Back Burner and a Box

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Shit hit the fan.

Not a small droopy plop that gives you a warm emotion because you can no finally get up, knowing you don’t have to excessively wipe your ass. No. I’m referring to the gut wrenching brand. The type that pours out of your ass like releasing an oil plug from a 69′ Chevy. Sometimes there’s a few chucks but we all pretty much know what the viscosity is before praying to the porcelain gods.

Friday, I go to work. Feels like a normal slow day.

10:00: Boss leaves for a impromptu funeral he only mentions to one person in passing. My co-worker shares this information with us. We ponder it over, but don’t think anything of it because, fuck it, we just got paid today.

11:45: Still no boss. This excites us as we make our lunch plans. Looks like Ol’ Darby and company may call it quits early this weekend. Hells to the yea! I got a bunch of writing to get done for this writers workshop. I’ve got a shitty first draft of a story that needs some work.

12:05: We stand by the Elevators, anticipating the awesomeness of heading to Chipotle for lunch. It’s a delicacy we never get to have but due to the boss out, we take advantage. Out of nowhere we see our boss’s boss. Incredibly strange considering he’s last told us he’s suppose to be on the east coast until Monday.

12:45: Chipotle is delicious. One of my higher ranking co-workers rambles on about Watergate type conspiracy theories of what might be going on with our department. I join in from time to time, and make jokes about keeping a cardboard box next to my desk, just in case.

1:00: We return to the office. I grab some water from the break room and see a box sitting by the recycling basket. I bring it back to my desk. I show everyone and they laugh hysterically.

1:30: I’m jamming out on some work when I hear a familiar Conan O’Brien type voice as to see my peer Bobby. I look back and see my boss’s boss walk him down the hallway into his office.

1:45: Bobby starts packing his things up and only says, “It’s happening!”

1:46: I start slamming everything from my desk into what was my Joke box. In addition, I run to the break room and through tons of fun-sized Lay’s BBQ chips in my back pack, ignoring the new camera that is supposedly “on”.

1:55: A fellow co-worker grabs me and another to walk to the conference room. Feeling nervous, I take a few more bags of Lays so I have something to make me feel better. He breaks down how, our boss is fired, another is laid off, and we are the only current safe employees. …….for now.

2:25: I make a joke about who gets my boss’s old office, then return to my messed up cubical.

2:30: I begin reworking my resume for the 4th time in 2018.

2:43: I realize that shit has really in deed hit the mother fucking fan. Time to get a few leads on the back burner. In addition, I leave my box under my desk for save keeping.

Snow Day

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***********

To: Darby, Steve, Miguel, Sarah, Jordan

Sent: 4:38pm

Subject: Tomorrow’s Weather

Body: “The weather is suppose to be bad tomorrow. Please plan on working from home.

Thanks,

-Mark”

********

To: Mark

CC: Darby, Steve, Miguel, Sarah

Sent: 10:03pm

Subject: Out of Office

Body: “My son’s school will be closed tomorrow, will be working from home.

-Jordan”

*******

To: Mark

CC: Steve, Miguel, Sarah, Jordan

Sent: 6:25am

Subject: Weather

Body: “As much fun as walking around in 18 degrees plus wind sounds, I’m going to work from home as well. I just got over being sick from that exact thing and I don’t want to catch it again.

Call me if you need anything.

-Darby”

*****

To: Mark

CC: Darby, Miguel, Sarah, Jordan

Sent: 9:03am

Subject: Re:Weather

Body: “Completely understandable. My wife is sick today, so I’ll be trying to nurse her back to health.

Call me or email if you need anything.

-Steve

—————————————————————————————————

“As much fun as walking around in 18 degrees plus wind sounds, I’m going to work from home as well. I just got over being sick from that exact thing and I don’t want to catch it again.

Call me if you need anything.

