhood competition through means of daycare, preschool, or coping with sibling rivalry. Jacey was the only child of an over protective divorced single mother and had been robbed of important life experiences during her early existence. She was quiet around others because she felt that she had nothing important to share. She had relegated herself to sitting in the back of the classroom in both the literal and metaphorical sense. During high school she was picked on because of her quietness. Rumors spread around the school that she was a lesbian. In the ESPN fed minds of Republican offspring, homosexuality is a very rational explanation for someone being a bit more reserved than those around them. Her last name added fuel to the lesbian accusations and Jacey was often referred to as Carpet Munch or the more formal name of, The Carpet Muncher.
Jacey had always been skinny and this could be attributed to both her genetics and her lack of appetite since birth. Both of Jacey’s parents were thin and even as an infant she would refuse to breastfeed and her mother being the feminist that she was, refused to feed poisonous Enfamil to her only child. Her sparse feeding habits continued as she aged. Jacey remained thin and frail her whole life and only grew to a height of five feet tall.
Jacey often dressed in dark clothing and wore heavy eyeliner with lipstick. It gave the appearance of her being gothic or “emo” but this was purely by accident. Her mother had taught her daughter to dress in non-revealing clothing and nobody had ever properly trained Jacey how to apply makeup. Jacey didn’t even listen to gothic or “emo” music; her favorite band was a toss-up between Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga and her favorite movie was Finding Nemo. Despite her absurdly normal taste in entertainment she still strongly resembled Winona Rider in Beetlejuice or a younger version of Helena Bonham Carter’s character in Fight Club; both of which were movies that Jacey would not see for another six years and she would strongly relate to both of them. Jacey also began to dye her hair at the age of fourteen. She felt that changing her hair color was the easiest way to drastically change her physical appearance, so she altered her hair color about every four months on average. Right
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now her hair was purple and the black roots of her true hair color were beginning to show at the bottom. No matter what her current hair color was, Dick thought it was beautiful.
Dick had a crush on Jacey. He believed that there was some sort of unspoken bond between him and Jacey because they both shared the same shyness around people and in Dick’s mind’s eye Jacey had never been mean to him. Jacey commonly greeted Dick by calling him “Cookie” when bumping into him while she was around other people. Dick thought that this was a cute nickname that she had given him and he looked forward to hearing it from her. He didn’t know that she called him “Cookie” because it was short for Cookie Monster. She had told Tia once that Dick’s eyes resembled those of the Cookie Monster in the way that they seemed to move about as he walked. Tia laughed hardily when Jacey had revealed this bit of truth,
but Jacey was the one that had taken the moniker from the break room to reality by calling Dick “Cookie” to his face. This term was much more polite than the nickname of “Walleye” given to Dick by Dwayne. The nickname of “Walleye” was an obvious stab at the fact that Dick’s eyes were always staring at the walls.
However, Jacey was quite fond of Dick. She had no real sexual interest in Dick, but when the hypothetical question of how much money would it take to have sex with Dick was brought up by Timmari during a cigarette break by the dumpsters, Jacey had given the lowest price of $10,000. Timmari had stated that she wouldn’t touch Dick’s dick for anything under a million dollars, but Timmari was fired in September for stealing two cartons of menthol cigarettes for her boyfriend Darnell, so now her opinions were either moot or completely forgotten. Jacey looked at Dick as if he were a puppy dog, and not only a puppy dog, but also the runt of the litter.
Dick placed his and Bo’s punch cards back into their designated slots. He then casually strolled over to stacks of boxes filled with various cereals where Bo was opening boxes while Dwayne sipped on his energy drink and watched.
“Jesus fucking Christ, Dick. Are you gonna help your little brother do some work or are you gonna play pocket pool all fucking morning?” Dwayne said to Dick without taking his eyes off of Bo.
“Yes Dwayne. I mean, I’m sorry Dwayne. Yes, um… what do you want me to do?” Dick stammered.
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“Take the fucking boxes to the fucking cereal isle where this shit belongs. You’re the hired handler for your re-re brother so make sure he doesn’t move the Rice Crispies into the fucking dog food isle or any other kind of brilliant shit he might think of.” Dwayne said in his nonchalant but highly insulting way.
“Bo, go get a grocery cart to put these boxes in, and then we can take them to the cereal isle.” Dick said to Bo.
“Okay Dick. Wait here and I’ll be right back.” Bo smiled as he walked away to fetch a grocery cart from the rear of the warehouse.
“Dicks and B.J.’s. They go together like farts and car seats. But seriously Walleye, did your parents even understand English when they named you two?” Dwayne asked.
“No. Our parents died when we were young.” Dick replied without answering the actual question. It was a slight lie, but Dick had no concern for Dwayne’s feelings.
