Bad Day's Good Joke

Originally published on Classic BC July 30, 2004

Just a short, slice of life kinda thing I slapped together on my PDA. Some of it is based on real life and some wishful thinking mixed with a liberal dose of artistic license.

Bad Day's Good Joke

Or Good Day's Bad Joke


Obviously, the characters and situations presented are fictionalized and any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental unless they're public figures and then shame on them. Please feel free to post or archive with notification. Otherwise, this work should be considered copyright 2004 NiGHTs and no part should be published electronically or in printed form except for review/critical analysis, or offered for sale without consent of the author.

By 4:30 am I was starting off for my first day at work as a woman. Years of work, HRT, a little padding, and a new name tag and I was ready to go. I work in a grocery store as a Dairy Clerk and frankly the basic uniform was no different for males or females. A white button up shirt, black slacks and shoes. The only "real" differences now was that I could wear some (conservative) make-up, keep my earrings in, and had to tie my hair up instead of hiding it under a company baseball cap. I'd been swapping out clothes over the course of the last few months, and until I and my manager came out about my coming out, no one had "noticed".

Ok, they noticed by going that extra mile not to notice, y'know? How could they not notice the drawstring on my black knit carpenter pants? Before you point topside, you need to remember that I was not that big without stuffing and between wearing big shirts and tying my apron loose, the twins were not a problem hiding. Collars on the other hand. Still, it was a courtesy I appreciated, especially since some of my co-workers can get pretty crude when they put their minds to it. I think the worst I had to put up with was dealing with all the questions after I came out. "So, you love the cock?" Being among the more memorable. Well that and somebody thought buying a little girl's toy make-up kit and sticking it in my bag was funny.

I can, and did fear a lot worse.

Even as "easy" as things had been going though, I was more than a bit nervous driving into work that day. The crew was one thing, but the store was in a pretty blue-collar neighborhood. I was hoping that the shipment today would be pretty large so I could spend as little time on the floor as possible. Not only would it keep me from having to deal too much with the public immediately, but the guys could probably use the reassurance that just because I was now Jenn, that didn't mean they couldn't expect me to keep pulling my weight handling freight. Thinking about the worst that could happen on the floor today caused a sudden bout of nerves and I pulled out my "panic pack", ran upstairs and checked to make sure I looked as presentable as I could before leaving.

What's a panic pack? Just some pills. About five Welbutrin, and an equal number of Valium for emergencies in a little zip-loc baggie. My doctor prescribed them a few years back and while I hate them both, and take neither regularly, I have a scar that proves I occasionally do need them. On the plus side, I now have friends who are not afraid to point out when I'm on the downswing if I haven't noticed. My best friend Jillian made me keep some on me at all times and gave them the name, panic pack. I've happily been able to keep from using the panic pack, but have found that just having it there to finger when I feel out of sorts is a big help.

The bathroom mirror presented what it had earlier. A not completely unhandsome woman. The kind of woman who would never win a beauty contests or even get appreciative glances, but would always be welcome as other women would not see her as competition and guys wouldn't feel the need to do more than be polite. That's not self-pity or anything. I know what I look like, and accepting it made my last fears about transitioning largely evaporate. That I needed to be comfortable in my own skin, rather than have my skin be somehow "acceptable" let me come out without worrying if I was doing it for the right reasons anymore.

That being said, I hate to admit it, but I do have some vanity and when I saw a single hair that had erupted seemingly at that moment, from the bridge of my nose, I grabbed the tweezers and yanked away. Satisfied, I picked up my purse from the counter on the bathroom sink, killed the lights and started off to work humming "All Good People".

Things started going wrong early.

First, a schmoe at the convenience store dropped a full container of hazelnut creamer on my new black Sketchers. Then the cop who pulled me over to cite me for a dead headlight called in my license, which did have my new name and a representative (if not good) photo. No problem, right? I just change the lamp after work and show someone at the nearest police station. Minor hoo-ha at best.

Unfortunately the Maryland Dept of Motor Vehicles takes longer than six months to update records apparently, so I was forced to dig through my purse for my old doctor's note before the officer could be convinced I wasn't an identity thief or some such. Worse, I doubt I made things easier for the Officer, because just being stopped caused me a minor anxiety attack. I figured I must have done something to get ticketed, and although my driving record is almost spotless (I think I've averaged a ticket about once every ten years.), anything that has the potential to raise my insurance makes me shake like a leaf.

I barely made it to work on time, which I hate doing. I always time leaving the house to give me a half-hour to sip some coffee, read, or write a little before starting the morning grind. And just to add insult to injury, digging for my note made me realize I'd left my panic pack on the bathroom counter. On the one hand, that was probably a good thing for once. I doubt a nervous, jittery tranny clutching a bag of pills would have gone over well with the County Mounties. On the other hand, I was charging in under pressure and wired without my security blanket.

