I got some shit to say. And I'm lazy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Between 2 Guys

This isn't funny, it's true.
What I hate the most about this show is it is, bar none, the one show that always makes me a little teary everytime I see it. This one is for all my boys, spread hither and thither, near and yonder, who have listened to me bitch this past...well, who have listened to me bitch since bitching was bitching and a smoke was a smoke.
For DK, Watdawg, The Juice, Rob, Adam, The Baron, Bossman Burns, JR Holly, and the inimitable Duke Leonardi. There is a much bigger post in all of this, one that will satisfy Kristen, with the unhappy mixtape conclusion, a sad lament on things L gave me that are now no more, an article on magic thinking, and the whole shebang bag of good and bad that is this thing called life. This post is dedicated to marriages near and far, and babies that are soon popping. And of course to Lady Y. And the dimunitive downtown diva. It's almost opening night.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monkey Job

Here's a little something I've been working on. Enjoy?

Monkey Job

Whenever I tell anyone that I work at a museum, they always say the same thing.

“Oh, that must be so inspiring.” Yeah, it’s inspiring all right, as in at the end of every godforsaken day I’m inspired to drink my weight in cheap beer and then drive a metal spike through my spleen, call my father and blame him for letting me go to a liberal arts college in the first place. Inspiring, that’s one way to put it, sure enough. Another would be soul sucking. Or better still, coma inducing. Tops though, would probably be spirit crushing, alcoholism inducing, homicidal maniac deviant creating. I have always been one for hyperbole.
It wasn’t always this way, to be sure. The first few years I worked here, I loved it. A really big room with lots of pretty things and people to look at. Who wouldn’t take that for $13.72 an hour? Four weeks of vacation a year, twelve sick days and time-and-a-half on national holidays? I don’t know any Veterans, and I’m sorry, exactly how does one celebrate Columbus? Put on weird hats and stick flags everywhere? Give the indigenous peoples of your crummy Brooklyn neighborhood small pox? I’d rather take the extra forty bucks thank you very much. I’m gonna need it for happy hour, what with all the extra yahoos coming into invade our turf.
It’s funny, because that’s exactly how you start to look at it when you’ve been here long enough. Our turf. The lobby of this museum is ours. We the lobby staff have invited you here, and will cater to your every need, but that still makes you a guest, and you shall act as such. I wanna hear a please, I wanna hear a thank you, I wanna see a smile on your face and not more than three dumb questions out of your fat piehole or we will treat you with the most withering sarcasm you have ever been privileged to hear, I don’t care if you just gotta see “Starry, Starry Night” or “Kirsten’s World.” I have to walk by them both, with there correct titles every day, and after awhile, they both start to resemble cheap prints of themselves I remember people hanging in their college dorm rooms. I can’t tell the difference anymore.
This job was great for me, as an actor, because it’s the closest thing to waiting tables I knew of in the city, without all the hassle of dealing with food. It’s customer service, to be sure, but it carries with it an air of refinement or mystique that you’re just not going to find at The Hardrock Café. All of my theatre friends were envious, because I could come and go as I pleased for the most part, trade shifts and what not, which left me plenty of time to pursue my ‘career’, which is important to do if you’re in this environment for any sustained period of time. You gotta have outside interests, otherwise you’re going to find yourself face down in an empty bottle of self-loathing and ennui, and nobody needs that at 26. I had the rest of my adult life to be miserable and a self-proclaimed failure, I thought. That was until Federline came on the scene.
The museum underwent a massive renovation over a five-year period of time, even back before I got this job. We had to shut down our permanent home and move stakes to a small warehouse in the outer boroughs after year three of the rebuilding. There were twelve of us in Visitor Services then, not counting our crackerjack management staff, and we felt as though we were some kind of privileged group of outcasts. Or a really poorly assembled basketball team. When we moved to the temp site, it was hog heaven. No lady who lunched would be seen heading out to Queens to take in some fine art, no how, no way. You couldn’t beg people to come and check us out, which left us, the well-trained monkeys that we were, with a lot of free time on our hands. There’s nothing like being paid to surf the net, read Pynchon, or disappear with your pal for a quick pint at two in the afternoon. We were paid poorly, sure, but it ain’t like we were working. Who needed the hassle? When word came down that we were moving back to the city though, all that changed lickety split.
