The Loneliness of the Overnight Baker

On the night shift, no one can hear you scream.


This feature was originally published in Volume Three of our print magazine. It's probably the spookiest piece we've published, so we decided to run it online for Halloween.

If you’ve never regularly worked the night shift, I wouldn’t run out to start now. For starters, there’s a good chance it would require taking a serious step down on the socioeconomic ladder. If possible, I’d stick with pulling the occasional all-nighter, instead—the creative class’s Adderall-fueled answer to overscheduling. Then again, no one plans on working the night shift.

Growing up, I certainly never imagined walking to work past packed bars emitting the muffled thrum of moody mid-aught Arcade Fire hits, dodging buzzed co-eds in the warren-like streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Sometimes, while listening to the slamming of corrugated metal gates as those same bars shut down hours later, I would picture my fellow late-night toilers, wondering what they looked like and where they were headed for another day of sleep. Were they happy to be part of our select cadre? Or did they dream of returning to the solar world and its predictable rhythms?