-Darby”

***********

To: Mark

CC: Darby, Steve, Jordan, Sarah

Sent: 9:05am

Subject: Working From Home

Body: “Call me if you need anything

-Miguel”

*********

To: Darby, Steve, Jordan, Sarah, Miguel

Sent: 10:14am

Subject: Bad Weather Days

Body:

“I think there was a misunderstanding about today. I was going by the forecast and wanted everyone to plan on working from home IF the weather did in fact turn bad. I did NOT intend for everybody to work from home when the weather did not turn bad and the roads were clear. I did hear from most of you with an explanation as to why you were not coming in but please do not take advantage of me about working from home. THIS WILL BE DISCUSSED AT FURTHER TOMORROW!

Please make sure you understand this and if you have any questions let me know. I want to give you as much flexibility but WHEN NO ONE SHOWS UP TO WORK ON A SUNNY DAY, IT LOOKS VERY BAD!

-Mark”

*********

That’s what we get for following the rules.

Slamming your Dick in a Desk Door: Free Writing Pt.2

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As I was crossing 9th street my ass vibrated.

The email read: “I need calculation done ASAP!”

Well that’s going to be tough. My hour train ride was 15 minutes away. At best, I’ll be there at 9. Screw it. I am in no hurry. I’ve decided already that I’m busting out of this joint. Not just the job but the entire State. I’m ready to roll.

This weekend I started getting my ducks in a row. Nothing crazy, just some small planning on the financial back end. The plan is simple. Keep pushing the momentum forward until about March. That’s when the Hammer drops. That’s when things will get serious.

I’ve done a bunch of these moves before. None of it is really novel or rocket science. Step one, find a job. Step two, find a place. Step three, pack your shit and go. Everyone seems to think it’s much harder, shit even me. But in reality, that’s all it takes.

Honestly, I hadn’t meant for this to be a free write but that’s the way it goes. You can’t plan your thoughts. I have a couple pretty funny ideas that I’ll work on later when I’m finally done with house arrest at work. Until then.

 

Nightmare Ranch: Meeting the Weasel

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“So who’s the guy with the goofy smile?”

“That’s the Weasel. Remember? We told you about him last night.”

“Oh yea. Wow. All the stories are starting to make sense now.”

“Exactly”

James turned to the crowd. “Alright everyone I want to introduce you to our fancy Engineer here, Darby. If y’all have any questions at all feel free to confuse the shit out of him.”

The crowd all glared. It was like they were high school freshman and I was the baby sitter. I’m good with that. Please leave me be. It was only a matter of time before they found out the truth about this project anyways.

“Nice to meet you all”

James Continued “Alright guys lets have a safe day. Remember if you need anything at all, call Darby. The boy needs his boots dirty.”

Sea of toothless concrete men erupted. “HAHAHAHA Yea will break him in alright,” one yelled. I looked down at my boots. Shit. Nothing I can do about it now. I hopped in James truck and we drove off.

Our meeting lasted forever. The clock was behind the speaker which made things worse. Around noon James and I made a play for food. “I’ll meet you in the trailer,” he told me.

I wondered around the makeshift trailer park and entered the first trailer that caught my eye.  Several GE guys we’re arguing over wind speeds, but halted when I arrived. The table starred me up and down, yet none of them looked me in the eyes. Fucking GE. They give us talkative Engineers a bad name. I broke the silence. “Is James in heeeere?” They looked at each other. The one in the back finally spoke. “Nah, wrong trailer. Next one over.” “Thanks.” I closed the door.

I walked over and opened the next trailer. There sat the Weasel. He turned decrepit body towards the door. His inch thick glasses almost fell off his nose. “Oh I chose right this time.  I went to the GE trailer last time.”

He gave me a confused look. “Oh. heh heh. Yea that’s right. Your uhhhh uhhhh. Oh jeez, I’m sorry your going to have to help me with your name again.” I looked at his computer and there was a post-it note with big letters that said ‘PASSWORD: BASEBALL@12’. “It’s Darby,” I said. “Oh yea that’s right…. Darby” he reminded himself. “Have you seen James?” I asked. There was another long pause. I felt like I could see the heat coming from his head.