First off, in order to meet demand, you have to have supply. Our boss, Linus, was given permission to hire twenty new Visitor Services Lobby staff, which would bring our total up to 32. They were expecting thousands upon thousands of people to visit the museum everyday, and we had to be well stocked to meet their needs. The people that were hired were your usual batch of miscreants: East Coast Art School girls with good teeth and bad attitudes, fresh- faced art history majors, aspiring actors and musicians, and people that plain couldn’t get hired anywhere else. And Federline. In total, we were one motley crew. We were going to be eaten alive.
After the initial hiring, we were put through the paces of good customer service by our less than stellar managers. They were trying to prepare us for the unexpected, which is one Sisyphean task. I used to tend a little bar, and I can tell you this: The difference between a museum and a bar is that in a bar, people know what they want.
A guy walks in, orders a scotch, you send it his way. You do it good and fast, you get a little something for your efforts. Simple transaction, right? In a museum however, nobody knows what they want. The visitors are here out of some bizarre sense of obligation. For the most part they don’t give two craps about the art. They just know they’re supposed to see it so they can tell all their friends about it, buy a tote bag and be on their way. They come in not knowing how to ask for help, which in turn, makes the help available to them very testy. I could tell by the looks in the newbie’s eyes, they were in way over their heads. Tommy Federline though, was loving every minute of it.
Federline was 22, stood about 5’1”, and upon first viewing reminded me of the Saturday Night Live character Pat. Upon first sight, it was hard to tell if he was a man or a pitifully ugly woman, which only added to my initial distrust of him. Mix this in with his eagerness to answer all questions during training, even the rhetorical ones, and you have a recipe for certain disaster. I was glad to find out I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.
“Where the fuck did this guy come from?” asked one of my more outspoken co-workers, Caleb. “This guy, or whatever, is a total douche. Raising his hand! Who does that? We’re not in school anymore, jackass.” Caleb can be a little harsh.
“ You gotta wonder if that guy’s getting any,” another co-worker Jeremy remarked. “But I think you know the answer to that.”
I didn’t know the answer to that. I didn’t want to think about the answer to that. I just wanted to get the hell away from our “training” and off to the play I was performing in, so I could feel like a valuable member of the human race, instead of a monkey in a nice shirt and tie that told you were the pisser was. Federline may be a douche bag all right, but I had bigger fish to fry.
Finally the big day came. The newly renovated museum was open for business. We had something like 20,000 visitors that first day. I felt like I had been rode hard and put away wet. How many times can you tell people where the bathroom is or how to get to the gift store? How many times can you ask someone to kindly wait while we get another group of people through the front door? The sheer volume of people was enough to make anyone question the purpose of their life. How can you possibly wrap your mind around that many faces? It would be like if a huge rock star, say Bono, had to personally interact with everyone who came to see U2 perform. Think he’d be wee bit knackered and ready for a drink after all that? Not that I’m comparing myself to Bono. I certainly couldn’t sing “Where The Streets Have No Name” with any conviction. You get the idea.
Business at the museum carried on like this for about six months, and during that time, I got to know almost all of the new people’s habits and peccadilloes. It’s always helpful to see people in the most stressful situation possible, because then you find out what it is they are really made of. Some people would fly off the handle because of a visitor’s rude look; others couldn’t take an onslaught of increasingly stupid questions. As one of the old hands, I was looked at with a certain amount of awe, and was often the person asked to break up fights between my co-workers and patrons. Several times I even fought for Federline. One time, this old lady came in wanting to catch one of our afternoon films (these people are always the worst.) It was the end of May and she demanded to know where the calendar for June was. Our printer was always late with the monthly shipments, but there was nothing we could do about it. If the museum were a chessboard we were definitely the pawns, the front line of soldiers thrown out to the salivating masses so the Director and Curators could get away with whatever the hell they wanted.
So, some crazy old film regular starts haranguing poor Federline about where the hell the calendar is. He tries, god bless him, with all the dignity he can muster to tell her that we haven’t received them yet. She then calls him an “ignorant little prick” at which point I step in and try to deal with the situation.
“Mam, is there a problem?”
“Yes, your little crony here won’t get me a calendar.”
“It’s not that he won’t get you a calendar, mam, it’s that there are none to be got. Our printer is late, as usual. If you call back in a few days, I’m sure we will have them.”
“I don’t have a few days. I have to plan my June.”
“I understand mam, but there’s no reason to insult my staff.”
“Are you a manager?”
(Here I lie and take authority.)
“Yes, yes I am. And my employee is doing all he can to assist you. I’m sorry we don’t have that information available at this time.”
