I started a job at a canned vegetable company last month. It has been an easy, boring job. At least up until yesterday, that is.
On day one I was shown around the factory. My supervisor gave me a walk-through of the entire factory. I saw each department and was given a brief description of what they do there.
At the end of the day, I was told to come back the next day at 8 am. I was going to start in the boxing department. The last step in the factory.
All I had to do was pull each case of canned goods off of the conveyor belt, ensure it was sealed and place it on a pallet. It sounded easy enough.
“What about that room over there? I asked, pointing to a room with fogged windows. I could see conveyor belts going into it and coming out of it. But, unlike the rest of the facility, it was closed off. All of the windows were fogged so you couldn’t see inside.
My boss sighed and gave me a look that told me he was tired of people asking about that room. ” that room is off-limits. Only restricted personnel are allowed in there.”
The next morning I started my shift. About an hour into my shift I was bored out of my mind. A box came down the conveyor belt and I sealed it and stacked it on a pallet… Another box… sealed it… pallet. I needed a break. I waved at my supervisor and told him I needed a bathroom break. He checked his watch and shook his head.
“Already?” He asked in a frustrated tone.
“I’m sorry. Nature calls.” I replied.
He stepped over to my conveyor belt. “I’ll cover you until you get back. Just try to be quick.” He snapped.
I walked to the bathroom and turned to make sure I was out of his line of sight. I was. I didn’t have to use the bathroom and stood in front of the bathroom for a second. That’s when I heard the noises. I heard horrible retching noises like someone was throwing up.
But the noises weren’t coming from the restroom. They were coming from the room with the fogged windows. I began to creep closer. The noises were becoming louder.
When I reached the door I cupped my hands over the class to try and look inside. Someone had to have seen me and the door opened. I almost fell over backward but I was able to recover.
A middle-aged man wearing the same uniform I had been given stood there staring at me. “You must be Brett, the new guy. You were supposed to be here an hour ago.” He said.
The wrenching sound was even louder now with the door open. I could hear other people talking inside the room. I wasn’t Brett but I needed to see what was going on inside. I knew that when my supervisor noticed I didn’t come back I would be fired. Or worse, if Brett showed up and they figured out I was lying I would be in serious trouble. It was worth it. I hated this job anyways.
The man brought me into the room. He pointed to a conveyor belt that led into a machine. “The cans will come in this side, the machine will seal them and they will come out the other side sealed and with a label. Your job is to make sure they are sealed. If you see any leaking pull them and place them in this barrel. Okay?”
I nodded. It was simple. I wanted to look around to see what was causing the noise but the cans began flowing in. Cans of peas were moving into the machine and coming out sealed. I watched them for several minutes and didn’t see any that had failed to seal. But I did notice that all of them were dented. I decided to turn and ask the man what to do with the dented cans. It would be the perfect excuse to look around the room.
As I turned the corner around a large piece of equipment I saw it. A huge, green insect was standing there. It was easily six feet tall and resembled a praying mantis. The creature was chained to the floor and vomited violently into a fifty-five-gallon barrel. Two men were scooping the vomit and pouring small amounts into each can of peas as they passed by.
I screamed in disgust. The man who had led me into the room turned to me. He ran over and began to yell at me. You need to get back to your station. If one of those can get through unsealed it can ruin everything. Within hours of being exposed to air, these eggs can hatch.” He screamed at me,
“Eggs? What the fuck is that thing?” I demanded.
“Fuck. Tom didn’t brief you before he sent you down here?” He asked.
I said nothing I just stared in horror at the giant insect.
“Yeah, eggs. That thing is an alien. We have an arrangement with their species. It stays here, lays eggs and we spread them through the food chain. We estimate about one in a hundred eggs that are consumed by a human will hatch, consuming the human from within.” He explained.
“Why would you do this?” I asked. I wanted to puke. The huge insect was staring at me while it continued to vomit.
“Brett, you were supposed to have been up to speed already. We don’t have a choice. They supply us with tech and we have to offer hosts to incubate their offspring. The cans are dented so we can track how many we put into circulation. And at least the only people that will be lost are poor people and cheap people looking for a bargain.” He told me.
That was it. I couldn’t hold back anymore. I ran to the trash can and vomited.
The man patted me on the shoulder. “Brett, I need you to get back to your station. Besides, it’s not half as bad as what they’re doing with the corn.”