No one wanted to work drive thru in the rain. The awning over the drive thru was not wide enough to prevent rain from coming in through the window. Jessica, the Crew Chief, one step above store associate in the management level, was stuck with drive thru, because on clear days, she insisted on that position.
Becky, or Rebecca to her coworkers, was closing grill for the first time and the only training she’d had in that position was how to put meat on the grill and bring down the press. The dishwasher, Brandon, who was trained in every area, and could easily be a Shift Supervisor, which is one step above Crew Chief, preferred his role as dishwasher. He didn’t have to deal with customers or rarely other coworkers. Except Becky, she would often seek him out and tell him funny or crazy things to make him laugh. Becky was sort of being trained by him, it was more or less she ask him what she was supposed to do next and he’d tell her. She’d then go back to the grill, wing it, and hope she did it correctly.
The others at the restaurant were Zach, the sandwich maker, and Brenton, the Shift Supervisor. The lights flickered, went out, a few cheers from the crew, it was a Saturday, they normally closed at 1 AM, with the lights going out at 11 PM, meant the place was closing early. The revelry was to be short lived as the lights came on again. The crew who were cheering were now groaning.
“Hey, it stopped raining,” Becky commented. More often than not she had a positive outlook on things. Her cheerfulness annoyed her coworkers to the point of giving her the nickname, ‘Judy.’ “You don’t have to get wet while you smoke.” She meant the male members of the crew that night, all of them smoked.
Becky put in her ear buds, turned on her audiobook, put the fryer gloves on and poured water onto the grill to scrub it. It was a hot, vigorous task. Quickly her wrist and shoulder hurt from putting pressure on the green scrubby to get the grease off the grill top. She leaned up, took off the fryer gloves, wiped the sweat from her brow and decided to take a small break from scrubbing the grill. She looked around, only seeing Jessica who stood in drive thru, holding her phone in one hand with a puzzled look on her face. She assumed the boys were outside smoking.
Normally they smoked on the east side of the building, where the building made a dogleg. Since it was after 10 PM and the dining room was closed, the lobby doors would be locked. It was simple to unlatch it so as to get back in. Becky had learned not to use the push bar to open the door. She touched the glass, which seemed oddly warm, and pushed the door, only the door didn’t open, it was locked. It was possible that the boys were smoking on the west side of the building. The dumpster was on that side and they were supposed to actually smoke there, out of sight of all the customers, but they usually only smoked there when they had to take trash to the dumpster.
She pushed on the glass again, and again the door was locked. Now Becky was puzzled, perhaps the boys really hadn’t gone out to smoke. She went back to the kitchen, checked the dishroom, the freezer and cooler, the manager’s office and crew room.
“Do you have service?” It was Jessica, she had approached, phone in hand. Becky took out her earbuds. “Do you have service?” Jessica repeated and held up her phone. Becky reached into her pocket and withdrew her own phone. The audiobook she’d been listening to was downloaded to her phone, it was seem that Jessica had been listening to Pandora radio. Becky frowned at her phone.
“No, I don’t. Do you have T-Mobile?” Becky asked. Jessica shook her head.
“AT&T,” she replied.
“Well they all share towers now, so maybe that power outage blew a cell tower in this area,” Becky suggested. Jessica shrugged while Becky resumed her search for the boys. They had to be outside smoking. She walked back to the east door and opened it enough to see around the dogleg, the corner smoke spot was empty. Well they have to be somewhere, Becky thought to herself.
She walked back to the kitchen, passing the cookie display and saw that the girl who closed the dining room had forgotten to put the cookies in a bin and take the trays back to be washed. Becky decided to be nice and do this, even though she was doing grill tonight. It was as she was stacking the cookie trays to be taken back to the sink, she wondered how long had the boys been gone. Becky had a very active imagination. She looked over at Jessica who was cleaning she station, no sign of worry. Since Jessica and Becky did not smoke, it was often they were left by themselves in the restaurant while the smokers did their thing.
“Jessica?” Becky called, she hadn’t put her earbuds back in since Jessica had asked if she had any service.
“How long have the boys been out smoking?” Becky asked. They had to be out smoking, the weren’t inside. She had checked everywhere, and it wasn’t like them to hide. Jessica shrugged and Becky decided to check the dumpster. She had an uneasy feeling. She had had one all night, and even confirmed it with Brandon earlier by saying, “You ever get the feeling tonight is gonna suck?”
“I’m feeling it right now,” he had replied and they had shared a smile. She had come to him later and asked how he keeps from murdering people and he explained it was really, really hard.