“Well shit Dick, I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to insult your family or anything like that.” Dwayne replied with fake sincerity.
“It’s okay Dwayne, you didn’t know.” Dick kindly said with a smile.
“Okay then. Now that we’ve sobbed over your fucking life story, why don’t you and Bo go grab a Kleenex and dry your vaginas so you can finally unload all of this Honey Bunches of Oats and shit in the fucking cereal isle before Rick gets here and chews my ass!” Dwayne said sternly as he towered over Dick.
Bo arrived with a grocery cart and Dick promptly filled it with boxes of cereal. He fit six large boxes into a cart and then grabbed two more carts and filled them as well. Dick pushed a cart while pulling another behind him over to the cereal isle. Bo followed him while pushing one cart in front of him.
They arrived in the cereal isle, opened the boxes, and went about placing the boxes of cereal into their proper areas. Dick knew that this task would take less than twenty minutes and if he and Bo finished their duties too quickly then Dwayne or Rick might send them home early, and that would mean less time on the clock and less money on their paychecks. Dick couldn’t afford to have less money on his or Bo’s paychecks, all pun intended.
The task of stocking the cereal shelves carried Dick and Bo into 8:10AM. It was then that both Tia and Jacey walked through the front door. They had rode to work together in Jacey’s bright red Dodge Neon.
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“How’re my two favorite nerds doing this morning?” Tia asked as she poked her head around the corner of the cereal isle.
“Oh, hi Tia. Hi Jacey. Good morning.” Dick replied as if he hadn’t been anxiously awaiting their arrival and didn’t see them come in.
Tia walked over to Dick and put her hand on his back while he opened another large box full of smaller boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats. Dick felt somewhat startled by this unexpected human contact.
“Dick, I need to ask you to do me and Jacey a huge favor. Like, a colossal life changing favor.” Tia said as she removed her hand from Dick’s back and he turned around to face her. Jacey was standing behind her remaining quiet. Just then Dwayne walked into the cereal isle.
“Sha…sure Tia. Whatever you need. What do you want me to do?” Dick said.
“We’ll tell you later. We’ve got to check in and do some shit first. We’ll find you during one of our breaks and ask you.” Tia said.
“F and S Dick. How long does it take two retards to stock a few cereal boxes? I’ll tell you the answer to that question as soon as you two maroons are done.” Dwayne said sarcastically to Dick as Tia and Jacey left the isle.
“Uh, don’t you mean morons Dwayne?” Dick asked as he increased his pace of stocking cereal boxes.
“Shut the fuck up Dick. I called you two maroons. I heard it on Looney Tunes.” Dwayne replied.
Dick and Bo went about their usual day of stocking random isles with random groceries and items that they would never buy themselves due to their low pay or lack of knowledge for cooking or personal hygiene. One of them would randomly be called to a checkout isle to place a customer’s purchased items into bags of either paper or plastic, and then carry them to the customer’s car for them. This was a task that could easily be carried out by any non-elderly customer, but people liked to take advantage of people like Dick and Bo, and they rarely tipped them for their efforts.
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These menial duties carried Dick and Bo into 11:30AM, when Tia and Jacey took their first break. Tia found Dick leaving the employee bathroom when her and Jacey stopped him.
“Dick! Holy shit, you have to do the biggest favor for me and Jacey today.” Tia said.
“Wha…what favor is that Tia?” Dick replied.
“Well, we’re having a little pre-Thanksgiving party for one of our foreign friends before they go back to Brazil, and we were wondering if you could buy us some booze.” Said Tia.
“Tia. I am way too old to be buying alcohol for minors.” Dick murmured back.
“Oh for fuck’s sake Dick. We would ask Dwayne to buy it for us but then we’d have to hang out with him and we’d much rather hang out with you.” Tia said, lying through her teeth. Jacey watched quietly over Tia’s shoulder.
“I don’t know Tia. I could get in big trouble…”
“Oh don’t be such a little bitch, Dick. We’ll give you money for the booze and a little extra. Jacey get’s off at two for a doctor’s appointment and I’ll take my lunch break at the same time. We’ll all walk over to the liquor store next door and get what we need. It’s not a big deal.” Tia said.
Dick glared over Tia’s shoulder at Jacey, giving her a look of disapproval.
“I’m not going to be drinking, Dick. We just need some alcohol to entertain our guests. I promise that I won’t touch a drop… I promise.” Jacey said to Dick in defense of the look that he was giving her.