“Who?” He said out loud. I threw a deep exhale. I started to speak but the light came on. “Oh geez, YOU MEAN JAMES. heh heh Duh. Some days I think I’m losing it. Heh.” His eyes looked up signaling his to brain into high gear. “Well let’s see. He came in here looking for someone. Said he was about to head to lunch. He said he was looking for AH, well you.” Shit this was going to get me know where. Before I turn and look for myself, his 70 year old voice spoke again. “Yea he’s not here. umm. I can give him a call for you, if you would like. Do you think that would help?” I couldn’t take that chance. We’d here all day. “That’s okay sir. I have my own phone. But uh thanks?” He smiled at me, like a dog pleased with his owner. “Heh Yeah. Geez, I’m sorry Darbs. I just wish I could be more help.”

I walked outside and saw James sitting in his truck. “Where you been at?” he asked. “I got stuck talking to the Weasel. You guys weren’t kidding.” He laughed and put the truck in gear.

When You Have to Know

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“So what brought you to Dallas?”

God I hated this question. So inevitable. I’d do everything I could to divert it. Bullshit about the weather, check. Talk about Winona’s come back in Stranger Things, check. But once anyone heard my absence of the over pronunciation of a “TW” sound, it was over. Even if for some reason I walked the tightrope on my date flawlessly and stay away from saying ‘Twelve.’ I’d fuck up somewhere.

“Could you hand me my bag?”

“Wait. You said that weird. Say ‘bag’ again?”

Dammit.

Everything about this question is stupid. It inferred that you had to have something other than your two legs to be here. A reason. And of coarse that reason had to involve some type of monetary gain.

What did she want me to say? On the surface, it makes no sense. I moved from sunny Florida where I had it all. Friends, roommates, a lady with a great rack, a job I was killing it at, and a shitty blog with an actual “.com” name. It all happened in 6 months. Here it’s taken me 18 for the 7-11 clerk to know my name. But that’s what happens when you chase a dream. That’s what happens when you spend every last dollar because you have to know. No one realizes how much the ‘you‘ gets emphasized. Especially after the rest of it doesn’t work out.

Even as I answer, they look at me bright eyed, then switch to concerned like I’m a cancer patient. Sympathy and gleam in their eyes like that says “Ah, this is why we don’t do that huh.” I guess. Whatever I’m okay with being crazy. The weird one for going after something I wanted to do since 8th grade. I tried being happy saying ‘Welcome to Macy’s! Can I help you find anything?” I just wanted more. Always have. I have dreams, and follow them. I need help, and find answers. I don’t care where it takes me. I don’t care if I go broke. I don’t care if I don’t have any friends. I don’t care if the only thing that keeps me sane is a string of words written on the back on a napkin. At the end of it all, I just have to know.

“Just work.” I said.

“OMG I know just what you mean! I’m originally from the suburbs but they gave me so much more money to move here and I was like ‘DUH Stacy! you’d be stupid not to go'”

“Yea, exactly”

Keeper of The Garage

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It was 5:30. I couldn’t sleep.

Figured as much when you have a nap at four. My body starts fucking with me the minute it knows I’m on vacation. It will keep me running at trucker hours when I have an audit first thing in the morning but when the only thing on the morning agenda is to beat off, the roosters are yelling at me to go back to sleep.

I decide to make the most of it and hit the gym. Doing something productive couldn’t hurt. I crank up the Gloria Estefan and dance my way into the kitchen. I scoop a bit of the red powered more powerful than cocaine and mix it with my tap water. The mixture that is guaranteed to take years off my life but it sure does make my biceps look nice.

After strapping on my chucks I head out the door. My car is an ice box. My hands barely can grip the wheel. Winter is finally here. No more booty shorts. It’s yoga pant weather. I give it a few minutes before jetting down the parking garage. The gym doesn’t open until 6:00 anyways.

I take the long way trying to kill more time. Jamming out to more Gloria. A true Cuban princess. I drive down the parking garage. Only one car in the whole place. An old Ford with the trunk open. Exactly what I expected for a holiday weekend. I park in my usual spot and look at the clock, 5:50. My gym is fucking stickler about opening up early. Especially with a unique name like 24 hour fitness.