It was on her way to the dumpster that she glanced up and noticed no stars, or moon for that matter. She didn’t think much of it, assuming that the clouds were obscuring them, it had just been raining. Becky smacked headfirst into something and fell backwards, mostly in surprise. She had lived most of her life with bad eyesight and she bumped into things all the time. She said, ‘Excuse me,’ to poles and counters and people a lot. The problem was she didn’t understand what she had bumped into.
Becky picked herself up from the ground, checked her glasses to make sure they weren’t broken, checked to make sure no cars were coming, and started towards the dumpster a second time, this time, a hand outstretched.
“Dafuq?” It was Becky’s favorite expletive, picked up from a much younger supervisor of hers from a former job. There was something invisible in front of her. She could feel it in the air, it was smooth like glass, and flat like a window pane. She wanted to smile imaging the scene from Star Trek IV where the girl finds the cloaked Bird of Prey in the park.
Becky wasn’t sure if she had finally lost her marbles completely or something invisible was between her and the dumpster. She glanced through the invisible thing to the dumpster, she didn’t see any cigarette smoke drifting up from it. She had to get the boys, at least someone else to prove to her that this thing existed. She tried to find the edge, to get around it to the dumpster. Her hand trailing down the side, it was like a giant pane of glass. Immediately Becky thought of a TV show called Under the Dome and wondered if someone had put a dome over the restaurant and wondered who would want to. Only the invisible glass pane seemed to form a right angle to the next pane. She followed it around. It let to a right angle again and again. Becky traced her steps. It would more like a glass box than a dome. It was larger than the restaurant, but not as large as the entire parking lot. The box was between her and her vehicle but Jessica’s and Zach’s cars were in the box, because they had parked close to the east door.
She was half excited, half horrified, that either the restaurant was really enclosed in a glass box, or that she had gone crazy. Becky had to tell someone and she had not seen the boys yet, and she felt mildly relieved that Jessica was still inside, still finishing up her station.
“Have you seen Zach?” Jessica asked. Becky wasn’t sure how to broach the subject of we’re enclosed in a glass box without sounding as crazy as she thought she was.
“I haven’t seen him,” Becky said instead.
“I need him to make me a sandwich,” Jessica stated. Working drive thru, Jessica had on a headset, and Brenton, had one as well. She pressed the button that allowed for speaking across the headsets. “Tell Zach I need him to make a sandwich.” There was apparently silence as Jessica pressed the button again and with snark said, “Hello?” She pulled the headset from her head and ejected the battery. Only slightly angry popped the old battery into the charger and jammed in a fresh one. “Tell Zach I need him to make a sandwich.” She repeated into the headset again. “Hello? You better not be ignoring me!” Jessica looked at Becky with dismay and said, “Go outside and tell Zach I need him to make a sandwich.”
“I just came from outside, they aren’t out there,” Becky said quickly. Jessica opened the drive thru window, leaned out and yelled for Zach. There was no answer.
“What the Hell are they doing out there?” Jessica asked.
“They aren’t out there,” Becky repeated. “Go look for yourself.” She shrugged and could see that Jessica was getting angry. Jessica stomped, as best she could, she wore a boot on her broken foot, so she limped-stomped to the east door, shoved it open like it had assaulted her, and turned to see into the dogleg, it was empty. Becky had followed her.
“What kind of game are they playing?” Jessica asked Becky and she shrugged again.
“Brandon wouldn’t play any games,” Becky stated and Jessica gave a deep sigh. “Maybe they’re behind the dumpster?” Jessica turned to walk back in through the east door and realized it was closed, neither of them had remembered to unlatch it. She got even more angry and limp stomped around the building to the west door, Becky followed. The west door was locked.
“I hope you have your keys!” Jessica shouted to the dumpster. Now she limp stomped towards the dumpster, shouting obscenities at the dumpster, until she walked face first into the invisible barrier between them and the dumpster. Becky went to help her up. “What the Hell was that?” Jessica asked and put her hand out, connecting with the invisible wall.
“I don’t know, I didn’t know how to tell you about it. It’s like an invisible wall has been placed around the restaurant. I think if I told you, you wouldn’t have believed me.”
“What the fuck is this shit?” Jessica asked moving along the invisible wall.
“I don’t know.” Suddenly the sun began to rise. Becky checked her phone, or at least the night was becoming brighter. Her phone still said it wasn’t midnight, yet. The sky was ripped off the world and Becky had to shield her eyes from the glare. As they adjusted she could see what looked like a white square and suddenly what could only be described as a face looked down at her. Jessica was screaming and running, limp forgotten for the drive thru window. A hand reached over the edge of the sky and dropped something into the invisible box they were trapped in. Becky had an inkling what had happened to them. She had the imagination for it. She nudged what looked like a hardened pellet of some kind with her foot. Were they pets for some giant alien species?