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18+ Language Violence

​Next Day Delivery - 1676 words

by 4revgreen

Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.

(A/N: I wrote this for a graded assignment in uni. It was inspired by stories of amazon drivers facing bad conditions when working, intertwined with a murder mystery type plot. I also had to write a commentary which i wont post but if anyone would like to see my own analysis of the story, feel welcome to ask)

It wasn’t unusual to find me sitting alone during my lunch break. We only got thirty minutes a day, but it was split into two fifteen-minute breaks, with a five-minute walk from the warehouse to the breakroom. If I could run, I would, but I did my left knee in three years ago playing football with Keiran and Matt. At my age, injuries tend to just stick around rather than heal. So I didn’t have much time to sit and actually eat my lunch, which I made each night before work, meaning that I didn’t particularly want to waste time talking with anyone. It was to my surprise, and annoyance, that when I sat down to eat my lunch today a small, smiling face popped up next to me.

“Hey Tim.” she said, taking the seat opposite me. She slid a Tupperware box filled with salad across the table and opened it. “How have you been?”

“Hey, Jaz,” I replied. “I’m okay.”

Jaz was a delivery driver, and we used to take the same bus to work so struck up a convenience-based ‘friendship’. She picked up her fork and stabbed it through a piece of lettuce, which she then held up and pointed at me, daringly. “They do this on purpose, you know.”

“Do what?”

“Give us short breaks. A long walk to the breakroom, trying to ensure your actual break is as short as possible. It isolates you.”

I picked up half of my cheese and ham sandwich and took a bite, chewing and swallowing it hurriedly. “Oh really. I do just want to eat me l-”

“Think about it, Tim. You don’t speak to anyone humanly all day, including your break; makes it easier to be a machine and get on with your work quickly and efficiently. If none of us are friendly outside of the job because we never speak to each other, we won’t get distracted, easy robots. Workers in New York petitioned to get it changed to one thirty-minute break so they could at least talk to each other for more than two seconds a day, but it was rejected.”

She was right, and I knew it, but it didn’t really change the situation. I still only got what, five minutes to eat my lunch? Unless these petitions were ever successful, and there wasn’t a very high chance of that, then nothing would ever change and just moaning about it would be a waste of time. I would have said this all in response to Jaz if it didn’t mean wasting my lunch break.

“Okay,” I nodded politely. “But I need to eat my lunch.”

Jaz sighed and stood up. “The union. You should think about joining.”

I was left with a mouthful of a suddenly very dry sandwich which I had to gulp down awkwardly as I had forgotten to include a drink with my lunch. Jaz had taken up all my lonesome thinking time, so I walked back to the warehouse with a very uncontent feeling in my head.

“Timothy! Fuckin’ finally!”

As I walked through the doors of the warehouse, my duty manager grabbed my arm and pulled me aside. His name was Derrick, and his breath reeked of death as he pulled me close to him. A big, Liverpudlian pig, with a little scrunched-up nose that always found itself in other people’s business.

“I’m sorry if I was late, Derrick,” I apologised, almost genuinely since I do find general tardiness rude. “I got caught up by a coworker, won’t happen again.”

There were flecks of food in his dark yellow teeth, and he spat when he talked. He tightened his grip on my arm and snarled at me like a disobedient dog.

“No,” he grunted. “It won’t happen again, you tight-lip bastard.”

He let go and laughed, turning away from me. I didn’t get time to react; I had 30 packages per minute to scan.


That night I got home at about six-fifteen after finishing my shift at five-thirty. My once-much-more beautiful wife looked tired and aged from being overworked as a mother and full-time caregiver to my terminally ill mother. She was in the kitchen when I arrived, still cooking the dinner. She barely acknowledged me, replying with a sigh when I said hello.

“Dinner’s in ten minutes,” she yawned, stirring a pan of pasta. “I think your mother was having trouble with the oxygen tank again.”

Baby Rosie was babbling away in her highchair, her small, chubby hands waving around a husk. I kissed her soft forehead before dropping my work bag on the floor and excusing myself to the spare room, where my mother was staying. The distinct old and ill smell was strong, and the hiss of the oxygen tank was louder than anticipated.

“Hey, mum, trouble with the tank?” I asked as I made my way over to her chair.

She began coughing, and it took her a while to clear her throat again. “Yeah, it keeps switching off. Damn bugger.”

I wheeled the oxygen concentrator forward and realised the plug had been knocked slightly out, probably by the boys sneakily trying to charge their games consoles without us knowing for use when they were meant to be in bed. I kicked the plug back into the socket.

“All fixed, mum. How are those new heart tablets working?”

