Jack ran his fingers through his red-blond hair and studied the huge square of blacktop before him. Shopping carts were scattered across the blistering hot asphalt, some tangled in and around metal cart corals and others taking up otherwise empty parking spaces. He grimaced as he pulled a water bottle from the front pocket of his shorts and took a swig.
“They don’t pay me enough for this,” Jack growled as he started on the nearest coral.
The sun was bearing down on the parking lot and the gleaming metal of the surrounding cars amplified the sweltering heat. By the time he had the carts stacked Jack felt as though his shoulders and back were on fire, the pain of the heat combining with the ache of his straining muscles as he began to shove his stack towards the automatic doors. Sweat plastered Jack’s shirt to his back, and his face reddened from more than just his hard labor when a convertible full of teenage girls nearly ran him over. He could have sworn that they were laughing at him, laughing at how he has to slave away for minimum wage, how his pale skin had began to break out into a very blotchy and unattractive sun burn.
The automatic doors opened almost too slow. Jack cursed when the carts bashed into the door’s frame and gave the last cart in line a good shove so that the stack lined up properly with the other five million and two tangle pieces of metal on crappy casters that he would be chasing after later on.
“Hey dude, how you liking your new job?”
Jack turned and spotted a friend of his taking a cart from the row beside him. He stared at him for a moment, jealousy bubbling in his gut when he saw his friend’s life guard whistle dangling from his neck just above the YMCA logo on his shirt.