Tracy wakes to routine, the same routine each day. She makes a cup of coffee, only one, while letting her little puppy, Peanut, out onto the strip of lawn that is outside the back door. It is barely bigger than a dog run, and its only purpose is to serve as Peanut's litter box. The dog is out and in by the time her coffee has stopped dripping.
She sits at her small table sipping slowly, not wanting to burn her tongue on the drink. She stares at a corner of the ceiling, noticing a cobweb floating, catching the light. To get up and wipe it away doesn’t occur to her.
She drinks. Time slips away, as it often does, and before she knows it she's running late.
Tracy hurries to her back bedroom which is a tunnel of various aquariums, terrariums, and cages. She keeps a small menagerie of pets. There's a bearded dragon named Jarrod, a pair of sugar gliders, Mike and Ike, a huge hairy spider named Aragog... she stole the name from Harry Potter, as well as several mice, a snake, and a few turtles and fish that she's lost count of.
Tracy's mother, Louise, once told her that she was an animal hoarder and that she was going to report Tracy and make her appear on a reality show. Tracy's solution was to move all the animals into the back bedroom and close the door.
Due to her mother's penchant for breaking and entering, the door now had several padlocks. The appearance of these padlocks had caused Louise to disappear and not answer her phone for several months as punishment. But Tracy didn't remove the locks, and wouldn't discuss her animals any further.
She rushed through the feeding and watering of the animals, realizing that she didn't have enough time to wash her hair. She dove into the shower and did little more than rinse off. It was only after dressing that she remembered to brush her teeth, and she rushed out the door with a small dot of toothpaste still on the lapel of the least wrinkled jacket she owned.
The drive from Tracy's small cottage to the bank isn't far, and soon she's parking in the lumpy gravel lot behind the ancient building. As she steps out of the car she feels the frigid moisture seep in the side of her shoe, of course she found the only puddle in the lot. Tracy shrugs, grabs her purse by its broken strap, and slams the car door as she shuffles through the HEET turnstile, which only exists to ensure that she can't enter or exit the building quickly.
As she slides into the break room on grimy floors that grip the dirt no matter how often they are mopped, she manages to grab her time card and slam it in the clock at only 5 minutes late. This will be another warning. She may lose this job as well, simply for being mere minutes late a handful of times. Of course the card isn't in the right way and the time is off. She adjusts it and manages to get the time stamped in the correct line. It doesn't matter; payroll will figure it out somehow.
"Hi, good morning," she says to Angie. Tracy sometimes thinks that Angie is a blank, no personality or substance behind her slack face. Even when she feels empty, she thinks Angie must be a black hole, the opposite of empty as well as full.
The drawn girl sits at a chipped Formica table slowly and methodically chewing the second Twinkie in a pack. Apparently it's what's for breakfast. Angie is so still the only things moving are her hand and mouth as they meet with the Twinkie. The treat looks like a giant anti-depressant, one that hasn't started working yet.
Angie doesn't make eye contact and barely nods.
So much for conversation.
Tracy sees the paper towels sitting half in their own damp spot on the counter, the roll is bulging in one spot from the moisture. She decides to forego trying to dry her shoe and foot.
She's expected to be behind her cubby with money counted in ten minutes.
With more energy than usual, maybe Angie’s Anti-Twinki-Depressant has an airborne effect, Tracy begins frantically throwing her lunch into the refrigerator and her coat over a rack, and at the same time she's searching with her other hand in her purse for the combination lock for the small box which will store her purse.
The strap breaks, and Tracy almost breaks as well. She ties the cheap vinyl strap back onto itself in a sloppy knot while bending down to scrape up the random objects that have flown about in her struggle.
Kimberly, a woman she's worked with for the last six months, takes pity on her, bending to help Tracy gather her things.
"Shhh..." she says, patting Tracy in a momma bear, soothing fashion, "It'll be alright sweetie! My purse broke just last week. We'll get these things... here's your lipstick... Oops! You've found some water to stand in! I'll get a rag and sop that up before we have a slip-and-fall!"
