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The Last Worker in America

By Michael S. Gant

Jan. 13, NEW YORK--An internal audit of about 25,000 workers at Wal-Mart stores found thousands of labor violations, including minors working during school hours and workers not taking breaks or lunches, 'The New York Times' reported.

JUST IN time for the summer re-election season, the Bush administration announced on Aug. 15 the official completion of Project Jobless Recovery. According to White House spokes-hologram Scott McClellan Version 3.2, President George W. Bush's bold plan to go where no Republican administration had ever gone before was an unqualified success. "Moving forward on four fronts simultaneously--tax cuts for the hyper wealthy, total deregulation of business, global outsourcing and radical increases in productivity--we have been able to maximize corporate profits while virtually eliminating the need for actual employees," boasted McClellan.

Thanks to daring daylight soirees by the Fifth, Fifteenth and Fifty-Fifth Airborne Divisions, the last strongholds of AFL-CIO-Qaeda and Teamster Party resistance in the so-called Rustbelt Triangle surrounding the Detroit-Tigris Stadium had been wiped out, along with all remaining WMDs (Workers of Misguided Discontent).

As McClellan explained to the X-9000 Robo-Reporter in attendance at the press conference, by eliminating workers the president had also achieved something that no politician--Democratic or Republican--had ever accomplished before: zero unemployment. "And that," McClellan added, "should pretty much put an end to all this Howard Dean nonsense."

In actuality, as an extensive Metro investigative report prepared by our new Sim-Pulitzer software upgrade has learned, Project Jobless Recovery is something of a misnomer. There is indeed one worker left in America. His name is William "Will" Holcolmb, age 94, of Sans Serif, Iowa. Will, or "Bill," as his wife calls him, was retired until his local Wal-Mart drafted him into service last fall.

"Well, at first, they just wanted me to be one of those greeters," Will, or Willy, as his next-door neighbor greets him, garrulously relates. "You know, stand there and flirt with them poor ladies who can't afford to shop at the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

"But then they went on this productivity campaign--started locking the doors at closing time, so the employees could stick around and do a wee bit more to help the company every day: making the clerks slop lye on the leftover cow brains, that sort of thing. No big deal, 'ceptin' they weren't paying overtime, which was hard on them folks had quintuplets to support 'cause the expiration date on the fertility drugs had passed ...

"Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. I served in the big one--Dubya, Dubya II, ya know? Anzio, Naples, the Battle of Monte Sereno--so I could take it, but the young ones couldn't handle the pressure. A few of 'em got sugar shock when they canceled the breaks; next thing you know, they're fainting from hunger 'cause we had to work through lunch hours.

"Well, sir, then the managers fired 'em all when somebody dared to complain about that new 21-hour day that went in effect round Christmas. Pretty soon, I was slopping the lye, running the cash registers, greeting the shoppers, bagging the groceries, censoring the CDs, restocking the shelves, turning the high-pressure hoses on the homeless in the parking lot, backdating the fertility drugs, denying promotion requests for female management trainees--pretty much the whole ball of wax. I can be pretty pro ... duc ... tive, sonny, long as the company pharmacy keeps filling my prescription for Benzedrine.

"'Course, the company newsletter said something about more benefit cuts, so ... hey, lookee there: is that a customer? I got to go do some greetin', sonny. Ain't seen one of those since that three-for-one Pregnyl sale last month."

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From the January 22-28, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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