“Mam, he’s actually not my manager, but he has been here a long time. It’s nobody’s fault if you’ve got nothing else to do with your sad old life than plan which movies you’re going to see and pick on people who are trying to help you. You are one sad old bitch.”
And that did it. Federline the chihuahua attack dog scared the hell out of that old windbag. She gathered up her stuff and split the scene.
“Little harsh, Tommy.”
“Fuck it.”
I would have never expected that out of someone who had made it a habit of telling people where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be there, over the walkie-talkies we used everyday, repeatedly. Even though he ranked lower than I did.
The summer came and went without much incident, and Tommy and I even had a sort of tentative friendship. He and I both liked to work as much overtime as possible, so we wound up spending a lot of time together, even having a beer after work a few times. None of my old crew would go near overtime, so they just couldn’t understand.
“You and Federline gonna be managers, man.”
Caleb had a suspicion of anything vaguely resembling management.
“You guys jerk each other off while you’re watching baseball at the bar after you get clock out?”
Avery was the pervert of the group.
“What the fuck are you doing, Declan? Federline’s a douche.”
Jeremy must be jealous we didn’t hit Jimmy’s Corner after work for drinks anymore.
I was starting to get fed up with the whole scene. I’d been at this museum for four years now and nothing had changed. I hadn’t landed a good project in like seven months, and like I said earlier, you’ve got to have something outside of the job or you’re going to lose your shit. It wasn’t that I even liked Tommy Federline; if anything I regarded him with a sort of weary fascination. He loved talking about this job. A lot. He would joke about it if we rode the subway together, replay the day’s oddest moments over drinks, and constantly ask me questions about our benefits package and how long we had to wait to receive our step increase. (I had been roped into being our museum union rep. don’t ask.)
It was all fine and good that Federline loved it so much, but I couldn’t bear talking about it outside of work. I’d lost a girlfriend over the vitriol I used to bring home from the job, and I had to learn to turn the day off as soon as I walked out the glass doors of our lobby. It just wasn’t worth it.
One night Federline, another co-worker Robbie and I went across the street to watch a baseball game at the closest bar after a long night. It was 10:30 or so, and all of us had been at the museum for over twelve hours. Robbie’s a big Red Sox fan, so he wanted to catch them playing the Yankees. We bellied up to the bar, ordered a round and watched as David Ortiz came up to the plate. It was the bottom of the 9th, at Fenway, Yankees up 5-3, and two men on, two men out. Man! We had walked in at just the right time.
“Can you believe what that drunk asshole said to her?” Federline starts in, before I’ve even had one sip of my well-deserved Bass. “What a dick.”
First pitch is a foul ball. 0 and 1.
I humor him. “Yeah, total jerk. Glad they got security on him. We don’t need that kind of thing at these fancy parties. It’s bad enough it’s all rich people who could give fuck all about art anyway. They’re just there for the free drinks and shrimp.”
High and outside, 1 and 1. Ortiz steps out of the plate, spits on his gloves, pounds them, and picks up his bat.
“Yeah, it sucked.” Robbie could care less about the event. His entire energy is focused on Ortiz’s piece of lumber.
“This is what he’s known for, you know that, right Robbie? Clutch hitting. Remember last year? He’s huge for sure in the clutch.”
“Yes,” says Robbie. He would like to stab Federline in the neck with a beer nut. “You are right, Tommy.” Ball 2.
“Declan that guy threw his shrimp in Lucy’s cleavage and told her he was Bubba Gump! I mean come on! He said it was her fault for wearing a cocktail dress in the first place! What a crazy!” Foul ball. 2 and 2.
“I know. I was the one who got security for her.”
“Yeah, I was there when you got security, remember? We got that guy together.”
I couldn’t win this one. I order bourbon on the rocks. The pitching coach for the Yankees came out to the mound. The network cuts to commercial. Robbie suggests we have a quick smoke before they resume. The three of us head out into the early September night, sticky sweet and humid. Fall isn’t quite here yet, which makes smoking actually enjoyable. After a long day of battling human stupidity, why would you want to battle the cold?
Federline doesn’t smoke but he joins us.
“So Declan why aren’t you acting in anything right now? Taking a break? Trying to just focus on work?” Robbie starts to choke on his exhalation.
“No Tommy, I just haven’t been lucky for a while.”
“Dude, we better get back in there.” Robbie stubs out his smoke and dashes in. That was the fastest cigarette in recorded history.
“That’s got to really suck.”
“Yes, Tommy, it really does.” I throw my cigarette to the ground and head in.