"The water isn't from the floor. It's from my shoe. My sole is broken." Tracy's holding back a sob now.
Kimberly continues to sooth, helping Tracy to a chair, giving her a paper napkin, and wiping the floor where Tracy has left a trail of a puddle.
There's no way she'll be behind the teller's desk on time now.
Several minutes later Kimberly is helping Tracy count her money, and guiding her to the teller's counter. Kim's non-stop chatter becomes annoying after a while. The woman is always talking but rarely has something to say. Her stories repeat on a loop, like she never actually pays attention to what she's saying. She just enjoys the sound of her own voice.
Tracy has no idea how or why Kimberly is well-liked by their co-workers and customers, she finds the ongoing drivel grating.
Emerging from the corridor linking the dingy back of the bank to she shining customer area Paul, their branch manager, is standing, rocking on his feet with his hands digging deeply into his pockets. He always looks like he knows something you don't know, he also always looks oily, like he's just a few hours past needing a shower.
"Nice of you to join us today, Ms. Nobd," he says. If he would just come out and reprimand Tracy it would be so much better.
"I'm sorry Mr. Tangent. I ran late this morning and my purse broke."
"We'll have a meeting this afternoon to address the issue, no need to waste a good excuse now." Tracy has no idea to what he is alluding. He's often vaguely threatening, without ever identifying a specific issue. She's had a lot of supervisors and managers over the years, and there's a category for wishy-washy assholes who love their own importance more than actually doing a responsible job.
Tracy steps up the short stairs to take her place behind the teller's cubbies, as Mr. Tangent interrupts her.
"I don't think so. Today I need you on the vault desk."
She sighs. If she had known she was working the desk she would have been there on time, closer to on time. It seems to her that her tardiness can also be blamed on Tangent not communicating his expectations or schedule. But she knows no one else will ever see it that way. "You should have been on time anyway." is all anyone will say about that.
"I'll be right there Mr. Tangent," she says, turning to take the cash drawer back to the counting room.
"Just leave it, Melissa can use it to work a station. Put it in the drawer and give me the key, she'll be here in a few minutes."
Of course it's fine that Melissa Trison is late. She's Paul's pet, perhaps more, and gets away with anything and everything. Being on time is neither expected nor required for her. Kimberly let it slip one day that she saw them kissing after they had gone for lunch. It was one piece of gossip that she managed to extract from her loop of conversation... it was never mentioned again.
Kimberly was better than Tracy at playing the game, gossip, give a little, keep a secret. Butter them up and smile through the bullshit. It was a perception and art that Tracy had never perfected.
Even though she knows it's against procedure and policy, Tracy slides the counted cash drawer into her regular spot, locks it, and grabs the one personal item she's allowed to have, a picture of her dog, dressed as a bumble bee for Halloween one year. They hadn't gone trick-or-treating, or to a party. But it was fun to dress up and have their own party. She had worn a bee keepers hat over a white sweat suit, and taken selfies in the dresser mirror.
The solo picture of Peanut was better though, and that is why she chose it for the inexpensive frame she had found for it.
She hands the key to Mr. Tangent, and moves over to the vault desk to begin the morning procedure for that station. It requires both of them and a series of checks and balances to officially open the vault.
The large Diebold vault, with its steel door and brass fittings was chosen as an impressive statement to customers. It virtually screamed, "WE ARE SECURE AND WE WILL PROTECT YOU!"  to customers entrusting their money to the faceless bank.
Even though the large round door was always opened during the day, there are still bars and additional security measures in place. No one could just walk in and pocket stacks of cash because Tracy went to the bathroom.
She busies herself with various papers, logging into the computer terminal to check the bank's intranet and her email. Tracy knows the angle, and turns the monitor so Mr. Tangent won’t see later when she is playing Candy Crush and checking TMZ for stories.

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