Rushing in at 6am on the nose, I found the Night Crew Chief had neglected to "unbutton" the loading docks and rear door so I spent several minutes chasing him down while Marvin rang the bell to be let in so he could start unloading the day's milk order. By the time I got our receiving area unlocked and the security seals removed, he gave up and walked all the way 'round to the front door and came in that way. Embarrassing, but not too unusual. Even so, I hated that he'd been inconvenienced.

Marvin, is a wonder to me. The man is about 5'10" and between 250 and 300 lbs. He's got this big cheesy mustache the He looks like he'd be more at home in riding leathers on a Hog than in a reffer truck. He's just as friendly as he is imposing though and I hate it when he has to walk around the whole building. His face is so red normally that I wonder if he's not on the verge of some medical problem.

Of course Dan, who was supposed to be here at the same time as I was running late. So while Marvin was unloading about 400 cases of milk, I was rushing about the milk box rearranging and stacking cases to make room for the incoming load. What happened next was totally a rookie error.

I was trying to pull a stack of ten cases of whole milk from the back of the box. It was a tight fit, but I'd already pulled four stacks out from the same row, so I knew it was possible. I never really felt whatever snag I hit, but did feel the stack tilt and tried to compensate, but even as I eased the tower back into level, I heard a threatening *crack* and pressed myself flat in hopes of avoiding getting my skull split open.

I felt at least one case tumble down my back, followed by the clatter of plastic on cement, and the dreaded *sploosh* that was followed by an intense wetness across my butt and down the backs of my thighs. I groaned and slowly turned.

Three cases and their contents were scattered about, meaning no less than nine gallons were spreading across the floor and seeping under the surviving stacks. My help still hadn't shown, I had fresh milk pilling up on the 70 degree (F) dock, and my ears could hear the distinct sound of a second truck backing up to the number two dock. That could only be the rest of today's order from the warehouse. Four or five pallets of deli meats, cheese, butter and the like if I knew what the Monday load was usually like.

"Well," I sighed and scrambled for a floor squeegee, mop and bucket. "I did hope it'd be a large shipment today." The attempt at humor wasn't raising my spirits any more than feeling the back of my pants plastering themselves to my butt while I squeegied spilt milk into the drain at the milk box doorway.

It was almost seven when Don finally showed and I guess he got an eyeful. A ton of milk piled on the dock, a driver from the warehouse waiting to unload (Marvin was still trying to load his truck with our empty milk cases from the weekend.) and the milk box was torn completely apart as I was desperately finishing with the mop. The good part of this catastrophe being that, because my pants were black, it wasn't obvious that my ass and the backs of my legs were soaked.

"Looks you've had an interesting morning, Je-Jenn." He said a little sheepishly.

I like Dan. He's a big goof with short blond hair, an almost childishly open face and a carefree attitude to life that I envy a lot. If I were ten years younger and he was not already living with someone, I might have thought about making a play for him. All that and the fact that he remembered to give my proper name saved him from me snapping more than "You don't want to know." I was still mortified at the mess in here and involved with berating myself for clumsiness and not being fast enough to have everything the way I thought it should be.

Together we got the milk box put back together and started breaking down the pallets into stuff that was needed immediately on the floor and stuff that could be stored here in the back. Marvin let me know on his way out that he'd credited us for the milk. He winked and told me that he'd seen that defective milk case cut loose. It was a lie of course and awfully sweet. I think the burly truck driver was more thana little embarrassed when I hugged him in thanks and started crying.

I was really uncomfortable in wet pants and my new shoes smelled of hazelnuts. I was terribly embarrassed by making such a mess of my "first day" in just an hour or so. I'd worked out that I'd cost the company that was supporting me a good $30 in product and I was so busy hating myself that one little gesture was enough to break the dam and everything came pouring out.

"Jennifer," Marvin asked while trying to ease me off him. "What'cha bawlin' 'bout girl?"

I sniffled and bit and saw Dan concentrating on pushing a cart full of product out onto the floor through blurry eyes. I could hear the warehouse driver buttoning up his truck. Marvin was holding me at arm's length and looking both a bit concerned and a little embarrassed. I thought about it a bit and began to giggle through my tears. As Marvin's ruddy face began showing even more concerned, my giggle became a full throated laugh.

The Deli Manager had come into the back room now. I suspect Dan had told her that I was having a breakdown or something. My laughter was finally dying down as she handed me a paper towel asked much the same question as Marvin.

I dabbed at my eyes and giggled again as I tried to tell her, "Oh nothing much Chris." I gasped. "Just crying over spilt milk, I suppose."

You know, despite the damp pants and smelly shoes, it became a pretty good day about then.

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