Couples: 1 of 3. // Norma...

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Couples: 1 of 3. // Norma...


Jeff Sharlet







POINT (-8050328.721036370 5408873.901368220)

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Couples: 1 of 3. // Normally Joe works days. “In at 6, home by 2, sleep by 4, up at 8, back in with Kelly.” I’d met Kelly working the night shift two months before, took her picture, posted it here. I show him. “Yep!” says Joe. “My old lady.” Joe comes in with Kelly. “Sleep in the car if I can. Which usually I can’t, because I have to help Kelly if she’s sick.” She has a condition. I’d never heard of it. You don’t want to. “Been that way since she was 13. She was in a really bad field hockey accident. She can’t have kids because of it. They’re trying to give her hormones. So, hopefully, in a couple of years.” Wait, I say—wasn’t Kelly about to quit? Joe stares. “Yeah. No. Didn’t happen.” What does happen, he says, is this: They go looking for better jobs, but the store gets shorthanded. “So?” I ask. “So, we’re good people. We’re good employees.” Besides, Kelly grew up here. Her mother was night baker before her. //Joe likes his job. “I always joke they didn’t name coffee after me for nothing.” He makes it just right, asks you exactly how much cream, how much sugar. Extra if you want it. Boss doesn’t like that. “I don’t care if you write that down.” Or this: He thinks the boss robbed his own store. He thinks the boss is coked to the gills. He thinks the boss is a criminal. “If you look at our delivery van, heat don’t work, lights don’t work, doors don’t work. And he gets an inspection sticker every year. Money talks.”// Joe makes $18k a year. More than he made as a mason. Less than he made in sewage management. Down in New Mexico. Best job he ever had. “I was going to be certified.” But his boss lost the paper. And then he had to come home. To help his mom. “Then she kicked me out three weeks later!” New boyfriend. “A fucking pedophile,” Joe says. Victim was 7. “I promised her I would take care of it.” But the boyfriend was a cop. And he took Joe’s guns. “Sold them, actually.” // Fortunately, says Joe, the pedophile got cancer. “I don’t want to say anyone deserves to die, but he deserved to die.” Joe’s sorry it wasn’t him who did it. “One bullet,” he says, shaking his head. “That’s all I needed.” #nightshift #coffee #bosses #regrets




Jeff Sharlet, “Couples: 1 of 3. // Norma...,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed July 18, 2018,