Fuck freezing outside. I’ll play on my phone for a few minutes. Weird. A girl I’d been chatting with on OKC hands me out her number. A cute Latin chick that says she’s always down for tacos. I start texting, “Real talk, who does-”

HOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The phone drops to the passenger seat.

HHHOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!

I look up. The Ford is angled, about an inch from my bumper. What the fuck? I’m in a parking space. I look at the driver.

“FUCK YOU!” she says. She’s got the double birds flying in the air.

Who tha….. What tha…… I pull up to the driver side door. My shoulder pops cranking the window down. I start to speak, “Excuse-“.  The motor roared. The Ford darted past me. Dale Earnhardt would shit himself on the speed.

Well, that takes care of that. I pulled up into the nearest spot and went back to my phone. 5:55. Even with all the excitement, I still got a couple minutes.

SQUEEEEAAAAAK! DUNK! DUNK!

My head flinches to the rear view. The Ford is flying around the turn back my way!

Oh fuck this shit! I’m not about to reason to a bitch with automatic seat belts. They clearly have a screw loose. I throw my car in gear and drive out of there. I get to the top level and a Blonde in a Mercedes drives past.

Poor thing doesn’t stand a chance. Good Luck.

Fucking March

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I had my shoes kicked up on the desk. Phone out. Relishing in the bliss of what was suppose to be a chill holiday week.

“Hey Darby! So I was thinking about the ECO-proposal and did you add in extra time for the SCADA integration.” He said

I fumbled my phone to my pocket. “Jeez you scared me boss. I thought you were talking the week off?”

“Err yea had a change of plan. My son isn’t coming until later this week. Anyways, I talked with Bill this morning and he told me they have to push signing the contract until after March. So I was thinking….”

Dammit. This was it. Here was the writing on the wall. He kept jawing but lost me. Our last meeting still fresh in my mind. March was the when we’d determine if there was an encore performance or not. Whether the band gets to stay together or one of us flies off the rails. Gets addicted to heroine. Just a little bit at first cause this engineering stuff is stressful, but hey, he’s still producing, so no one notices. Then things go bad to worse, drafters are finding needles near the plotter. Mark hasn’t shown up for weeks. And some guy named T-bone keeps showing up and hassling the receptionist. “I’m sorry sir, but like I said, we’re an Engineering firm. We don’t sell dishes here.” “NAH bitch da FUCKIN CHINA! Tell ’em debts need to be PAID IN FULL!”

I knew it. This project was too good to be true. The president’s old drinking buddy from Florida was over his head with this power stuff and needed our help. We’d send the proposal and just before signing they’d want more work from us. “Could you add an extra high side breaker?” You bet your sweet ass we can. But when it came down to it, they were no different from the fat kid at the bike shop. They’ll try every bike but we both know they aren’t buy anything.

“Okay, I get right on that for you,” I said.

He walked away. “Thanks Darby!”

I pulled up Microsoft Word and began typing.

“Objective: Personable leader looking to acquire a challenging position….”

God I sound like a douche on paper.

Feel Better?

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“So does that make every feel better?”

Duh fuck kinda question was that. This meeting was about as useless at Marilyn Manson’s tits. Like shit, we all got it when Caitlyn Jenner got Tits. She’s actually Trans. You know, a WOMAN trapped in a MANS’s body. A victim. But Marilyn had no inclination of even considering the possible operation. He still wanted to battle his silicone orbs with Rose McGown’s real mountains while his throbbing rod scraped her inside walls back and forth. Fucking useless.

This was suppose to be a meeting where we clear the air about all the bullshit going on. About how tomorrow we have to go into a bigger meeting with the head honcho’s and explain why everything is not my boss’s fault. This was suppose to be a meeting where they would tell me I could stop using my personal computer for work because our IT department can’t figure out how to stop ransomware attacks. This was suppose to be a meeting about how I was going to be compensated for the 12 hours days I worked extra, the several holidays I came in the dead office to play on AutoCAD, or the seven day work weeks, or how I was going to lose all my vacation time because I didn’t get to use it this year.

