The Reason I Need This Job

In the morning, OM and I walked to O’Maley’s for a job. Mother stayed with Too Many to nurse him along. He had pneumonia. We had enough for maybe two-three days to pay for Too Many’s room at the Tuck Me Inn. Doc Randy said he needed a couple of weeks rest, at least. So we needed a job even more than usual.

O’Maley made baskets and boxes for the hippie perfume and soap trade. He had two table saws, a couple of band saws, a lathe and a sander. If he had an order, he hired. If he didn’t he sat in his office, made calls, and waited. OM said he had orders coming out the wazoo, so we walked down and stood outside the shop doors.

It was still snowing, but the wind had shifted and was not as punishing. We had started early and were the first ones waiting outside the roll up shop doors. We stood and stomped to keep our feet from getting cold. Bitcher and a couple of alkys came up, and we stood outside the roll up doors and waited. Bitcher wondered about Too Many, and OM told him he had pneumonia. One of the alky’s was shaking like a leaf in the wind, but it was just the DTs. O’Maley wouldn’t let him anywhere near a saw. But of course he had to try.

O’Maley drove up in his pickup truck. He got out, shut the door, and locked it. He unlocked the little door to the office and went in. He looked us over as he went in. There were eight of us and a kid we had never seen before with college written all over him. The kid could have sat in his car while we waited, but he didn’t; he came out and stood with us in the snow and wind. The window of O’Maley’s office lit up. It took O’Maley fifteen minutes to figure the orders he needed done. We could see him sitting at his desk and leaning toward the blue screen of his computer. We waited outside and stomped our feet, and muttered at each other about the effing cold. With Christmas around the corner, we expected some pretty good work. O’Maley always had orders around Christmas.

Pretty soon, O’Maley stood up in his office, and we shifted toward the large roll-up door. O’Maley came out the little door with a clipboard.

He looked us over again. All of us had worked for him before. I don’t know if the kid had. The only other one of us who as a sober was Bitcher. O’Maley pointed to me and OM and two of the alkys. He ignored Bitcher; there was something between those two; maybe Bitcher had called him a cheap asshole; Bitcher had an honest way of speaking. It didn’t do him any good, but he was that way.

The wind was lifting the paper on the clipboard. O’Maley handed it to me. The paper was the time sheet, with

Name: Date: Time-In: Time-Out: Cost

at the top of the sheet. Time-In, Time-Out and Cost was already filled out on four lines by O’Maley. Time-In was 8:30, Time-Out was 5:30, Cost was $60 on each of the four lines. $60 is what we would get at the end of the day. The clock on the tower behind the church was a long way off. It showed 7:48. I thought about changing the 8:30 to 7:45 or 8:00, but right now I needed to work. I put my name on the first line and handed the clipboard to OM.

O’Maley said to the kid, “You the intern? You Oliver?”

“Yes sir,” the kid said.

O’Maley waited until the four of us had signed in. He took the clipboard, and said to the kid, “Come with me.”

“Mr. O’Maley,” OM said. “I need fifteen to buy lunch. How ‘bout an advance for lunch.”

O’Maley shrugged. He marked on the paper on the clipboard. I saw him put ‘-15’ beside the OM’s 60. He and the kid went in the little office door.

OM took a twenty out of his pocket and handed it to Bitcher who had started to walk away. “Too Many and Mother are up at the Tuck In, room 114,” OM said. The twenty was from his shift the day before.

“Lucky bastards,” Bitcher said.

“Toom has pneumonia. Get yourself some breakfast, then take some soup and two ham and egg sandwiches up there for Mother and Toom.”

Pretty soon the roll up door lifted. The four of us went in.

“Where’s my fifteen,” OM said.

“Don’t see what you need lunch money,” O’Maley said. “Seeing as how you are throwing fifties around at loser bum like that.” He had seen OM hand Bitcher the twenty.

“It was ten,” OM said. “He hasn’t had breakfast.”

“Jesus.” O’Maley said. “No wonder you’re a loser bum.”

We made little wooden boxes all day. O’Maley showed the Kid the ropes and left him on the band saw. One of the alkys started calling him KidInOl. At noon O’Maley told us to be back by 12:30. I bought sandwiches and coffee at SubMarino’s from what I had left from my monthly check. The Kid said thank you. The alkys nodded. We were back at the shop by a quarter to. O’Maley was watching from the office window as we walked up. He opened the door and waited until we were all in, then closed it.

At 5:30 O’Maley came out of the office with the pay envelopes. He did not have a pay envelope for KidInOl. OM’s envelope had forty-five in it. Mine had sixty.

OM didn’t say “Asshole” until we were outside. We needed work tomorrow.

We walked back to the Tuck Me Inn. Before we went to the room, I gave the desk clerk sixty dollars to pay for two nights.

“Are you staying in the room,” the clerk said.

“No.”

“Ten additional for each one staying.”

“He needs somebody with him.”

“Ten additional.”

I shrugged. I took twenty from what was left of my monthly check and handed it to him.

Bitcher was in the room with Mother and Too Many. Too Many was sitting up, leaning against the wall behind the bed. I told them about the clerk.

“Sons a bitches,” Mother Mary said.

Bitcher held out some bills and change to OM. “Your change,” he said.

OM shrugged and didn’t take it.

Bitcher put it in his pocket. “Thanks,” he said.

Prompted by the Daily Post word for the day: Assumption

Most postings, including this one are drafted and posted on the same day. This means that it is very likely that they will be edited in the day or week after they are posted.

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