For some reason Dick’s words had some clout with Jacey. She respected Dick not only because he was older and she had been raised to respect her elders, but she figured that somebody like Dick Nibbler had probably endured a hellish existence due to his name and unfortunate physical ugliness, and yet he was still sane and participating in life. She admired Dick’s undying spirit and thought that Dick would have some great insight on life. Five months ago, after Jacey and Tia had finished their cigarette break by the dumpsters and were entering through the ‘employees only’ door in the back, Dick had pulled Jacey aside to talk to her in private. He asked her to promise him that she would quit smoking for the sake of her unborn child and especially for herself. She was still unfamiliar with Dick at that time and she had never understood why this strange looking little man would say this to her, but she hadn’t smoked a cigarette since.
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“Well I don’t know about this. How much alcohol do you want me to buy?” Dick asked.
“We made a list so it’d be easier for you!” Jacey removed a piece of notebook paper from her pocket and handed it to Dick with a big grin on her face.
“Four thirty-packs and three bottles of whipped cream flavored vodka?!” Dick shouted as he looked at the list.
“Jesus shit, Dick. You don’t have to fucking yell it out to the whole store.” Tia placed her hand over Dick’s mouth.
“This is way too much Tia. Besides, anyone in their right mind knows that only minors drink whipped cream vodka and Natural Light. They’ll know right away that I’m buying alcohol for minors. No Tia, this is too much.” Dick was shaking his head while still staring at the list.
“Oh please Dick. Ple-e-e-a-a-a-s-s-s-e-e-e. We’ll never ask you for another favor again. Ever. We swear. We’ll suck your dick, Dick. Oh please oh please Dick.” Tia begged while holding her hands in a praying fashion and Jacey was giving Dick her sad puppy-dog face behind Tia.
“How much money do you have?” Dick said while ignoring Tia’s false promises of giving him fellatio in exchange for cheap booze.
“We’ve got one hundred and fifty-five dollars and you can keep whatever’s leftover. We’ve been saving up for this party for more than two weeks now Dick, and you’re our only hope. If you won’t buy us this alcohol then you will be ruining the weekend for hundreds of people.” Tia claimed.
“Hundreds of people, huh? Well I’ve never been to your guy’s apartment but I highly doubt you could even fit fifty people in it. I just don’t know Tia. I mean, I could really get into a lot of trouble over this. I could lose my job or even go to jail.” Dick was still staring at the list.
Jacey chimed in from over Tia’s shoulder, “Dick. I will do anything you want if you do this one favor for us. We really need this alcohol and I am putting all of my faith into you to get it for us. Please.”
Jacey’s words had much more impact on Dick than his words had on her. That was it. He was going to buy a ridiculous amount of teenaged type alcohol for two girls that were way out of Dick’s league and he would receive nothing more than a thank you and maybe some spare change after the purchase.
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“Alright then. I suppose I could buy it for you. But you can’t tell anyone that I ever bought alcohol for you and after this one time I will never by beer or hard liquor for you again.” Dick said this while looking directly into Jacey’s eyes.
“Fucking-A Dick! I knew you’d pull through for us! Okay, we’ve got to get back to the front before Rick or The Rock come looking for us, but we’ll meet you in front of the liquor barn around two. We’ll park Jacey’s car right in front of The Liquor Barn so you can just put all the booze in it when you leave the store. Oh my God Dick, you are a fucking rock star! I fucking love you so much!” Tia said as her and Jacey slowly walked away, still facing him as they disappeared around the corner of the canned foods isle.
Dick walked back to the laundry detergent isle where he and Bo were straightening bottles of detergent so the labels were facing the front before Dick had to leave for a bathroom break. Bo watched Dick sulkily enter the isle with his head down.
“What’s wrong Dick? Was the toilet broken?” Bo asked kindly.
“It’s nothing Bo, just get back to work. We’re going to take a break together in a couple of hours and I don’t want you to tell anyone about it. Okay Bo?” Dick was making eye contact with Bo while placing both hands on Bo’s shoulders.
Bo nodded his head in agreement without asking any questions and they both continued the meaningless task of arranging the detergent bottles so that the customers would be able to identify the labels without exerting the monstrous effort of having to slightly turn the bottles.
Dick felt bad about caving in to Tia and Jacey’s begging. It made him feel weak. The liquor store next door was a large barn that had been converted into a store decades ago. It was called The Liquor Barn. Dick knew that Spencer would be working at The Liquor Barn today and that he would question Dick as to why he was purchasing so much alcohol, or any alcohol at all. Dick was not opposed to drinking, but he detested going into liquor stores. When someone saw a man like Dick in a liquor store they automatically assumed that he would be drinking his purchase alone and that he most likely had a drinking problem. Dick could feel the stares every time he entered The Liquor Barn. On a bit of a cosmic level, it was funny that Dick hated the liquor store so much because The Liquor Barn would end up being a very important location in his life. It was the location in which Dick would die.