The Yankees have made a pitching change and the count stands. 2 and 2 with two on and two out, 5-3 Yankees are ahead in the bottom of the 9th at Fenway, the greatest baseball park in the country.
“Well, why do you think you’re not getting any work, man?” The first pitch from the new pitcher is a foul ball. The count is still 2 and 2. Ortiz steps out of the plate, does his routine.
“I don’t know Tommy. I was hot for a while last year, and this year not so much. I get auditions, but no work. Yet.”
“I would quit if that happened to me. Think about a career.”
Another foul ball. Ortiz is going to wear this guy down, then jump all over him, no doubt about it.
“Yeah, well, believe me, I think about quitting all the time, but it’s what makes me happy, so.” I am getting a little put out, and all I want is for Ortiz to bang the shit out of that ball. I can take Federline’s shit if Ortiz will just crush that mother.
“What keeps you doing it? Curve ball!”
Robbie gasps as Ortiz hits a foul that narrowly escapes getting caught by the Yankees first basemen. The count is still 2 and 2. I take a deep drink of my bourbon and then my Bass.
“Because he’s an actor, Tommy. That’s why. Shut up. We want to watch this.” Robbie has always been a man of few words, but he knows how to use them when he chooses to.
“I’m just trying to make conversation. You guys don’t have to be such jerks. Just because he’s not making it as an actor that means you can get testy, Robbie? What? You’re his manager now? Maybe that’s why he’s not getting any work!” Federline started howling at his ‘joke.’ “ I’m just trying to be friendly, okay? Lighten up, guys.”
“No you’re not Federline. You think you are but you’re not. Being friendly. We wanna watch the game but all you wanna do is prattle on about nothing. Wait until the end of the game then we can talk bullshit all you want! You can either shut-up and watch Big Papi or you can leave! Fuck!” Robbie drains his Bass and slams the pint glass down on the wooden bar top.
“Just be cool guys. Come on.” I’m the freaking UN.
“Tell him to be cool. I’m the one making jokes, telling stories, and Mr. Poopy Pants over here is all sullen. What’s he got to be sullen about? The Red Sox just won the World Series last year. Come on, let’s drink!”
“Federline, man, all I want to do is watch the game. If you can’t do that, then leave. You’re jokes are as stupid as your matching shirt and tie sets. Goddammit-“
‘It’s straight down the middle of the plate and Ortiz goes for it- - he hits it…a shot straight into center field, it’s off the wall, Renteria is coming home, he scores, Damon is rounding third, here comes Williams with the throw from center…Damon scores! Ortiz is rounding second and charging hard for third, here comes the throw from home…Rodriguez misses the throw, the ball is out into left, they’re signaling Ortiz home, he’s charging, he’s charging, here comes the throw from Matsui in left…. SAFE!!!!! Can you believe it! Red Sox win! Red Sox win!!! 6-5!! Red Sox win!’
All three of us stared at the Plasma TV in disbelief. It was a Yankees bar for sure, but we didn’t care. After a beat Robbie started whooping and hollering, I gave him a hug, and Taylor the Irish bartender poured us a shot. As the Yankees fans started questioning the validity of the call, and then telling us it didn't matter anyway, that the Yankees were still in first place, we taunted them right back, telling them if the Yankees had better pitching, it really wouldn’t matter. Somewhere in all the bullshitting Tommy must have snuck out. He left money on the bar, enough for our first round, my bourbon included.
The next day I woke up decided that I needed a vacation. I was tired of all the bullshit at the museum and needed to clear my head. I hadn’t used any time off in over a year, so I decided to just blow it all in one go, take the full six weeks vacation I had in the tank and take a trip. I hadn’t done that in years, and now seemed like the perfect time. I headed out two weeks later, first flying to my parents home in South Texas to collect my old truck, and then setting out across the country, first to Memphis, then Nashville, Louisville, Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis, wherever the road lead. It was great to be away from the hustle and bustle of New York, but more importantly the museum. I did a ton of thinking on that trip, and realized one night, as I was headed down I-10 back towards San Antonio, that it was time to let it go. Time to quit that velvet glove of a job and do something, anything, that would make me happier. I had to, or else I would suffer a fate worse than death. I would become middle management.
I came back just after Thanksgiving to uproarious applause. Jeremy and Robbie, Avery and even that cute girl Lucy were all happy to see me. Caleb couldn’t wait to tell me all about the shit management had been pulling, and then suggested we all head out for drinks after work. I wasn’t ready to deal with being back yet, but I pulled it together.
