I’m definitely not going to be in the mood to work today. I can already smell the idiocy in the air. And I’m afraid it’s not going to be the fun, get to write about it idiocy. I’m sensing a deflating balloon that floats into the path of the birthday cake candles and explodes in a fiery ball that singes icing and eyebrows with the same urgency.
I get here at 8:30. There are three trucks, empty of goods but with three people in each, parked helter skelter around the lot. I don’t pay any attention because 1) they don’t have any goods inside and 2) tradesmen often pick their workers up at the bus stop in front.That changes when I walk to the door. I am descended upon as if it’s closing time and I’m the last floozy sitting in the Flim Flam Room.
One guy, let’s call him Asshole, begins to rant, red faced, about something. I didn’t really hear him because 1) so far this morning I’ve only spoken to cats and 2) I’m wondering how someone can get their face so red without the help of ketchup and a pneumatic drill.
It seems the reason this guy is so pissed of is because I’m late. When I try, above, below, and between the ranting, to explain that I am not only early, I’m not going to let him in until 9AM. On the dot. I look at it this way, if he’s going to be pissed at me about something I haven’t done I may as well give him something to be pissed about because, let’s be honest, if I actually did something bad to him it might push him over the edge.
By now I’m surrounded by the nine guys. A designated bitcher from each truck has been chosen and, in unison, they give me bits and pieces of why they’ve decided, as a group, whatever is wrong with their life is my fault and I should get all Cher on their asses and turn back the hands of time.
I stand there nonplussed. I have absolutely no feelings at all while the idiots choir serenades me with their rendition of ‘I’m A Little Fusspot.’ After the third refrain they seem to run out of steam. I know this may sound strange but I’ve found that standing there without emotion it wears them out. I’m a firm believer of using your opponents weights and balances against them. By not feeding into their screaming frenzy the blaze has no air so sputters. No matter how many people on that side are feeding the flames.
When there’s a pause the winded Asshole stares at me. He catches his breath as the other eight go into groups to see if they’ve missed any points to my worthlessness. I swear I saw a clipboard with a checklist.
“You don’t like me, do you?” Asshole asks. I know it was a question pointedly asked to put me on the defensive.
‘Oh no,’ he expected me to answer. ‘You’re a fine person. It’s me! I know! It’s always been me! It’s my fault you’ve been divorced three times, your kids hate you and the only reason these people are here is because they work for you!’
But you know me, I like to exceed expectations.
“As a matter of fact, I have no feelings for you either way. You’re like a shoe or rabid dog that has to be put down. Just a bubble gum bump in the crevasse of my day.”
He and I stand face to face while his Elite Eight huddles to dissect what it is I’ve just said. I take this moment of silence to ask him what it is he feels is wrong. But, I explain, if he gets in my face one more time I will request that he vacates my property and that I would see to it that it is accomplished by any means necessary.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stupid enough to consider for a moment that I couldn’t be pummeled by any one, two or eight of the assemblage but I’m just as sure that few of them want to be in a public fracas as much as I want to be bleeding all over the building. It’s a calculated risk. The problem is my math has never been real good.
After a period of time where I watched three people move back, two remain in place but look elsewhere, and three step forward Asshole spoke in measured tones. He explains to me that they’ve been there since 6AM. The time, he said, I’m supposed to open. I stop him there and point to a rather prominent sign behind me. Everyone slowly looks at the sign. It is a sign that states our hours. On that sign the only time the number six is there is in regard to closing.
Asshole attempts to correct me. I tell him he shouldn’t speak because the more his delusions get in the way the less we can do to resolve this issue. He begins to agitate again telling me that he has paperwork that has our hours on it. Excellent! Being the guy who had laid out all of the paperwork issued by this office I should be able to spot my error. He sends one of his guys to amble back to the truck and dig through a pile of papers looking for the paperwork.
The guy gets back and holds the paper out to me. I don’t take it. It takes Asshole a few seconds to snatch it out of the guys hand. I tell him to find where it says we open at 6AM. He looks around the paper, turns it over a few times, running his finger up and down the paper. Finally, he spots his information, gets all smug-faced and, with his finger on the spot, holds the paper towards me.
“See! Right here! Six. A. M.” He reaches the paper closer toward me while shaking it wildly. I remain still.
“That’s not our paperwork.”
He pulls it back and feverishly skims it.
“Yes, it is.” He says still with conviction.
“Look at the top of the page.” He turns it over and looks at the top of the page. “The other side.” He looks up at me and then turns it over. Right there on the top of the page, just like I said, is the name of a storage facility. That just so happens not to be mine.
“They’re down the street about a mile and a half.”
I turn my back and put the key in the lock. I hear grumbles, muttered conversations, and shuffling feet. I can also feel Asshole trying to figure out any way possibly to save face in front of his men.
“You’re still an asshole.” The guy slings his best. I open the door, the alarm goes off inside, I turn and, for the first time, emote.
“As true as you may feel that is, I’m sure every guy behind you feels the asshole stands in front of me.”
He spins his head as the guys disperse and avoid his eyes. They skitter off to their respective vehicles as I watch his neck redden and pulse. I step back allowing the door to swing shut as I move towards the alarm to disarm it. I hear trucks rev and begin pulling out of the loading area. I hear one last door slam shut. The engine revs angrily until I hear,
“If you knew this wasn’t the place why didn’t you tell me?”
Equally as loud, I hear, “I did! You told me to shut the fuck up. So do you know what I did? I shut the fuck up! What do I care? I’m getting paid.”
I think about that last sentence as I look at the clock. I’m still fifteen minutes from getting paid.
Makes ya wonder who the asshole really is, huh?