Instead he began the meeting by telling us he laid off the most senor employee in our group. He said his head wasn’t ever here. Watching too many soccer games, did him in. But no mention of the fact he uprooted his entire family 400 miles, and the pain and suffering it caused his socially awkward son to fight the gauntlet of making new friends, because obviously his brain wasn’t ever here. The last punch was when we were given three months. Only three months for more work to start picking up before more layoffs began. Until the end of the first quarter he said, then the higher ups will start looking to make cuts. So for three months we’re all enemies. The office has now turned into a brutal game of Corporate Survivor for who can outwit, outlast, and out kiss the most ass of the higher ups. DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES DARBY? Can you get on your knees and start slobbing the corporate knob so you can pay the bills in the apartment you never get to see?  Stay tuned.

I also found out we’ll be switching to Dunkin’ Dougnuts coffee in the break room, so there’s that.

Apologies Apologies

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I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that our boss said that too you. The same boss who’s a vice president and worked at a giant company for 40 years and somehow has the social awareness of an autistic 5 year old who just learned to form sounds. I’m sorry that for whatever reason he loves the micro-management style and loves to either dump or transfer work to only a chosen few that he trusts. I’m sorry I’m one of the few.

I’m sorry that you got a call from your Son and stormed out so fast that I didn’t have a second to talk to about what happened. I knew you were upset and wanted to at least attempt to calm you down. I’m sorry that you told me once that I reminded you of one of your sons. I’m sorry your not the first attractive 40 some year old co-worker I’ve had who’s told me that same thing.

I’m sorry that I’m smart. Unfortunately for my sake my old man is really smart too but you wouldn’t know it because of all the drinking and drugs in his system at any given time. I’m sorry that for whatever reason some of the high IQ genes leached into the load that inseminated my mom. I’m sorry that I learned at the young age of 14 how to be successful at work. How to place my entire personality in a box, and leave it outside the office for 8 to 10 hours a day and only retrieve it when it’s time to go home. I’m sorry this is a learned behavior from a child who grew up in a broken home and just wanted attention. I’m sorry this is one of the reasons I hate a corporate job so much.

I’m sorry that I grew up poor enough that my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my college but also rich enough that Fasfa didn’t help me out any. I’m sorry I had to bust my ass in school, for a major I love, only to get 60,000 dollars in debt and realize I hate doing it for a living. I’m sorry I’m working crazy hours to get out of debt so I can quit and go back to working with people more, instead of a cube farm where I hear stories about the wild weekend at Tractor Supply.

I’m sorry I don’t talk to more people at work. I have a very natural outlandishly blunt personality and the idea of possible HR torture that would ensue when this comes out frightens the shit out of me. I’m sorry that you actually understand this on some level and you have become one of the few people I look forward to seeing everyday. I’m sorry people cut you off during your stories about Colorado, your old job, or your granddaughter. I legitimately love the mental vacations I get to take when hearing about these things. And I’m sorry when we get into long conversations and get rudely interrupted.

I’m sorry that you and I are the best dressed ones in the entire floor. I’m sorry that Grey and Evelyn think they can give us a run for our money. But let’s be honest here, I bring the heat with my stylish leather jackets and you make those black wedges look effortless (yes the ones with the buckle). I’m also sorry neither of us has ever verbally acknowledged this to one another.

Look this isn’t a confession of love where I want some kinda creepy Ms. Robinson type fantasy. Not even close. I think you’re a real person, who’s passionate about what you do and has tenacity to attack something until you understand it. It doesn’t matter how much the odds are stacked up, you still get in the ring. Not only do I admire that, but I’ve become addicted to it. That attitude has gotten inherited through osmosis and has kicked my ass into gear in the past few weeks.

But the thing is, I’m not afraid to say when I fucked up, or when I see an entire situation is completely fucked up.

Honestly I’m not afraid to say that even though I know our boss is an asshole, who doesn’t understand that constantly joking about firing you isn’t okay, and neither is taking work away from you so you don’t have anything to do. Despite these things and more about this place I didn’t list, I still don’t want you to quit.

Also and most importantly, from the honest to god bottom of my heart,

I just wanted to say,

I’m sorry.