“So you know about Federline, right?” Caleb was indignant.
“I haven’t heard anything man. I been on the road.”
“Yeah, well, Kerouac, he’s management now. He’s your boss.”
I literally did a spit take. With coffee and a cigarette. I’d been back half an hour and already trouble. I repeated silently to myself ‘MUST. GET. OUT.’ Then, to Caleb:
“The hell you say.”
“I wish. It’s totally true. It’s like we’re in The Weimar Republic or something.” Avery, our resident history buff.
“You gotta do something man. It’s all bullshit scare tactics lately. Docking us if we come in ten minutes late, timing our lunch breaks. We’re even getting reprimanded on how pressed our shirts are and how well we clean our shoes.”
“You have got to be shitting me.”
“Word is it’s because they’re going to cut some of us loose. And you know who the worst is, don’t you?”
“Jim? Tim? Not Stacey, she doesn’t care.”
“Federline, dude. Feder-fucking-line.” Caleb nodded his head meaningfully. “You got to do something man. You got to.”
The rest of my first day back passed without incident well enough, and after work, the boys took me to Jimmy’s for a few rounds. I wasn’t happy to be back at work, but I was happy to be around people I considered friends, after being alone for so long. Who cared if Federline had been promoted? I was out the door in six months tops. I had plans. I had dreams.
“So what are you going to do man?” Caleb was already back on topic.
“What should I do?”
“Scare him, Declan. You’re good at it. Give him that tough guy stuff you do so well.”
“It won’t work. He’ll write Declan up.” Avery, the voice of reason.
“Embarrass him in front of the other managers. He’ll get the hint.” Jeremy loved humiliation. This from a guy who’s in grad school for psychology.
“I don’t know guys. I’ll figure it out. Can we just enjoy ourselves right now?” I was trying to hold on to my calm for as long as possible.
I knew I had to do something to help everybody. It was the role I played at the museum. I was the shit storm starter. You messed with my co-workers, than you messed with me. We got messed with enough by the visitors; we didn’t need to take it from some kid that used to be one of us. I resolved to deal with it tomorrow. Tonight I just wanted to deal with my buzz.
The next day I woke up late and wound up missing my first post of the day. I called in to tell them I was running behind, and all seemed fine. I had after all, been gone for a month and a half, they would understand, wouldn’t they? I could garner a little sympathy for having to come back, right? The day passed without incident, until six o’clock, when I was grabbing my messenger bag and about to head home.
“Uh, can I talk to you for a minute, Dec?” That was Linus, the head of my department. Never good at intrapersonal communication, talking with him could be like teaching a three legged dog stupid pet tricks. It was hard.
“What’s up boss man?” I followed him into his office.
“Shut the door.” I did. “Sit down.”
I did. I had had plenty of meetings with Linus over the years, and none of them were ever very scary. Every time I thought I was in trouble, it turned out he was just trying to relay some new policy regarding museum members to me, or the amount of movie tickets we could give out in advance. I saw no reason why this would be any different.
“How was your vacation?” he started by asking, as he settled down into his leather swivel chair.
“It was good. Thanks. I needed it.”
“Yes. I can understand that. This place will get to you.” Linus had been here since he was 24. He was forty something now. If it hadn’t gotten to him yet, I doubt it ever would.
“I just needed to get away from the city, take some ‘me’ time, you know?
“Glad you did it. I want to talk to you about something.”
“I know you and everyone else hate Federline.”
“Be quiet, you don’t have to say anything. I know it’s hard for you guys that have been here awhile to accept, but he’s one of your managers now.”
“Fine by me.”
“And you should watch how you treat him. He’s got power, and he reports directly to me. He tells me things.”
“Umm, okay?”
“You and Caleb and Avery and Jeremy might want to start thinking about doing a little better job around here.”
“It doesn’t do you any good to bitch and moan. Just do your job. I know it’s hard. But who else is going to give you six weeks off to drive around and find yourself?”
He had me.
“Okay, Linus.”
“And Declan?”
“Don’t mention this conversation to anyone. I’m talking to you because of how people view you. And you’re the union rep. Got it?”
“Got it.”
“Now get out of here. Have a nice night.”
I got. All that night I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Was Federline still mad about that stupid ball game two months ago? Did Robbie really piss him off that much? And, most importantly, what was I going to tell everyone?
The next morning found most of my crew assembled in the staff café, grabbing coffee and bagels before our first shift.
“He told me to use my inside voice this morning!” I was beginning to think that Caleb was looking for grievances; he loved picking the scab of Federline’s promotion as much as possible.
