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Story Hour with Paprika

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[TW for virulent racism, workplace intimidation, racist and ablist slurs, general awfulness]

Once upon a time, there was an unhappy woman named Paprika. Her perpetual displeasure was directly related to the overall shittasticness of the world. She tried to be happy, to eat good candy and drink lots of soda, but nothing seemed to help. And then one day, Paprika logged on to Facebook, and shit went very much awry.

One of Paprika’s friends—let’s call him Matt—IMed her asking if she was ready to be infuriated. She said yes, and he sent her the link to a screen cap he had taken. It showed a Facebook status something along the lines of “those of you who don’t care that Bin Laden is dead are stupid and need to shut up,” which, you know, whatever. But then, there in the comments, was a really trashy woman named Jessica, who was all “Bin Laden didn’t kill the Americans! Some other sand n*ggers did!”—except without the asterisk. Matt had responded with “Wow. Racists shouldn’t have access to Facebook,” prompting Jessica to observe that Matt was just totally not patriotic, and, come on—“even our troops use that word!” (Side note: I’m pretty sure that quite a few of them don’t, and as for the ones who do, well, they should be kicked out of the military. Personally, I have a problem with armed racists traipsing into countries full of people they hate. Call me crazy, but there you are.)

So yes, Paprika was, indeed, infuriated. But as it happened, Paprika was Facebook friends with the guy who wrote the status—Jared—and she also happened to work with Jessica. Jessica, it must be said, defines trashy. Jessica is one of those people who buys herself breast implants, a Harley, and thousands of dollars worth of tattoos, then bitches about the cost of daycare. (Actually, I’ve never known anyone to do that, except Jessica. Thanks, Jessica, for being the beyond-rare exception that Rush Limbaugh contends is the norm.)

So Paprika was all “wow, I kinda feel like responding,” and Matt was all “yeah, I’d feel better if I had backup,” so Paprika swooped in and left a bitchy comment that ended with the line, “Congratulations, you’re a terrible person.”

Well, it could only get worse from there. Somehow, the status devolved into people arguing that it’s “okay to be racist, as long as you don’t act on it” (because apparently, writing racist Facebook comments doesn’t count as “acting on it”), and Jessica being all “yo, we’re gonna throw down at work and stuff.” It was a classy chain of comments.

And then, today, Paprika finally got to work with Jessica.

She walked in, dropped her purse in the office, and put on her apron. Jessica got in her face and explained that they were out of ice, so everything for the salad bar was still in the cooler, and all the ice they had was in the sink, so be careful with the ice, we’re out, no ice, no ice at all. “You think you can handle that? Hmm? Is that too difficult for you?”

“That’s fine.”

Jessica proceeded to follow Paprika into the kitchen and regale her with more questions: “So uh, is there a reason you like to call people racist on Facebook? Can’t you say it to my face? Yeah, you should be fucking scared of me.”

Paprika sighed. God damn it, she thought, Is this the dialogue I’ll have to recreate when I write this sordid tale? This just sounds stupid. This is freshman creative writing 101 dialogue. At least be inventive, you racist dumbass.

But Paprika didn’t want to get into an argument while on the job, because, professionalism. So she walked away, sat in an empty booth, and opened a book. Jessica, however, continued to pace back and forth, tossing out insults. It was a kind of stupid incantation, really:

“You think you’re so smart, but you’re just fucking retarded.”

“How long are you going to be working here, huh? You probably shouldn’t plan to stay.”

“Why can’t you say anything to my face? You’re so pathetic.”

“You do realize that you have fucked with the wrong person, right?”

“Did you just not realize I got married? Did you think you were insulting someone anonymous? Did you think it was okay to call me a racist piece of shit as long as you didn’t know me? Is that it?”

Paprika smiled and continued to read her book. Jessica proceeded to mimic, word-for-word, everything Paprika had written in her “stop being such a terrible racist” Facebook comments. It’s almost like those comments had hit a little too close to home. I mean, I’m just saying. Just asking questions.

But then Jessica won the argument. She did! She looked at Paprika, and she said, “”Do you really think it’s worse to say sand n*gger than to take the Lord’s name in vain? Or is that”—she pointed at Paprika’s book—“the only book you know how to read?”

And Paprika laughed. She couldn’t help it—that was funny. Horrifying, and utterly reprehensible, but funny.

That said, she should probably get a new job. Jessica is the boss’s daughter, after all.

The End.

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About Paprika

Paprika Davis is a perpetually annoyed twenty-something college student waitress who would rather be a squirrel. The lack of commas in the previous sentence bothers her, but her laziness overrides her desire to improve the writing.

6 responses »

  1. Workplace drama was something I always found entertaining, but only as a spectator sport. I was just writing the other day about the spectacularly fussy, cross-eyed indignation that certain people (like Jessica, apparently) have down to an art. It’s nuts.

    And I’m less than surprised she’d be in a fit about blasphemy. That sensitivity is a requisite for certain brands of “shittasticness”. I wonder what book you had question mark…

    Bon, I happened across the blog a couple weeks ago, and I dig.

    Hurry up with your application process, boss’s daughter’s heathen cyber-antagonist. Waitress positions fill up fast in the summer, no?

    Reply
  2. Hey, did you know that Jessica also gets food stamps!

    Reply
  3. Tibor: Thanks for reading. I’m through with waitressing, I think–I’d rather do manual labor, or clean motel rooms, or pick up roadkill, or punch myself in the face, than run food to tourists. Oh, and the book I was reading was Susan Bordo’s Unbearable Weight, which is a really pretentious thing to bring to work, but I actually did need to read it…

    Julie: Argh, really? Man, I am a huge proponent of social programs–I think they’re necessary for society to function–but that shit pisses me off. If she can buy fake boobs, she doesn’t need food stamps. We pour so little money into social programs as it is, and now she’s taking away from people who actually need the help? And giving conservative news pundits fodder for rants about welfare queens? That’s infuriating. People who are on public assistance get enough shit as it is, and I’m pretty sure they don’t need people like that making it worse. /frothing at mouth

    Reply
    • I’m all for social programs too, but I agree, anyone who can afford multiple tattoos, fake boobs, a harley etc should not be allowed to access those programs. Ah well.

      Reply
  4. What a lovely story. You’re a better person than I am, because I would have thrown something at Jessica.

    (I love this blog, thank you!)

    Reply
    • Thanks! And thank you for reading. 🙂

      As for Jessica–oh yeah, it took everything in my power not to chuck a container of ranch at her face. And now she’s harassing me through other people’s Facebook statuses, because, classy. I hope she realizes that threatening people over the internet is a felony…

      Reply

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