It was 5:55 AM and I got no sleep last night. My mind was still stuck on my neighbors rooster that crowed every morning. That thought keeps me humored for the moment. I was dropped off at the place where I worked, and I’m now sitting at the side door, waiting in line. I’m the third person from the entrance. It had been a couple months since I last worked, due to a back injury.
One of the guys standing in line muttered out, “This is bull shit. It’s fucking cold out here.”
It was now 6:00 AM. The dispatcher, that hands out the work, was running late this morning. You could feel the vibe in the air, and the restlessness of the men standing in line. Their was one lady, who by the look of her face, had a hard life. She was real energetic. The thought occurs to me that she was high on something. Maybe coffee, who am I to judge? I’d worked with her a while back, and it wasn’t coincidence, that I thought the same thing about her.
I was always quiet in the mornings. I could never adjust my sleep enough, to get a full 8 hours, for this early “primal” time. I won’t use it as an excuse today. I don’t wanna look weak either, so I’ll push through. The only thought now is my son, Ryan.
As I look back at other people in line, I see the two black guys they stuck me to work with all the time. One’s name was Herb, a big guy with a beard who was lazy, and the skinnier one with a mustache, Lionel, who was actually pretty good to work with.
Herb use to be cool when we first met, but after you work with somebody, you quickly get a more personal acquaintance of them, not so friendly anymore. Not to mention he’d always try to “get one over” on the company.
Lionel was laid back, I’d talked to him and his girlfriend before. They were pretty nice people. Lionel always sold weed on the side for extra money. He always looked to me, since I was the driver, to convince the guys in the office to get us work.
Herb walked up the steps, passed the people in line, to me, “What’s up Brad?”
“What’s up?” I replied back.
“Hey, when we get in, walk up in there and stand in front of the window and get that work,” Herb demanded.
“I don’t know. I’ll try.”
They didn’t like people standing at the window. It was annoying to them to look so desperate. I picked up on a lot of things they didn’t like since I’ve worked for Hard Moving. Almost a year now. A lot of it was over stealing their business on the side. They didn’t like when you complained either. It was seriously “The Hunger Games” in this place.
Finally, the dispatcher arrived. His name was Andrew. I found his brand new iPhone one day, when I first started to work here. I was almost tempted to keep it, but I felt bad and turned it in. I always thought about it every time he sent me home and he gave work to other people.
We all filed in the worker’s section with hard plastic chairs. It was now 6:15 AM. By the time Andrew got in gear and saw the paper work that would say, Confirmed Job, he would start handing the jobs to the movers. It would end up being 6:30 AM by this time.
He began to call out people. Of course their were people in front of the window. “Sit down!” he told them.
“Dantelle,” Andrew called out.
“Jason,” so on and so fourth, he shouted out names.
Their was finally a long pause, as he called out the last name. Sandy, the lady hopped up on some mind altering substance, walked to the window.
Herb charged up there not so happy, “That’s all the jobs!!!?”
“That’s all the jobs,” Andrew answered.
“Come on, man. You always throwing jobs in the trash, let me get one of those jobs!”
“You know I can’t do that Herb.”
Herb turned away and turned back without a second thought. Stealing any part of dignity, the big 6’4, three hundred and something pound man, ransacked the open window. As he jumped through the window, his hand met Andrew’s face, smothering him to the ground. He had finally been tired of being sent home.
Andrew was a small guy, barley topping 150 lbs. He was helpless. Running up with my hands clinched, I ran to defend Andrew. Then I saw Herb trail off through the office part, to the front entrance. Andrew brushed himself off, left from his place of assault, and walked towards the phone to call the police.
When the police arrived, Andrew told the police officers, “I’m not gonna press charges but he’s not allowed on the property again.” Which meant he was fired.
After it settled down, I asked Andrew, “Why is their no work?”
“Their’s no trucks. And you haven’t been here in 3 months.”
I was furious, “I hurt my back and I called you to tell you. And then you gave out workman’s comp, during this time. I received no money. Man, I’ve worked here for almost a year dude, I know it’s winter time and business is slower, but I gotta pay my child support.”
“Fine, I can get you work tomorrow,” he promised.
The next day it was the same routine, only no cops, and no work….again.
“Andrew, I have to take another job until it picks up again,” I spoke up.
“Okay,” he said.