12:45 am (actually writing this on 4th of November)

Evening shift again, which was nice, it’s very nearly almost like having a day off when you go from a morning shift to an evening shift, or at least, it would be if I you hadn’t been exhausted by the previous turnaround shift. I slept until 11:00am, got 11 whole hours of sleep! Amazing. Let me describe my dream:

I was walking down the road in the desert, maybe inspired by childhood trips to Arizona, there were these big bats the size of large dogs around me, but they weren’t flying, they were crawling. They lived in hives like bees, but obviously the hives themselves were huge, and goopy, like every bat inside the hive is constantly submerged in a thick mucus, I’m unsure how they’d breathe. The bats were crawling around on the ground, confused, looking for something. Suddenly, Oliver tunneled out of the ground and was on top of a mountain, all the bats were gone, he was dripping flesh and growing horns, bones and eyes pouring out of his mouth as he twisted and contorted into the shape of a tree. This may have actually been Oliver traversing the dreamscape, but, based on what I’ve seen of him before in dreams I don’t think it was, I think it was probably just a dream about the conflict between Marvin (the bats) and Oliver (Oliver) getting “bent out of shape.” He wasn’t at work today, must have gone out to town for some reason. I’ll have to ask him tomorrow.

When I got to the store, it was just cactus holding down the fort. I collected the assorted wads of dollar bills and change left on the counter by customers and filed them into the “mystery sales” folder, I’m pretty sure they were mostly from coffee, had to put up new pots of both regular and decaf (I’m supposed to do this anyway). We could really use a new employee, I don’t doubt cactus’ devotion in picking up so many shifts, but it’s clear that their heart is just not in the work, and probably never was since they’re just a cactus. I mopped up the floor again (something to do) restacked the milk crates out back knocked over by the wind, and washed the windows. The dark cloud emanating from the Territory are still present, maybe a little bigger. More trees. I didn’t see any change happen during the daylight hours, so, maybe that’ll be the end of it.

Got a few human customers, not really that out of the ordinary, but, in my mind it seems a little bit like I haven’t seen as many of them lately. It does kind of bother me sometimes, when I think about it, how mixed up the word “human” is with stuff like “humanity,” which is like, ah, you know, if you call someone “inhuman” that means they’re cruel or bad or twisted or something, but, most of the non-human customers are just as human as the human ones. There are occasionally creatures like the rock monsters or whatever, I’ve had to put down some human-human raiders from the Territory before, too. Of course, we have to call the cops for those, but even through official channels they’re unidentifiable. No records match. We used to call the cops for non-humans, too, but, there’s such a lack of legal structure connected to Territory denizens they asked us to stop. We still keep records the best we can. Nobody’s ever asked for the information.

Halloween is a great time for clothes shopping for many of the Territory’s inhabitants, with many elastic and flexible capes and cowls in accessible stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar, Walgreen’s, and Big Billy’s Frightening Halloween Hooch Hovel.

Marvin came in early, around 10, but I wanted to hang out and talk with him a bit before leaving. He was looking forward to his nights off tomorrow. Neither one of us could figure out why Oliver would be mad at Marvin and not at cactus. Is it because we use cactus to pick up too many shifts already? We both agreed that the store is in desperate need of help, but no manager has even come by the store for months, we’re actually unsure who our district manager is, and when calling company HQ to explain, we’re just given a number that nobody picks up at.

My drive home from work: the flare is still going full tilt, with a crazy huge flame, I can’t imagine how much stuff they’re burning off. It’s visible even from the station at night. I saw someone walking down the road towards the station, not long enough to tell what they looked like, I know it wasn’t Ollie. Big coat, medium height. It could be that they were being called towards the Territory, or maybe they were out of gas and stranded on one of the countless county backroads. I certainly didn’t see any other cars out there. If they were someone who really needed help, I feel sorry for them, but I really just didn’t want to take the risk. I don’t think that’s wrong of me.

Flare, Night 2