Gabriel Vanderbilt

United States

I Worked the Night Shift at a Basketball Arena

November 19, 2019

    It was almost summer and I was still down to my last dollar. I had been working the cash register at a minimum wage fast-food chain. I sat there, in the bedroom of my budget apartment, scouring the newspaper for a job advertisement. One specific ad grabbed me by the eyes. “Night Shift at [redacted] Arena - $2200 a week.” That was more money than I ́d make in a month! I called the number listed below, and a middle-aged man picked up. He asked me for my name and told me the address, and to get there by 10 pm the next day. He told me my schedule and responsibilities, so I wrote them down along with other important information. I thought it was weird that he didn’t ask for any details, which should have raised a red flag, but I didn’t pay attention to that because I was about to make big money.
    I arrived at the arena at 9:47 pm the next day. When I walked in, a disheveled young man, who I assumed to be the previous night guard, dropped the keys in my hand and walked out without saying a word. I will never forget the tired, worrisome expression on his face. The man I talked to on the phone the previous day said to go down the west hall and the room at the very end is the night shift office. I looked around for the west hall for a few minutes, but then I saw a sign that showed the directions of each hall. I followed the direction of the west hall, and sure enough, there was a door at the end of it with bold letters above that read, “Night Shift Office.” I walked in and saw a desk at the end of the small yet mostly empty room. There were 12 screens above, in 3 rows of 4. Something caught my eye. It was a loose-leaf paper on the desk. Written on it was a list. A list of rules. They were scrawled down in black ink as if who wrote it was in a hurry. These were no ordinary rules. It read:

    Welcome to [redacted] arena, Davis! Our company policy is simple. Follow these rules and you will be ~~~~~

I couldn’t make out that last word. But below it was the list:
  1. You may walk around the arena to get an idea of what the place is like, but be in the office at 11:42 pm and stay there until 12:03 am.
  2. You will not be using the screens.
  3. The buzzer goes off every hour, on the hour.
  4. If at any point during the night you hear a basketball being bounced anywhere in the building, do not go investigate. Hide in your office until it stops.
  5. Do not enter the stadium after 4:41.
  6. Lebron James is not in the building. That is not him.
  7. There is a radio in your office. From 3:34 to 4:12, stay out of the office and let the radio play on static.
  8. If you hear a band in the stadium at 10:04 playing any song, do not look. If you don’t hear anything, hide.
  9. There is no boiler room. If a strange man with mismatched shoes asks you where it is, look him straight in the eyes and say nothing. Hopefully, he will say farewell and leave.
  10. If one of the screens turns on and you see the man mentioned in the previous rule, turn off the screen immediately. He can see you.
  11. As you know, one of your jobs is to polish the floor of the arena. Only use the buffer between 2:19 and 3:58.
  12. If the jumbotron turns on, do not look at it.
  13. If you see a strange figure in section F, row 22, avoid eye contact with him and he will not hurt you.
  14. On your desk, there is a box of pizza labeled “Do not eat.” Hopefully, you know how to read. At 3:16 am EXACTLY, go to the stadium and place it on the seat in section 112, row h, seat 16. After you do so, run out before 3:18.
  15. Do not enter the locker room. If the door to it is open, leave the building and get far away. Your shift has ended.

    I honestly didn’t know what to say. I looked over it again many times. I have read about these in fictional web stories, so was this a joke? I sat there for a solid five minutes trying to figure out why this was written. Was it written by that man I saw when I walked in? How did this person know my name? I was determined to make a call to the arena’s number, but I was caught off guard when I heard a band playing.


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  • November 19, 2019 - 5:40pm (Now Viewing)

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