It never took long for me to fall asleep at night, which I think sometimes annoyed my wife. She’d place her hand on my back or my tight and gently massage her fingertips in, suggestively, but I was always too tired and just rolled over and started snoring. Work had put a rift between us, but I put that out of my mind as I clocked in at work at 8 am sharp.


As I walked from the locker room to the warehouse, I saw Derrick hurriedly discussing something with another manager. Luckily, my shoelaces needed retying so I could very conveniently listen in to the conversation by stopping to tie it just before I approached them

“Jazmine Jones, a driver,” Derrick was saying. “Didn’t turn up for her bloody afternoon shift yesterday. Went on lunch break and disappeared. Phoned her this morning, no answer. Bloody ridiculous.”

“She’ll probably be fired.” the other manager replied. “Lad last week got fired for being twenty minutes late after getting in a car accident.”

God, I worked for an awful company. I’d been tieing my shoelaces for too long now, so avoiding looking suspicious I straightened back upright and began to walk again.

“We’re a driver down,” Derrick said as I passed them. “I’ve spent all morning trying to get a replacement fuckin’ driver but no one is free.”

This was my moment to get back into his good books. “Excuse me,” I interjected, awkwardly smiling and waving at the managers. “But I trained as a driver when I first started. I’m sure I can manage the deliveries.”

Derrick glared at me. “Mess it up and you’re fired.”


Though I had originally trained as a driver, I’d never been out on my own before. The times that they scheduled for each delivery were much too short, and so it ate up all of my lunch break. And then the unthinkable, yet unavoidable happened. I knew it had been a bad idea to drink so much water whilst driving, but it was a hot day and the window on the truck was jammed so I was sweating like hell. It meant I was left with an empty container, and since I had no time to stop off anywhere, I had to unzip my pants and whip it out whilst driving.

Though it was necessary, I felt so dirty and disgusted. There was nothing to wipe my hands on other than my uniform and I just kept staring at the now yellow bottle that sat in the passenger seat. The distinct smell of male urine practically suffocated me, since I couldn’t open the bloody window. My last delivery, scheduled for 10 pm exactly, was to a large estate and farm at the end of a very dark and twisty road, and I wasn’t totally sure I’d have the energy nor will to make it there in a van that stank like piss on a very empty stomach.


There was an unsettling aura creeping up on me from the estate as soon as I entered the driveaway. There were no lights on, except for what I assumed was a small bonfire to the right of a large barn, with four silhouettes gathered around it. I’d heard stories of drivers being ambushed by gangs before but I only had one delivery left, which might make them angry. The door of the van creaked loudly as I opened it to retrieve the last package, and I panicked that whoever was by the fire would hear me. I wanted to just drop the package on the doorstep and get the fuck out of there.

As I placed the package down, I heard a shriek come from the direction of the fire. A definite scream of panic or terror, echoing across the courtyard. I looked up at the fire to see three of the silhouettes chasing the fourth towards me. It was almost a beautiful scene, like something from a movie, except it was real life and I was terrified. In the shallow light of the moon, I watched in horror as the man they were chasing collapsed to the ground and they surrounded him, kicking and hitting and screaming.

One looked up, and the moon lit up a familiar face.


I froze, staring her dead in the eyes. The man on the floor had stopped moving, and when the shadows moved I could make out Derrick’s face, covered in blood.

Jaz stared at me, then back at a sycamore tree behind her.

“I think we better take an oath.” She said, “To agree to never reveal what we saw here.”

I nodded, terrified. I wanted to keep my job.

Is this a review?



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639 Reviews

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Reviews: 639

Wed Feb 08, 2023 12:19 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...


RandomTalks here with a short review!

This was such an intense and thought-provoking story! I loved how the heaviness of the topic was evident from the very first line and how it reflected throughout the story. Your linear narration was somber and it evoked a sense of defeated dejection, which was more or less the central mood of the story.

The issue you have addressed is particularly significant in the context of our modern world. I especially loved the interactions in the beginning which made it seem as though there were intricately drawn conspiracies to convert the workers into nothing but machines who work productively but robotically with only one goal in mind - to maximize the outcome.

The indifference with which the narrator submitted to the situation in his life is genuinely sad - on one hand, he is too exhausted and too accustomed to the system to complain against it, and on the other hand he is too terrified and scared of the ones who have it in them to stand up against it, albeit through some not-so-legal measures. It makes the narrator seem like a rat who has been conditioned to run through the same maze only to hit the same dead-ends again and again.