“Declan we have to do something. You should call the union.”
“And tell them what? Federline’s getting on our case about stuff we’re supposed to do anyway?”
Everyone was taken aback. I had said the unspeakable. No one told us what to do here, that was rule number one. As long as we did what we needed to do, the managers had always left us alone. But we knew that we slacked all the time, on our appearance, on our visitor service skills, on our lives in general. But nobody had ever said it out loud before.
“What are you saying, dude?” Of course Caleb started right in.
“I’m not saying anything. I just think we’re helpless in this. Us bitching and moaning isn’t going to change anything. If anything, him getting hired should make us want to get out of here even quicker. That is still the goal, right? Right?”
Total silence. I for one had always said I would leave this job eventually. I couldn’t grow old here, what little self-esteem I had wouldn’t allow it. I said I would leave after a year, then two, then three, and here I was already at the four year mark with five in the not too distant future. I was tired of all the talking about dreams and complaining about them. I had to leave soon, whether a little yes man like Federline was one of the bosses now or not.
“Declan’s right. But I still think you have to fuck with him. You’re the only one that can do it well. Take that prick into your confidence and then humiliate him.” Jeremy had obviously been taking his psych courses very seriously.
“All right, I’ll think of something. I just gotta find the right way to embarrass Tommy. I just have to find the right angle. But I’ll figure something out.”
“I thought you guys were supposed to be setting up the barricades outside for the morning line.”
Oh shit. It was one of those moments you see in movies when time just stops because somebody committed the biggest faux pas ever, the record skips and everyone stares at you in horror. Tommy was standing right behind me, wasn’t he?
“We are. In just a minute. It’s not quite 9:30 yet.” Go get ‘em Caleb.
“But you punch in at 9.”
“But the crowds don’t start assembling until quarter of 10.”
“Just do it.”
We grabbed our coffees and bagels and headed out of the café with a hustle that a JV football coach would have been proud of.
“Do you think he heard any of that?” Avery had a look of fear in his eyes. He was 37, which made me a little sad.
“Who cares if he did? It’ll be our word against his. We’ve got the union to protect us anyhow.” The union, always with the union. I should let Caleb be the goddamned union rep he loved the union so much.
“Let’s just do our job and forget about it. I think we’re going to be fine.”
“Man, Declan, it’s like I don’t know you anymore. What happened to you out on the road?”
Jesus Christ. We got to work, setting up the barricades outside of the entrance to the museum, so people could get into one long line, and wait out in the November chill for their turn to pay a bunch of money to look at a bunch of pretty pictures. I had only been back three days, and already the routine was sinking in. It’s hard to tell this day apart from the same date a year ago. Or the year before that. Or the year before that.
At six o’clock, as we were all giving each other guff and punching out, Linus stepped out of his office and pointed a finger in my general direction.
“My office. Now.”
Caleb and the boys sniggered and made some obscene hand gestures. I looked to them for the smallest bit of sympathy, but they were out the door before I could get it. Walking into Linus’ office, I closed the door silently and sat down. He stood at his desk.
“What did I ask you to do?”
“To quit picking on Federline.”
“And what happened this morning?”
“You guys can drink all the coffee you want, but only after all of the morning duties are finished. What I will not tolerate is you guys making threats to Tommy.”
“That’s what I heard. You were making threats against him.”
“Linus, I promise you none of us were making threats against him.”
“Well we have a difference of opinion there.”
“What did you hear?”
“It doesn’t matter what I heard, it matters what I’m saying. I just asked you yesterday to make everyone lay off of him and now you’re threatening him? This is unacceptable. I want to suspend you for the rest of this pay period. This happens again and you’re out.”
“No but, Declan. We have to work together here. I’m sorry if I have to make an example of you, but you guys have to learn. Docking your pay is the only way you guys are going to learn. I mean business.”
“Linus, I don’t have any money. Did you ever think that maybe the reason we threaten Federline is because he makes this job unbearable?”
“Well then get a new one. Anyone of you guys could have been the new manager. But you’re too good for that. Federline wanted the responsibility. Now get out of here. I’ll see you in ten days. And remember, this happens again, you’re done.”
He made a cutting motion across his neck and signaled me to leave. ‘Damn right, Linus,” I thought walking out of his office and then out into the lobby of this godforsaken place, “this job is killing me.’ I did the only thing I could think to do at that moment. I slipped on my headphones and headed to Jimmy’s. I was going to have to put this one on my card.