There is not much life reflected in the story. With the exception of the children who are yet to fall victims to the system, almost all the adults are caught up in their own vicious and exhausting cycles. Everyone has accepted their roles too easily - whether it is the narrator's lonely and overworked wife or his duty manager, the stereotypical bully at work. The only form of resistance came at the end when Jaz and her group attacked Derrick. But even then, their actions felt like the desperate attempts of a trapped rat who has been running the same maze for too long and is willing to strike blindly into the dark now in the hope that it would lead to freedom. Jaz and the members of the Union are guided by their anger and it makes me wonder whether their efforts would lead to salvation or bring them their own destruction.

Overall, the story is simply too sad and the ending is perfectly ambiguous.

Now on to some specifics:

“Oh really. I do just want to eat me l-”

I think there was a small typo here. I am sure you did not want to suggest that the narrator wanted to eat himself here - I think it was meant to be 'eat my lunch'.

The distinct old and ill smell was strong, and the hiss of the oxygen tank was louder than anticipated.

Now, this is just a personal opinion but the phrase 'the distinct old and ill smell' does not read very smoothly here. Perhaps you can rearrange the words to imply the same meaning. For example, 'the distinct smell of old age and illness was strong'.

I wheeled the oxygen concentrator forward and realised the plug had been knocked slightly out, probably by the boys sneakily trying to charge their games consoles without us knowing for use when they were meant to be in bed.

This sentence is too long and the meaning gets lost somewhere in the later half around 'for use when they were meant to be in bed.' I think if you simplify the sentence or break it down, it will read much more neatly!

That's all!

Overall, this was an amazing and heavy story! It was a harrowing read, especially with all the cruel possibilities you have explored that can easily turn into a reality in our modern world. You have addressed something very important here and you have handled it beautifully with realistic characters that the readers can connect with. It made me think and feel and sympathize with the characters and their situations. It was a poignant and compelling story and I wanted to thank you sharing it with us.

Keep writing and have a great day!

4revgreen says...

Thank you so much for the review! And thank you for spotting the typos and places i need to improve, they really help my editing processes!

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Points: 17243
Reviews: 328

Wed Feb 08, 2023 4:30 am
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Lucrezia wrote a review...

Hello darling~

Boy, this was a heavy, stomach-churning piece (in a good way). I think you did a great job at getting across the harmful effects of unfair, inhumane labor practices and the ways these large companies dehumanize their employees. This felt like it belonged in the dystopian genre, which makes it all the more upsetting that it's not a future-set fantasy but a slice of real, everyday life. Honestly, it's infuriating. This story made me angry, which is exactly the response I should've had. So, I commend you for that. You have crafted an effective story that makes the reader think and feel.

I have just a few small critiques. For starters, be careful about overusing the word "very." On a similar note, don't use too many adverbs ending in "-ly," and in particular, don't use too many of them within the same sentence or paragraph. It'll sound clunky and awkward.

Also, watch out for repetition: avoid reusing the same word in a short span, e.g. twice in one sentence. Here's an example:

Work had put a rift between us, but I put that out of my mind as I clocked in at work at 8 am sharp.

I really like this line. My only complaint is that "work" and "put" are repetitive. You could eliminate the second use of "work" entirely—just say, "Work had put a rift between us, but I put that out of my mind as I clocked in at 8am sharp."
For "put," you could either change the "put a rift" to something like "forged a rift," or change "put that out of my mind" to "pushed that out of my mind."

And one last note...

distinct smell of male urine

Is the "male" before urine really necessary? Does male urine have a different smell than female urine? (Wait, wait—don't answer that. I'd rather not know.)

Anyway, all of that aside, this was a moving piece that got across exactly what it should've. It was a grim, scathing critique of the work culture at companies like Amazon, and hat's off to you for the unflinching depiction of those ugly realities. We need more stories like this.

In terms of the writing itself, there were some moments that stuck out to me as especially compelling. My favorite part was probably the description of Derrick:

His name was Derrick, and his breath reeked of death as he pulled me close to him. A big, Liverpudlian pig, with a little scrunched-up nose that always found itself in other people’s business.

This is fantastic. It's a unique, clever visual that sticks in the reader's mind. I love the metaphor you employed and how well-suited it is to the grotesque, villainous Derrick. We're meant to be morally repulsed by him, and this description—which frames him as visually repulsive and pig-like—reflects that. These sorts of descriptions are always the best. It really brought the character and the scene to life.

All in all, I consider this a horror story, and it's made all the more frightening by the fact that its horrors are grounded firmly in reality. There are no ghosts or ghouls, just the all-too-familiar ravages of our cruel world. It's a thought-provoking piece that does justice to its topic.

Good work!

4revgreen says...

thank you so much for all your feedback! it means a lot!

"Sometimes even shooting stars find wishes that miss their marks."
— TryHardNinja